In John 12:26 Jesus said, "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor." Jesus said, "If any one serve me," and He said it twice because there is some doubt that there will be those who will serve Jesus, especially as the years go by. It is prophesied that the closer we get to the end, the greater will be the number who will go astray. "Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."
Jesus said, "If anyone serve me, let him follow me." Itís not near so important what religious organization you are affiliated with, but what is important is that you follow Jesus. Some people are dedicated to a religious organization, but they do not follow Jesus. They follow the leaders of the religious organization. They follow man instead of Jesus. You are only following Jesus to the degree that you make a conscious and determined effort to apply the teachings of Jesus to your daily circumstances. You can fail to do that even though you are a dedicated member of a religious organization. Jesus made it very clear: the true servants of Christ follow Christ and none other.
One of the reasons that some people do not follow Christ is because they think that they will be losing something if they follow Him. That may be true, but they will also gain something. In John 12:26 Jesus mentioned two things that people will gain who serve Him and follow Him. First, He said, "Where I am, there shall also my servant be." Thatís the promise of eternal life. Jesus ascended to heaven. Those who become the servants and the followers of Jesus will live forever in heaven with God. There is nothing more important than the eternal destiny of your soul, and Jesus said that you will be with Him if you serve Him and follow Him. The second benefit of serving Jesus is also given in John 12:26. Jesus said, "If any one serve me, him will my Father honor."
In the society of human beings most humans seek to be honored by someone. The greater the power and the authority of the one that bestows the honor, the greater the honor. Because there is none greater than God, there can be no greater honor than to be honored by God. Itís very clear that if you serve Jesus; that you will be honored by God, and there is no limit to what God can do from now through eternity to honor those who serve His Son. "Eye has not seen nor has the ear heard what God has prepared for those who love Him."
In John 12:27-28 Jesus said; "Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and I will glorify it again." Jesus faced an internal conflict because of the spiritual forces that came against Him. The sufferings that Christ endured for our sakes is probably unimaginable. His suffering was much more that the physical torture that He would bear. His greatest suffering was the taking on Himself of the sins of the world. He became sin for us who knew no sin. How can we who are unable to bear even our own sins, understand what it was like for Him to bear all the sins of the world? When Jesus said that His soul was troubled, it must have been a great understatement.
In the things that Jesus was thinking about in the few days before His crucifixion, in addition to the conflict about the great suffering that was to come upon Him, He also had one great motivation: to bring glory to the name of the Father. One of the commandments says to not take His name in vain. Jesus told us when we pray to say, "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name." If you are a follower of Jesus, one of your motivations should always be to be able to bring glory to the name of God. Thatís why the Bible says that a Christian should do all things as unto the Lord and not unto man. Motive is important in the matters of true religion. Itís not only what you do, but why you do it; and your greatest goal and prayer should always be to do what you do for the glory of God. Thatís one of the reasons that Jesus went to the cross, to glorify the name of the Father. When you start each day, itís a good and honorable thing to pray, "May everything that I do be for the glory of God, and may the things that I do somehow result in Godís glory." Most people in the world do things for their own glory, but the believer should do things for the glory of God.
After God spoke from heaven John 12:29-30 says, "The people, therefore, that stood by and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spoke to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes." Jesus said that the audible voice of God that was heard from the heavens was not heard for His sake, but for the sake of the others who were around Him. Jesus did not need to hear the voice of God audibly in order to be assured of the presence of God, or to have His faith strengthened. But those who had less faith and less understanding did need it. If you arrive at the kind of faith that you are capable of ultimately having, you will not need to see miracles in order to believe. Those who need to see something in order to believe have weak faith, because faith refers to believing what you do not see. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
In John 12:31 Jesus said, "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out." Jesus is talking about His crucifixion and two of the consequences of His dying on the cross. He said, "Now is the judgment of this world." When Jesus died on the cross, all the sins of the world were put on Him. Because God loves the humans that He created, God provided for the humans to be forgiven of their sins. Therefore, for the believer there is no longer a fear of judgment, because for them the judgment has already taken place. If you do not become identified with Jesus and the judgment that He bore, then you will have to bear your own judgment. Thatís what happened to the devil, and thatís why Jesus said, "Now shall the prince of this world be cast out."
Jesus called the devil "the prince of this world." Elsewhere in the Bible the devil is also called "the God of this world." It speaks of the fact that the devil has great power. Evidently the devil has the authority to share his power with human beings. Many of the people who are in places of power and authority in the world have been put there by the devil. The Bible says that there are many antichrists. Thatís why you should not be surprised when they do the horrible things that they do. They got to where they are by selling themselves. Of course, they were lied to, because the devil is also a liar. They did not have to sell themselves to be successful in the way that the world defines success. God also raises up people and puts them in places of authority. Itís better to serve God and to have your service to Him continue on into eternity, than to serve the devil and to end up being destroyed with him.
Jesus made it very clear what is the ultimate destiny of the devil, but Jesus also made it very clear that human beings do not have to share that destiny. He said in John 12:32-33, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said signifying what death he should die." Hell was created for the devil and the other fallen angels, but it was not created for man. If you go to hell, it will not be because God wants you to go there. He has done two things so that you will not go to hell. He died on the cross for your sins, and he now draws you to Himself just like He does every other human. All that you have to do is surrender to Him, and let Him take you to Himself and then to heaven.
In John 12:34-36 the Bible says, "The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abides forever: and how do you say, The Son of man must be lifted up? and who is this Son of Man? Then Jesus said to them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walks in darkness knows not where he goes. While you have light believe in the light, that you may be the children of light. These things spoke Jesus and departed, and did hide himself from them."
Many of the people did not understand what Jesus was saying because they had certain preconceptions about the Messiah, and they had certain interpretations about the Old Testament prophecies that did not allow room for some of the things that Jesus taught. Their biggest mistake in what they thought about the Messiah was that the Messiah would come only once to the earth, and they thought that all of the prophecies about the Messiah would be fulfilled in the one time that He came. They made the mistake that many people still make concerning the Messiah in thinking that there would only be one Coming of the Messiah, and they also made the mistake that many people make concerning Bible prophecy in general. Itís always very difficult, if not impossible, to relate specific Bible prophecies to specific dates and times. We do know some of the events that are going to happen, but we do not know when they are going to happen.
But Jesus did not explain to these people the difference between His first coming and His Second Coming. There is something that is much more important than what you believe about prophetic events, and that is your own personal salvation and your own personal relationship with Jesus. Jesus told them that if He was lifted up, He would draw all men to Himself; but now He warns them that they have a limited opportunity to be saved. He said, "Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you." Be careful, you only have so much time to come to the Light. If you let your opportunity go by, you will be doomed in darkness forever.
John 12:37-41 says, "But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, Lord, who has believed our report? and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again, He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Isaiah when he saw his glory and spoke of him."
The people were aware of some of the prophecies about the Messiah even though they did not understand them very well, but they should rather have paid attention to the prophecies about themselves. Isaiah asked the question, "Who has believed our report," because very few had believed. Itís always been like that. The true believers have always been a minority. If you do not like being a minority then do not become a believer in Jesus. Most people, when faced with the choice of the pleasures of sin or to turn to God and ask for forgiveness, will choose the pleasures of sin. Thatís the power of the world, thatís the attraction of the flesh, and thatís the failure of mankind. Even Jesus said, "Broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there be that go in thereat, and narrow is the way that leads to life and few there be that find it."
In regards to their spiritual destiny, God gives humans what they choose. If you reach out for faith, then God will give you the light of understanding. But if you reject the offer, then God will blind you and harden your heart. Itís a privilege and an honor to understand the truth about who is Jesus. If you have that understanding, itís because God has given it to you. If you do not, itís because God has kept it from you, according to your wishes. God always gives humans what they choose in regards to spirituality.
In John 12:42-43 the Bible says, "Nevertheless also among the chief rulers many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." This is still one of the reasons that humans fail in their daily activities: they love the praise of men more than the praise of God. You must have your priorities right, if you are going to succeed in your spiritual life. Sometimes there is a price to pay just for confessing Jesus. If you say something that is good or true or honorable or respectful about Jesus in the presence of those who are not spiritual, then there may be a price to pay. If you remain quiet or if you confess the name of Jesus, will be determined by what you most value: the praise of men or the praise of God. Jesus said, "He that confesses me before men, I will confess before my Father who is in heaven."
In John 12:44-46 the Bible says, "Jesus cried and said, He that believes on me, believes not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that sees me sees him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believes on me should not abide in darkness." Human beings can learn many things without Jesus. They can learn how to make money. They can learn about the natural world through the various sciences. They can learn about religion, and even the importance of ethics and morality as found in such teachings as the Ten Commandments or other religious teachings. But there is an enlightenment that Jesus can give that can come from no other source, because Jesus is the light of the world. There is a knowledge and a communication with God that is only possible through Jesus because of the unique relationship between the Son and the Father. No matter what a human may learn in this life, if they have not been enlightened by Jesus, then there will always be something missing from them because they abide in darkness. How much more people would learn about life and about truth if only they would learn that Jesus is the Light of the world.
Copyright; 2000 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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