Feb 25

Part 50: The Agony and Obedience of Jesus

Todd Pruitt |Series: The Gospel of John |John 12:27-37

The last half of John chapter 12 encompasses Jesus’ final public teaching. As such, verses 20-50 function as a kind of epilogue wherein Jesus is summing up the purpose of his coming into the world. In the previous passage Jesus told his disciples that “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (vs. 23). But this glory will be counter to everything they had once been taught to expect about the Messiah. The glory of Jesus in this coming “hour” will displayed in his dying. He further backs this up with his illustration of the grain of wheat that must go into the ground and die in order to bear fruit (vs. 24).

And then Jesus expresses the agony of his soul as his final approach to the cross begins. His agony was surely twofold. One the one hand, the physical torments of the cross would be unbearable. But the deeper horror was that as his body bore excruciating pain, his soul would bear the weight of the world’s sin. In the Garden of Gethsemane voiced a similar prayer concerning the “cup” of God’s wrath from which he would have to drink.  As J.C. Ryle observed so eloquently: “Terribly dark must that guilt be for which nothing but the blood of the Son of God could make satisfaction. Heavy must that weight of human sin be which made Jesus groan and sweat drops of blood in agony at Gethsemane and cry at Golgotha, ‘My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me?’” (Holiness, p. 6). 

But for Jesus, the horror of the cross was outweighed by his ardor for the Father’s glory. His prayer, “Father glorify your name,” was the defining desire of Jesus’ life and ministry. And it was for the glory of the Father – a glory which was magnified in his saving love for his people – that Jesus went willingly to the cross.

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