The Son Of Man Must Be Lifted up
John 12:20-36 ESV

The Son of Man Must be Lifted Up

Intro: Last we saw that Jesus’s Triumphal Entry. 

  1. Jesus and the Greeks V20-26 “20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”
    1. V20-22 There were Greeks coming to see Jesus and the discipleship’s tell Jesus.  These would have been Gentiles that had converted as proclivities and were coming for Passover – they have heard of Jesus and want to see Him.  Ex 12:48 foreigners could take the Passover as long as circumcised.  They may have come all the way from Bethsaida in Galilee to the feast.  Their desire to see Him is likely due to what they have recently heard about Him in relation to the triumphal entry and the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead that the people keep testifying of.  
    2. V23-26 Jesus’s mind is wholly fixed what is about to come next.  Note the way he puts it here… “the hour has come for Him to be GLORIFIED.”  His mind is set not just on the sacrifice, but on the PURPOSE of the sacrifice, which is GLORY. 
    3. He references His death as a necessary part of baring fruit.  What fruit?  No one knew then, probably what He meant, but we know now, salvation, the church, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the preaching Gospel, and eventually the coming of His Glorious Kingdom. None of that could happen without death and He compares it to a seed which must die before it actually grows into a plant. 
    4. v25-26 He responds to the Greeks, not just with the vailed warning of His coming death, but with with words that would have seemed so contradictory. It comes as a warning… do you love this life?  If so, you will lose it.  But HATE this life (and the sin and death that is here), and you will save it.  How? V 26 if anyone serves me, he must follow me.  How does He respond to these Greeks?  What is His main message?  Follow me. Where is He going?  To Golgotha, Calvary, the cross.  He is going to His death.  Everyone wants to see Jesus, but who really wants to follow Him?  It takes self-denial to follow Jesus.
  1. Jesus is Troubled V27 – 28a “27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose, I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.”
    1. Jesus is troubled. Are you troubled right now in your life?  How does, Jesus deal with being troubled, and the troubling reality of His circumstances?  He confronts those circumstances with His purpose.  His purpose was for the Father’s Glory. Here He is, in a few days He will hang on a cross, and His prayer is “Father glorify your name.” Are we focused on our purpose, or our circumstances?  If Jesus would have been focused on His circumstances, then He would be in despair but look what happens next. 
  1. The voice from heaven V28b-30 “Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again. 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine.”
    1. I think one of the overlooked things in Christ’s claim to Godhood is this instance. I hear so little about it.  Christ prayed and God talked back, right out of the sky.  
    2. Notice that John does not record anyone acknowledging this.  Some say thunder, some say Angle…can’t we just see that God spoke to Him from heaven?  
    3. Jesus is neither shocked nor alarmed. He does not even seem encouraged except for others – to know that this is what some THERE needed to hear.  He already KNOWS what we should ALSO know, and what many of us are finding, that we don’t need resurrections and miracles, we need God.  We don’t just need to live for our purpose, but we need Him, He is our purpose. 
  1. Lifted Up V31-34 “31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”
    1. The ruler of the world Satan is now cast out, because Christ would be lifted up and He will draw everyone to Himself.  How is Satan cast out?  Jesus knows that now the sequence of events have been set in motion that will lead to crucifixion and resurrection.   Satan cast out legally and will soon have that reality come into effect when Christ comes back, but He has a little more time.  In the meantime, Christ is drawing all people to Himself through the Gospel.  You see how Christ focuses on the power and the joy that comes from knowing these great truths.  Satan cast out and all nations being drawn to Him. 
    2. The crowd is confused. They understand that He is claiming that He will be murdered on the cross but – the Christ is to remain FOREVER.  They are right and they are wrong.  They are right that the Christ remains forever when He is fully manifested on Earth, but they do not know the scriptures and what is says about a suffering savior (Isaiah 53) and so they are deceived.  We have to know the scriptures about Christ otherwise we will be deceived as well. Matt 24
  1. While you have the light, believe in the light V35-36. “35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
    1. Jesus was going to go away and then send His Spirit and we have His light within us, but He warns of a time of darkness coming.  There comes a time of darkness when the light will be gone.  


  1. Are you ever troubled?  So was Jesus.  V27. It is NOT unspiritual to be troubled!!! I find myself falling into this deception that it is not spiritual to be sad or depressed. If you do, you will either be down on yourself for being sad and depressed or you will sin to get out of the suffering because we are just not allowed to be suffering.  We also might lie and tell ourselves and others that we are just fine, when we are really deeply troubled. Ignoring feelings doesn’t make them go away. If Jesus rejoiced in doing the will of the Father and despised the shame of the cross, that does not make him schizophrenic. Jesus didn’t want to die (let this cup pass from me), and yet he wanted everything that the father wanted. This didn’t make Him a sinner, it made Him human, and If you struggle like this, so did Jesus.   So what do you do? You focus on that one thing (not my will, but yours be done), that is your purpose, the purpose of loving, and knowing, and glorifying God. As Christ faces death what is He thinking about?  V27 PURPOSE.  And DESTINY When we face these hard times, we must remember our PURPOSE, to glorify Him. And destiny – heaven 2 Cor 4:16-18 “16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self[d] is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” Romans 8:18 “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”  
  2. In order for there to be fruit in your life, there had to be a DEATH V 24. Jesus contemplated His death with the comparison of a seed. Did you know that if you have been saved, you have died?  You have been Crucified with Christ. Gal 2:20 “20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” If you are saved, your flesh, that is the old man or old self was crucified with Christ Romans 6:6 “6 We know that our old self[a] was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”  HAVE died if we are saved and we MUST consider ourselves dead to sin and Christ died for this. If Fruit was ever going to come, the seed had to die and we accept that we have died to sin by faith.  
  3. Voice from Heaven V28.  What is the voice from heaven in your life?  Is it the preacher, is it the ministry, is it family, marriage and kids, or is it the Bible and Theology?  We don’t need a voice from heaven. Jesus is our voice from heaven. The word of God, the Holy Spirit and the truths that we know, that is our voice from heaven.  We don’t need signs and miracles, even though God gives them. You are going to meet people that are deaf and blind to what you are saying. Don’t get frustrated!!  This is the way it is until God gives them ears to hear (Matt 13). Even if God were to right their names in the sky or a voice came from heaven, the would be asking about if it were about to rain or wondering about the sound of thunder. Pray for them and Leave them alone. Did Jesus get into an argument on whose voice it was?  No, that would be what WE would do. BE PERSWASIVE. Do what Jesus did and move on to your purpose. How can you continue on in your purpose if you are constantly and entirely caught up with the world and its rejection of the Gospel? If you weep, you are just being like Jesus, but don’t let it cripple you that they don’t hear you though God Himself speaks to you.
  4. While you have the light, believe in the light V35-36. You don’t have forever to get saved.  You are not even garneted tomorrow. You only know that you have right now. Give your life to Christ and walk in the light.  If you don’t Christ says that darkness will overtake you, but if you believe in the light, you will become sons of the light. There comes a point in a person’s life where they have heard the Gospel for the last time and they have shrugged their shoulders for the last time and they don’t know it but their life is at an end.  Look at how suddenly people pass at times. Here one day and gone the next. I’ve worked at Johns Hopkins for 10 years and watched as many scientists have passed away. The one’s who were not Christians and had recently rejected the Gospel had no idea that that was there last chance. That last chance comes to us all. Jesus is reaching out to those that are lost and warning them and calling them.  It amazes me that He is so concerned about us even drawing close to the hour of his death…we find Him preaching the Gospel and calling us to the light. I hope that is how Christ finds us when the time for belief and repentance has past.