See the Glory of Jesus
5th Sunday in Lent
See the Glory of Jesus
1. See it in his death
2. See it in his Father
3. See it in serving Him
Text: John 12:20-33
I sure would like to see Jesus. No, strike that. I would love to see Jesus. Wouldn’t life be a little better if Jesus strolled through those front doors and joined us for worship today? We wouldn’t need to stand in honor of the gospel, we would stand in honor of him! I wouldn’t need to read from Scripture, he could just tell us because he inspired it or said it himself! We wouldn’t need to pray to him, we could talk to him directly and face to face.
And if I’m going to see Jesus, maybe I could see a little bit of his glory too. Life hasn’t exactly been great or grand lately. I’ve had better weeks. I’ve had better years. Come to think of it, my whole life has been pretty tough! So maybe Jesus could squirt out a little power here and there. Couldn’t he change water into gasoline for us? $4.00 a gallon is unbearable. Or multiplying multi-grain bread and salmon would go a long way to make me happy. Maybe he could calm some storms for us? Hurricane season is about to start.
Yes. I would like to see Jesus. I would like to see his glory. Wouldn’t you?
Some Greek Jews once had the same request. They were likely converts to Judaism from some other country, come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Word had apparently spread all over the world about this “magic man” that healed the sick, preached with fire, and challenged the Pharisees. So while in Jerusalem, why not check it out? Verse 21: “They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we would like to see Jesus.’” Undoubtedly they were eager to see the talk of the town because they wanted to see some glory.
We don’t know if Jesus ever spoke to those Greeks, but here is his response to his disciples: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Ah! How wonderful! The disciples had seen three years worth of astounding miracles. But now was the time for Jesus to be glorified? Ooh! What would Jesus do now? Tear down the Roman Empire? Pass out gold bars to every believer?
What he shared though was shocking: “’I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds . . . (verse 32) But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.’ He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.”
What’s all this talk about death? I thought the hour had come for Jesus to be glorified? Things were just getting good too. People all over the world had heard about what he had done. Thousands of people gathered to hear him speak. He was on the cover of every magazine in Jerusalem. Jesus was trending every day on Twitter. Most people “liked” his Facebook page. Why talk about his death? There’s no glory there!
Come to think of it, why do we talk so much about his death? It doesn’t pay my bills. It doesn’t make sinus infections go away. His death didn’t stop our loved one from dying. It doesn’t stop terrorists from attacking. It doesn’t prevent hurricane season.
All this talk about Jesus, but my life hasn’t gotten any better. I walk out the doors on Sunday and I still have problems. My back still hurts. Monday starts a week just as busy as the last. I want to see Jesus and I want to see his glory. But he hasn’t shown me much lately.
What misguided, mislead, and mistaken hearts we have! All these thoughts and all this focus are on here, not heaven. Jesus warns us today in verse 25: “The man who loves his life will lose it.” Jesus’ warning demands that we ask ourselves where exactly our focus has been. Where do we spend most of our time, our efforts, our interest, our money? Sometimes it’s not just most of our time, efforts, interest, or money, but all of our time, efforts, interest, or money we spend on things here rather than things heavenly.
We chase after these things for the same reason we chase after glimpses of glory from Jesus. Satan uses every plan, plot, and ploy possible in this world to attract our imperfect hearts to love here and not heaven. How hard we fall into these traps. And oh how dangerous it is to love this world more than the next! “The man who loves his life will lose it.”
So Jesus teaches us about a different glory, a hidden glory, a better glory. “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” A seed is just a seed, unless it falls to the ground and dies. Then it does something spectacular and special. By its death it brings life. By dying it produces many more seeds in the future.
Jesus was talking about himself. His miracles and his preaching might have been great and glorious, but the hour had come for Jesus to do something truly spectacular and special. By his death he would bring life. By dying he would bring forgiveness to many and produce new seeds living for God.
Jesus spoke these words on Tuesday or Wednesday of Holy Week. What he would go through at the end of that week would be horrible. But it would be full of glory. Verse 31: “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.” By his death Jesus would receive the judgment and punishment for our sins. By his death Jesus would crush the head of Satan. By his death Jesus would win for us eternal life. Do you want to See the Glory of Jesus? Then see it in his death!
What Jesus experienced mentally during that Holy Week is something we will never understand. Certainly his suffering and death were gruesome and excruciating enough. But we will also never understand what it was like for him to know ahead of time the things that he would experience.
Jesus said that the hour had come for his death. It was a very real and overwhelming burden for him to anticipate what was coming. No wonder he sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane! Yet look at what he says in verse 27: “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say, ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
Jesus was troubled and distressed. But he didn’t cry out and pray that his heavenly Father save him from the cross because his heavenly Father wanted him to save us by the cross. This was the very reason that Jesus came. So Jesus prayed not that he could find a way out, but he prayed that he would fulfill his Father’s will and glorify his name.
What an incredible response! “Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.” The Father spoke from heaven and it was so awe striking that some thought it had thundered or that an angel spoke. God the Father was reassuring that he had glorified his name in the past and he would glorify it once again.
So do you want to See the Glory of Jesus? Then see it in his Father. Look to the great and mighty things he has done. He created the universe. He showed his glory to Noah with the Flood. He showed his glory to Moses and the Israelites. He showed his glory to David and Solomon.
Then he showed his glory through his Son Jesus whom he sent for us. He showed his glory by accomplishing the plan of salvation he had promised for thousands of years. He showed his glory by raising his Son from the dead. He showed his glory by placing Jesus at his side and giving him all authority over heaven and earth.
Today the Father still shows his glory. You know, there are billions of people out there who are absolutely lost. They roam around in the cloudy darkness of unbelief. But you are here. What a miracle! The Father shows his glory today by working in your life and in your heart through his Word. The Father shows his glory by providing for you and sustaining you (because not one plant would grow, not one dollar would be in your pocket without his allowing it). The Father shows his glory by continuing to forgive our countless sins because of the life and death of his only Son. Do you want to See the Glory of Jesus? Then see it in his Father!
But even as we see the magnificent glory of God the Father and the hidden glory of the cross of Jesus, our sinful human minds still plague us with worries and doubts. They’re triggered again by verses 25 and 26: “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.”
Ok, I get the first part. Jesus warns us not to love things here more than heaven. But then he tells us to hate life in this world? He tells us to follow him? I don’t see a lot of glory there. I see pain. I see problems. I see persecution.
And everyone else in this world seems to have a lot more fun than I do. How come I have to dress with modesty and decency? Why do I have to be careful with what I read and watch? Why do I have to watch my language when no one else does? Why give up fun activities and hobbies to be in church on Sunday morning? I don’t see a lot of glory there.
But these are the misguided, mislead, and mistaken hearts speaking again. This is a temptation of Satan whispered in our ears and meant to lead us away from heaven and straight to hell. Rather, knowing the glory of the cross of Jesus and his forgiveness and knowing the glory of our Father we listen carefully to how Jesus finishes verse 26: “My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
What a joy to follow the Savior who laid down his life for me! What a privilege to boldly proclaim the good news of salvation! What a pleasure to live a humble life of love for the one who loves me so much! And what glory in knowing that the Father will honor me for serving him in such a way!
Oh, and it gets better than that. After all the blood, sweat, and tears, after all the years of labor and toiling, after all the hard work and effort in serving Jesus, the greatest glory of all will be ours—eternal life. This is what waits for those who serve and follow Jesus. Do you want to See the Glory of Jesus? Then see it in serving him.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a few miracles performed for us? Maybe Jesus could turn water into gasoline? Maybe he could fill our wallets and our pantries. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the glory of Jesus?
You can. Just don’t look in the wrong place! The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. Next week he will ride into Jerusalem as the humble King on a donkey. The following Friday he will go to the cross to die for our sins. See glory there at the cross. See glory in your sins forgiven. See glory in the Father’s plan accomplished. See glory in serving the Savior who served you. See glory in the eternal life that soon will be yours. That’s true glory. That’s Jesus’ glory. That’s our glory.