The people asked, "How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?"
It was the last week of Jesus' life before the crucifixion. The people had welcomed Him into town with praise and worship, spreading branches of palm trees in His path, and now they are questioning His identity.
John 12: 27-36
Verse 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."
Jesus knew His crucifixion was drawing near, which the human side of Him seemed to be dreading, but He also knew that this was His mission; and He was not stepping aside.
Even though it would temporarily separate Him from the Father, He was willing and ready to take the sins of the world on himself.
Verse 28: "Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven: "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."
Father God had spoken from Heaven. in Jewish tradition voices that came from Heaven were frequently regarded as substitutes for prophecy.
According to Strong's, the word "glorify," as used here, means to magnify, extol, or praise.
Verse 29: "The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." 30Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not mine."
According to the Synoptics "God the Father" had also verbally testified for Jesus at His baptism.
"And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased, (Matt 3:16-17).
Now, on still another occasion God testified for Jesus from Heaven, but it was to spiritually blind and deaf people. Evidently, they could not see or hear the truth about anything from God.
Jesus did not try to explain, just said, "This voice has come for your sake, not mine."
Verse 31: "Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out."
In nearly all Jewish texts, God is the ruler, but here, Jesus is speaking of Satan and his dominion in human affairs; and of the defeat of demonic spiritual forces, He was about to carry out.
Satan is real, not symbolic. He is continually working against God and those who obey him. But because of Christ's victory on the cross Believers can be delivered from him.
Verse 32-34: "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." 33He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
To be, "lifted up" meant, to be crucified, which they already knew. Jesus wanted to tell them in advance what kind of death He would die, but, at the time, they rejected, all He said.
They had wrongly interpreted the Scriptures to say that the Messiah would never die; and they were waving Palm Branches for a victorious Messiah, whom they thought would set up an earthly political kingdom that would never end.
Verse 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?"
They could not understand why the Messiah had to suffer and die before setting up His kingdom. They were trying to force Jesus into their mold.
To say, "Who is this Son of Man" indicates that even though Jesus had repeatedly told them, and had presented witnesses, they failed to grasp His true identity.
The most critical failure of the Jewish nation was not to identify the Messiah. The One the people had been expecting for hundreds of years, had arrived, and they failed to recognize Him.
Verse 35-36: "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. 36While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light. When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them."
Jesus is the "Light of the World," yet these spiritually blind Jewish scholars could not understand. Even so, He never gave up on them but continued to teach and guide them to the very last.
Jesus warned them that time was running out, and that He would be with them in person for only a short while longer. If they walked in His light, they would become, “sons of Light.”
After Jesus had said these things, He hid from them.
This completes our study of, The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up.
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