John 12:12-36 (ESV)

12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

15    “Fear not, daughter of Zion;

behold, your king is coming,

sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

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.

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.” 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. 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?” 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.”

When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.


  1. Recap
    1. Just prior to this Christ’s head and feet were anointed by Mary.
    2. The Chief Priests and Scribes are plotting to destroy Him because people are following after Him.
    3. Christ’s power has two reactions: worship from His own and the desire to destroy from those in darkness.
  2. The Triumphal Entry (John 12:12-19)
    1. The crowd greets Him with palm branches (12-13)
      • In verses 12-13 we witness the popular reaction to Christ’s power.
      • Crowds have gathered because Jesus seems like the answer to their expectations.
      • The palm branch had significance in Jewish history as a symbol of deliverance.
      • It was the symbol of the Macabees who had driven out those who defiled the temple about a century earlier.
      • Jesus appears to be the leader who will save them.
      • He will save them from the most important thing they believe they need to be saved from: political oppression.
      • The irony is that Jesus has come in procession as a King who will defeat a ruler but not the ruler that the people believe.
    2. Christ fulfills prophecy (14-15)
      • In verses 14-15, John quotes Zech 9:9.
      • The expectation from this prophecy is of national deliverance by the people.
      • But Jesus has come into procession for a very different purpose.
    3. The blindness of the disciples and the onlookers (16-19)
      • In verse 16, John Himself admits the disciples missed the import of Christ’s trirumphal entry.
      • He notes that it was only after they received the Spirit that they really understood – that they had eyes to see – what Christ had come to accomplish
      • The crowds had even gathered because they had either witnessed Lazarus being raised from the dead or heard about it.
      • Here is a man with power. God is on His side!
      • Is it not remarkable that these people could clamor for Jesus when He seemed powerful but were nowhere to be found when He appeared weak.
      • The world can cheer for Jesus for all the wrong reasons.
      • All the Pharisees care about are that the unwashed masses are going after Him. The deplorable unsophisticated masses.
      • They tell the leaders that the time has come to do something about Jesus.
      • They want Him put to death.
      • And that’s exactly why Jesus had come.
      • To ensure that what He came for would be fulfilled.
    4. The Greeks Seek after Jesus (John 12:20-26)
      1. Philip and Andrew bring Greeks to Jesus (20-22)
        • Meanwhile, it seems that some Greek believers wanted to come to see Jesus
        • They go to Philip who goes to his townsman Andrew and they let Jesus know that Greeks want to see Him.
        • Greeks, those outside of the visible Kingdom of God, have come.
        • Christ had come for His own so how would this be accomplished?
      2. The Hour has come (23-24)
        • The hour was upon Him.
        • Everything that Jesus’ ministry had pointed to was upon Him.
        • This was not a miscalculation.
        • The very purpose for which the Son of Man had come was upon Him.
        • The Son of Man must die so that He might be resurrected.
        • The Son of Man must die so that those outside the physical boundaries of Israel could be brought in.
      3. Life only in being identified with Christ in humiliation and exaltation (25-26)
        • Furthermore, it would not be those that looked only to Jesus to be a winner.
        • We want winners.
        • We want winners so bad that, in the words of someone recently: We want to win so much that we’ll get tired of winning and say:  Can’t you just lose once.
        • No, we want to be on the side of the mighty in the eyes of the world.
        • But the Cross upends all of the world’s ideas of glory.
        • The Cross is the place where those who worship the One Who dies will find life everlasting.
        • It’s the place of humiliation and being identified with the humiliated that they will find true eternal vindication.
      4. The Son of Man Must be Lifted Up (John 12:27-36)
        1. Christ troubled by the Cross (27)
          • Christ now explains clearly what the meaning of the Cross is but not before He expresses some reservations.
          • 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.”
          • It’s difficult to get our minds wrapped around the fact that Jesus was fully man.
          • The Scriptures teach the full humanity and deity of the Son of God.
          • That doesn’t mean that Jesus is a hybrid part man, part God.
          • It means that the Son of God incarnate is fully man and that the Son of God as God is fully God.
          • One person, two natures – God and man.
          • Jesus had a real human mind and men have to trust in God because they don’t know everything.
          • If Jesus, in His humanity, was all-knowing, then He wouldn’t be fully man.
          • He wouldn’t be a suitable substitute for us.
          • Why is this important?
          • Because I believe Jesus is expressing legitimate faith in God, as a real man would, and is leaning on His Father to comfort Him for what He is about to do.
          • Jesus is moving forward in faith and trusting what the Scriptures are saying about Him.
          • He doesn’t know, in His humanity, what it’s going to feel like, what terror He might experience.
          • There is trepidation about what is occurring.
          • He is saying: Father, there is a sense in which I am tempted to shrink back from this.  Remind me again that I will be glorified after I experience the terror of wrath and death.
          • It is it not remarkable to think that, in one sense, Jesus was taking each step ahead toward the Cross with God’s Word as a lamp before His feet to guide each step.
          • He believes He will be glorified and the Father will be glorified but He cannot see it yet because He is fully man.
        2. The Father testifies to the Son that He will be glorified (28)
          • And the Father testifies in love to the Son with a voice from heaven.
          • The voice that came down at His baptism to testify of Him.
          • The voice that came at His transfiguration.
          • The Father now, at the moment His is drawing near to the Cross once more speaks from heaven to say: I have glorified it and I will glorify it again.
          • The glory you had before time began will be yours, my Son.
          • Believe the Word.
          • You are the Word incarnate.
          • Keep pressing in.
          • You are only days away from finishing your mission.
          • Trust what the Word of God says about You.
        3. The deafness of the crowd to this testimony (29-30)
          • Once again, however, in verses 29-30, we see the spiritual deadness of the crowd.
          • Some can only hear thunder and some reckon an angel has spoken.
          • It is for this reason, spiritual bondage, that Christ has come.
        4. The Son of Man must be lifted up (31-33)
          • Christ here, in profound words, compacts the very mission of the Cross.
          • He answers the question of why He must die.
          • He answers the question of whether Greeks might see Him.
          • 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.
          • What have we been witnessing about the ability of the crowd to perceive Christ’s work?
          • They miss it.
          • What have we seen about their ability to see and hear spiritual things?
          • They lack perception.
          • The reason, Beloved, is that they, like us before Christ, were in spiritual bondage.
          • Christ did not come into the world to bring condemnation.
          • Why?
          • Because they world was already condemned.
          • Ever since the Fall of Adam, mankind was under the dominion of sin and death.
          • Sin is not merely a thing that people do because they lack information.
          • Sin is power.
          • Sin is a kind of bondage and chains the minds and hearts of those under its dominion.
          • They love themselves and hate God.
          • They love to love themselves and hate God.
          • Because they are in bondage to sin.
          • Christ has come in procession as an announcement that the time for this slavery of all mankind is coming to an end!
          • He has come for His own to be judged by God for sin.
          • He has come to experience the right wrath of God against that sin.
          • Now is the judgement of the world at hand.
          • In Christ, Beloved, the judgment against sin is to be borne by Him.
          • The full hot fury of God’s just wrath against sin will be poured out against His Son.
          • Now is the time when the ruler of this world will be cast out.
          • The wrath against sin will be taken away and so too will the power of sin to reign over those for Whom Christ has died.
          • The world thinks it is most free when we identify ourselves by what we most want to do.
          • This is slavery.
          • Christ came to throw down that dominion of sin.
          • When Christ is lifted up He will draw all men – Jew, Gentile, Greek, barbarian, slave, free.
          • His death is the very means by which men, women, boys, and girls are freed from the chains of their bondage.
          • He becomes us at His death.
          • We die to sin and its power so that it might no longer reign.
          • Isn’t that GOOD NEWS?!
          • Those listening in didn’t think so.
        5. The blindness of the crowd (34)
          • If you ever need Scriptural proof of the power of sin to blind to the things of God it’s on full display in verse 34.
          • The people react to Christ explaining to them that the Son of Man has come to die by doubting that He can be the Son of Man.
          • They understand that Christ has called Himself the Son of Man.
          • They understand that the Son of Man is the Messiah.
          • Yet, with darkened eyes, they have read the Scriptures differently.
          • No, Jesus, the Scriptures say that the Messiah will always be with us.
          • You are quite wrong because the Messiah will bring national deliverance and be with us forever.
          • It can’t be that the Messiah is going to suffer a humiliating death.
          • But don’t be too hard on them.
          • God will have judged them if they never came to faith.
          • Marvel less that they misunderstood the Messiah’s work and marvel more that people who have the full revelation of the work of Christ in the New Testament still treat Jesus as a political action hero.
          • The New Covenant looks like a single mountain from afar in the Old Testament.
          • It appears that the Day of the Lord will mean the ushering in of a golden age from the time that the Messiah comes.
          • The lion will lay down with the lamb.
          • It is only when we get to the mountain that we realize that the New Covenant was an entire range.
          • Christ has now ushered in an era where what is true of the future is upon us because we have Him but we have not yet experience it all.
        6. Jesus is the light (35-37)
          • Christ ends with an invitation to the onlookers and to us.
          • Your hearts are darkened.
          • Your eyes do not see and your ears do not hear.
          • I am the Light.
          • It is the power of my death and resurrection that will free you from spiritual death.
          • You walk in darkness not as a choice but as a slave.
          • I have come to set men, women, boys, and girls free by my death.
          • The light is standing right in front of you.
          • Believe in Me, the Son of Man.
          • I will be despised and rejected.
          • I will be spat upon.
          • I will be called a traitor.
          • I will be called forsaken of men.
          • People will turn their faces away from me in horror.
          • They will mock me.
          • They will think I’m a sham.
          • They will call me Cursed of God.
          • ‘Tis all true.
          • I have come for such an hour.
          • I have come to be declared innocent and then I will go forward willingly to the placed of guilt.
          • I will hang on a Cross for the cursed.
          • I will hang there and take the full fury of God.
          • Because, in that hour, I am hanging there for you.
          • You deserve to be despised and rejected of God.
          • You deserve to be cursed.
          • You deserve to have God’s fury poured out on you for your sin.
          • But I will have none of that for you.
          • Even as you heap scorn upon me.
          • I am taking the sins of your scorn upon Me.
          • I’m going to my death so that you will not die an eternal death.
          • Look upon me now.
          • I have broken sin’s dominion.
          • The chains that held you have fallen away.
          • Look with new eyes on the Cursed One and see Your Savior.
          • Look again at the empty tomb and see the One Who has given You eternal life.

Now is the hour, Beloved,

The Son of Man has been lifted up and has cast out sin’s power over you if you believe.

He has the power now to draw you to Himself.

Believe in Christ and live!