It is the week of Jesus’ passion, and he is in Jerusalem. At the present time, he is surrounded by disciples, skeptics, and seekers, and he is giving some inside commentary on what is transpiring:
And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 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. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 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. “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. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” (John 12:23-28)
First, Jesus informs his listeners of the time. He says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” For many months Jesus has been saying, “My hour has not yet come.” However, all that has now changed. It is time for Jesus to fulfill his purpose for coming to the earth. It is time for Jesus to live out the prophecy made of him in Isaiah 52-53. The final chapter of his earthly life is to be experienced — it is the hour for the justice, wrath, love, and mercy of God to be proclaimed for all the world to see.
Second, Jesus describes the means of his glorification. He is the Good Son and Holy Worshiper who “hates his life in this world.” He will be the “grain of wheat [that] falls into the earth and dies.”
Third, Jesus tells the crowd of his reward. After the “hating” and “dying” he will “bear much fruit.” That which was promised through Adam, Abraham, Moses, and David is to be realized. In the end, he will reap a multi-generational, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural band of worshipers made up of every nation, tribe, and tongue. And they will be made like him. They will have their affections transformed. Instead of being consumed with hedonism and materialism, they will follow, serve, and enjoy the honor of the Father.
But notice Jesus’ next words, “Now is my soul troubled.” Jesus is perfectly human, and something is messing him up on the inside. Sure, it could be the fact that:
One of his disciples and best friends will betray him and commit suicide.
- He will soon be unjustly arrested and detained.
- All his disciples will deny him; Peter will do so three times.
- He will be despised and rejected.
- His people will prefer a thief and cry out “Crucify him, crucify him!”
- In doing so they will call down curses upon themselves and their children.
- He will be a man of sorrow — acquainted with grief.
- He is soon to be mocked, slandered, flogged, dressed up, loaded like a donkey, paraded, stripped, and hoisted on a Roman cross.
- He will have his appearance astonishingly marred.
But it get’s worse, much worse. The Son of Man will:
- Have man’s iniquities laid upon him.
- Bear man’s griefs and carry his sorrows.
- Be numbered with transgressors.
- Be like a lamb led to the slaughter.
- Become a sin-offering for guilt.
- Bear the sin of many.
- Become a curse for man.
- Be chastised and wounded.
- Be smitten and afflicted by God.
- Be pierced for our transgressions.
- Be crushed for our iniquities.
- Be like a lamb led to the slaughter.
- Be stricken for the transgression of people.
- Be crushed by the Lord.
- Be forsaken by his Father.
Yes, the Son of God was involved in this eternal plan.
Yes, the Son of God was consumed with love for the Father and love for the lost.
Yes, the Son of God willingly came to earth to save his own.
Yes, the Son of God has been talking about his end for years.
Yes, the Son of God has walked into Jerusalem knowing full-well what is about to transpire.
But notice his passion and heartbreak — the Perfect Son of God is torn-up right now. His soul is troubled. He cannot stomach the sin, judgment, condemnation, wrath, darkness, separation, and hell to come. He knows this hell; it is that created for the devil and his angels. During his earthly ministry, he has preached of this hell. In a couple days he will experience it, and so troubled is the Son of Man that he contemplates or actually prays that his Heavenly Father might “save him from this hour.” And this will not be the last time he prays such, for in a couple days he will pray again — three times — that his Father might take this cup from him.
Friends, like Jesus, it is good for us to be troubled by sin. Our transgressions, they are not light and trivial. God hates sin so much that he pummeled his only begotten Son to secure our salvation. Brothers and sisters, let us hate our sins. Let us hate what sin does to families and cultures. Let us hate what it did to Jesus Christ — the Lamb of God. Yes, let us be troubled by sin — more and more — as our souls are enlightened and the days go by.
And then, let us be so troubled by the hell to come for those who are not Christians, that we find ourselves praying and pressing. Yes, let us go “old-school” and evangelize. Let us look for opportunities to tell of God’s Law, sin, and the Good News of the Perfect Son who loved, came, lived, died, ascended, prays, calls, and offers salvation and fellowship to all who call upon his name. Yes, friends, let’s be so troubled that we cannot keep the Gospel to ourselves any longer. Let us be so troubled that we find ourselves consumed to make disciples, build church families, and bear forth much fruit.
Sometimes, it is good for those who have perfect peace, to find themselves troubled by sin and its consequences. That should be our condition. Evangelism should be our practice.