This Was His Mission
Read John 12:27-30 (ESV)
“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.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine.”
Jesus dreaded what He knew was coming—a torturous death on the cross. Why was He still willing to go through with it?
Think back on an experience in your life that you dreaded. You know that sick, sinking feeling? When your heart races, you break out in a sweat, and you get the shakes? In those moments, your fight or flight response kicks in and you brainstorm ways to try to get out of whatever terrifying experience lies ahead of you.
But we know that Jesus did not fight His upcoming crucifixion, nor did He flee from it. He met it head on with great courage. But that doesn’t mean He didn’t dread it. In fact, in today’s verses, He told us that He did. He said that His soul was troubled and that He wanted to beg the Father to save Him from His time of suffering. But He knew that this is why He came. This was His purpose. He came to earth to suffer and die in our place.
He was perfectly sinless. He didn’t deserve this. And yet, He put our sin upon Himself and bore our penalty so that we could put on His righteousness. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). But that doesn’t mean He looked forward to it. He is the all-powerful God but He wasn’t going to die a painless death. His deity wasn’t going to numb the excruciating pain of the cross.
Jesus is totally God, totally man. That means that in His humanity, He felt what we feel. Can you imagine the torturous dread that He must have felt anticipating this? Crucifixion was beyond cruel. It was not a merciful death at all. Those who were executed by this means suffered intense pain. Jesus acknowledged His fear and anxiety about what was coming and yet, He moved forward with His mission.
The Jews may have thought that they were putting Him to death but the truth is, no one forced Him to the cross. He could have escaped capture. He’d already done so several times. He could have overpowered them. Jesus could have called out to the Father to send “more than twelve legions of angels.” But He didn’t. He knew that in order for the Scriptures to be fulfilled, He had to die (Matthew 26:53-54).
Remember His words in John 10:17-18? “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” In His deity, He had full authority to lay down His life and raise up His life. But in His humanity, He was horrified at the thought of what lay ahead.
He didn’t pray for the Father to rescue Him. Rather, He prayed for God’s name to be glorified. And that prayer was met with the Father’s voice from heaven, promising Jesus that His name would be glorified in Jesus’ suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension. Jesus’ life and ministry had already glorified God in so many ways. But His Great Name was going to be glorified again. His amazing grace, His holy and righteous wrath, His perfect justice, His incredible love, and His mighty power were on full display.
As if that weren’t enough to show God’s love and concern for His people, He spoke audibly to Jesus. Not because Jesus needed to hear Him to know what the Father intended but because He knew that doing so would shore up the faith of everyone present to hear. If they were still doubting whether or not Jesus was God’s Son, this should have put their doubts to rest. Jesus is God in the flesh and He came to earth with one mission. He came to earth to die.
Jesus, I cannot imagine the pain and suffering that You felt on that cross. It overwhelms me to know that You loved me so much that You were willing to suffer and die in my place. Thank You, Lord. Amen.
Reveal: Do you know anyone confused about what Jesus’ mission here on earth was? How can you help them understand why He came?
~ Pastor Nat Crawford