John 12:27-32, “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. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
Welcome to Holy Week. This passage in John’s Gospel comes on the heels of Jesus riding into Jerusalem, praised by onlookers and followers. Two things were really happening…some were there to cheer Jesus on because He had recently raised Lazarus from the dead, and like many of us, they just wanted to see what miracle He would do next. Others were true followers who acknowledged His messianic kingship and expected His entry into Jerusalem to end in deliverance for Israel.
Jesus words here remind us of why He came: to glorify His Father’s name; and to decisively defeat Satan at the cross.
It’s hard not to notice Jesus’ emotion. Much like what we’ll see in John 17 as Jesus prayed to God the Father to take away the cup of God’s wrath, here too, we see Jesus’ humanity and discover how much He agonized at the thought of being made sin.
The other thing to note is John 12:32. Many of us are familiar with and have likely quoted or sang this phrase from the old hymn Lift Him Up: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
It’s the word draw that I would like to exhort you on as we approach Easter. We read this verse and immediately think of Jesus drawing people for salvation. And this is true—God’s intent is that people of all tribes, nations and tongues would be reconciled to Himself through Jesus sacrificial death on the cross for their sins.
I wonder though, as we approach yet another Easter, will you let Jesus draw you? Will you let him draw you (again) to Himself, rekindling the emotion you felt as you contemplated, perhaps for the first time, the Savior of the world taking your sin upon Himself on the cross?
It would be too easy (and unfortunately the norm) for most of us to work ourselves through this week without some adequate reflection on what the cross and the resurrection mean to us personally.
Two years ago, I began a tradition of sorts around Easter. I decided to read a book focusing on some aspect of the cross and the resurrection. In 2010, I read The Cross He Bore, by Frederick Leahy. Last year, I read Scandalous by D.A. Carson. I highly recommend both books! This year I’m reading Everyday Prayers, an excellent 365-day prayer journal by Scotty Smith. Scotty’s post for April 2nd is an excellent prayer focusing on Holy Week that will hopefully help you begin your reflection as God draws you to Himself this week.