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The Sovereignty Over and In The Shadow

The Sovereignty Over and In The Shadow

Here is an excerpt from "The Shadow of Death and the Promise of Life: An Exposition of John 12:1-36a"

As I said before, death looms on Jesus’ horizon; death is drawing near; death casts a striking shadow over this entire passage. The Passover draws near (John 11:55, 12:1, 13:1), and countless animals will be sacrificed for the holy feast. Behold the dying lambs, and the dying Lamb! Jesus is anointed for burial, and like a grain of wheat that falls into the earth, the Savior will be buried in a tomb. And if you would have a share in the joys of eternal life, then you must die to yourself and die to your sin and die to the world. As we do so, the world will oppose us, as Jesus makes clear in John 15: “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20). Here in John 11-12 we see the world – specifically Israel’s corrupt religious leaders – opposing Jesus. In all these ways, the shadow of death hangs over John 12. 

But we must understand that the murderous plot of the religious leaders is only the minor theme. Yes, the religious leaders were seeking to arrest and destroy Jesus. But the major theme, indeed the major theme that controls the minor theme, is that the Father had sent Jesus to achieve salvation by dying. John 1: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) John 3: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:15) John 6: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:51) John 10: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…. No one takes it [my life] from me, but I lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.” (John 10:11, 18) John 15: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

So here in John 12: “for this purpose I have come to this hour.” The Father’s purpose would prevail, and the religious leaders would only prove to be unwitting participants in the divine plan. For although they would ‘succeed’ in crucifying Jesus, it was God’s plan that Jesus would be lifted up on a cross in order to accomplish salvation for God’s people. Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, would not “[remain] alone” in an act of self-preservation, but would lay down His life and die for the salvation (and preservation!) of His people, and by dying He would “[bear] much fruit” and pave the way to everlasting glory.