The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to Him.
Jesus answered and said, This Voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes.
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.
This He said, signifying what death He should die.
Yesterday we learned that God spoke audibly to His Son (John 12:28). This is the third time God spoke to Jesus during His earthly ministry. He spoke at Jesus’ baptism, and again at His transfiguration (Matt. 3:14-17; Matt. 17:1-8).
God promised that Jesus had already glorified the Father, and that He would do so again at His trial, death, and resurrection. One commentator put it this way:
“God the Father was glorified: 1st. By the prodigies which happened at His death. 2. In His resurrection. 3. In His ascension, and sitting at the right hand of God. 4. In the descent of the Holy Ghost on the apostles. and 5. In the astonishing success with which the Gospel was accompanied, and by which the kingdom of Christ has been established in the world.” (Clarke)Blue Letter Bible, David Guzik on John 12.
The people who surrounded Jesus heard the voice. Some thought it was thunder. Others thought an angel had spoken.
Can you imagine the voice of God? It must have been astounding! I know that sometimes He used a “still, small voice” as He did with Elijah (I Kings 19: 11-13). That is a dramatic story, and well worth your time to go back and see what God did in that passage to get Elijah’s attention.
In this situation, God spoke in a way that got the attention of everyone who was present. How reassuring it must have been, as Jesus faced the most difficult, painful, horrendous trial of His life, to hear the voice of the Father telling Him that everything was going exactly according to His will; that Jesus would not fail, even as He faced incredible suffering, to glorify the Name of the Father.
Jesus promised the people that the Voice had spoken for their sake, to comfort them against the things that were coming. He told them that the prince of the world, Satan, was to be defeated. Then He said some of the most significant words I can imagine: “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me.”
He was talking, in part, about the manner of His death. He would be lifted up from the earth to hang in shame on a cross; it was an execution reserved for the worst crimes, the most depraved criminals.
He was also speaking to all who would believe in Him.
How are we doing at lifting up Jesus these days? Are we glorifying Him? Are we bringing honor and respect to Him? Do our lives, as professed believers, draw others to Him? Is what they see in us so appealing that it brings others to Him?
We need to be careful, in these tumultuous and often ugly political times, that we do not join those whose behavior is less than Christ-like. In word and deed, in what we write on Facebook and other social media, we must, must take care to maintain a testimony of strength and faith without losing our grace and self-control.
Lift up Jesus.