Jesus is Lifted Up to Save the World
Pastor Tom Ascol addresses John 12:1-50. Chapter 12 provides a turning point in John’s Gospel. Here Jesus’ public ministry turns inward. Jesus now he teaches his disciples truths they will need in His physical absence. Nevertheless, the chapter perfectly aligns with the apostle John’s reason for writing the gospel: “that you may believe” (John 20:31).
The text makes plain the purpose for Jesus’ coming: His sacrificial death. Pastor Ascol breaks the chapter into three parts, all looking toward that coming sacrifice. First, the chapter explains the extravagant preparation for Jesus’ death, centering on Mary precious gift of perfume at dinner, while also presenting the position of those aligned against Jesus. That alignment leads to the second point, the reasons, from an earthly perspective, for Jesus’ death. The religious leaders wanted to eliminate Jesus since they considered Him a threat to their religious superiority. The final part, beginning with the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, addresses the eternal reason for Jesus’ death. Here it is that a person, recognizing their need of salvation, can see the value of the Messiah’s coming work on the Cross of Calvary.
Throughout his message Pastor Ascol reminds the listener of the different types of people characterized in Chapter 12. There are those that refuse to believe in Jesus, those that seem to trust Jesus but are more interested in how other people may perceive them, those, like Judas, who pretend to believe, and, finally, those like Mary who recognize their sinful nature, their need for reconciliation with God, and the fact that it is only through Jesus that the need can be met. The actions of each group reveal their true commitment to God.