Monday, March 17, 2008

It's Good Friday Because It Was Bad News for the 'Ruler of This World'

27 “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. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. [John 12:27-33]

The final judgment is yet to come. It shall happen with Christ's return. But in one sense the day of judgment has already happened, and that's why Good Friday is so good, for it was judgment day against the ruler of this world, Satan. (John 12:31; John 16:11; Col. 2:6-15)

In John 12 we see Jesus expressing how troubled his soul was due to the impending hour: his imminent execution at the hands of wicked men and His bearing the wrath of God against sin to bring many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10).

At that point an audible voice comes from heaven for Jesus says to his disciples "your sake, not mine," for, "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."

John makes clear in verse 33 to us that "lifted up" refers to "what kind of death he was going to die," the crucifixion.

Jesus tells us the judgment of the world: damnation of the wicked, salvation for those who trust in Christ, and the vanquishing of Satan (the ruler of this world), are all tied to and made possible by His suffering and death on the cross. That is why he could cry "It is finished." (John 19:30)

What's more, Christ's death on the cross is to "draw all people to" Him. This is why the church must preach Christ and Him crucified (I Cor. 2:2), it's how Jesus himself tells us that he draws people to Himself from every race and tribe and tongue to himself (see also Rev. 5:5-10 below).

Death on a cross is gruesome, hideous, horrifying, enough to make you weep, as well we should, over our sin and rebellion against God putting Christ there.

Yet that weeping is for but a while. Christ is risen from the dead(Luke 24:5-7), interceding for His church (Heb. 7:25), and returning again in glory (I Thess. 4:16). His death and resurrection prove that He alone is worthy, as the Lord of all history, to open the scroll of God's will, as John testifies in his account from Revelation chapter 5. Because of this, all of heaven rejoices.:

5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

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