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me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
More than once have we heard from the Lord's lips those words of mystery, "Mine hour is not yet come." Now for the first time 2 He declares the contrary. Already He has entered, as it were, upon the last hour of His mortal day.3 It is an hour of darkness and of deepest humiliation, and yet the Lord calls it the time when He shall be glorified. So differently do things look to the eye of faith and to the eye of sense. The hour was come, and this was the sign of it, that the Gentiles were even now coming unto Him. So in reference to His own approaching death and its consequent fruits of more abundant life, in reference also to these first-fruits of the Gentiles, He takes up His parable, that apt and favourite figure of the seed sown,5 and sets forth therefrom the effect of His own death. How different the event of a grain of wheat laid up in the barn, and a grain of wheat sown in the field! That would remain alone, unmultiplied; whereas this, though it die, springs up again into fresh and fuller life. So should it shortly be with Him. By the death of one, many should have life. Now from Himself and His own case, He seems to turn to His would-be followers, to forewarn them lest they should deceive themselves and be disappointed. What should be true of Him might be true also of them. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master. They had come from seeing Him greeted as King, and the palms of victory were carpeting His path. Soon they shall see Him numbered with the transgressors. They had heard the people shouting "Hosanna," and the echoes were still sounding in their ears. Ere that week come to a close they shall hear these same cry "Crucify." And they shall enter into the fellowship of His sufferings. But none of these things must move them."
1 St. John ii. 4; vii. 6, 8. And see vii 30; viii. 20.
2 V. 27 below; St. John xiii. 1, 3, 31-33; xvi. 32; xvii. 1.
3 St. John xi. 9.
St. John iv. 35-38.
5 "From this saying of our Lord, St. Paul derives his argument on the Resurrection, 1 Cor. xv. 36."-Bp Wordsworth.
61 Thess. iii. 3; 1 St. Pet. ii. 21; iv. 12, 14.
They are not, any more than He, to count their life dear unto them. So He warns them against cowardice, against apostasy, against shrinking from the martyr's cross, against losing the martyr's crown. Not that any man is literally to hate, or wilfully to injure his own flesh; but it might be necessary so to act as though they hated it, by surrendering it for their Lord's sake. Observe that contrast between "life in this world" and "life eternal." To love life too well is but to lose it. To hate it rightly is to keep it indeed. Loving is losing, but proper hating is to guard2 it well. If any man, these same Gentiles or any other, profess to serve me, this is the path he must make up his mind to tread. He will not repent it. For see the result, "Where I am, there also shall my servant 3 be;" with Him in glory as in suffering. Twice the clause is expressed; first in connexion with the duty, and then with the promise. "If any man serve me, let him follow me;" and again, "If any man serve me, him will my Father honour."
A VOICE FROM HEAVEN.
St. John xii. 27-29.
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
From directing and exhorting others the Lord of glory turns again to His own case, and to that dark hour which was
1 St. Luke xiv. 26. 2 So in the original.
See the original. Words remarkably fulfilled in the case of St. Stephen, one of the first Deacons, and the first Martyr.
It is like His promise afterwards to His disciples, St. John xiv. 2, 3. It is like His prayer afterwards to the Father, St. John xvii, 24. See 2 Tim. ii. 11, 12; Rev. ii. 10; iii. 21.
nigh at hand. Here was a "foretaste of the scene in the garden of Gethsemane." 1 This sad soliloquy plainly proves that He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin; that He had a mind and body constituted like ours, which like ours shrank naturally from pain and death; but that He had also a divine principle, a sinless spirit, whereby He triumphed over these natural trials. He had the former, or these things would not have been any trial to Him. He had the latter, or He could not so have triumphed over them. Divines have distinguished in Christ two wills; a natural and human will, and also a purely spiritual and divine will; the former of which would shrink from, the latter elect and endure these sufferings. And this seems to be the scope of our Saviour's outspoken meditation. What shall I say? Shall I say, Father, save me from this hour? Nay, for for this cause came I unto this hour.3 Therefore He will not put up such a request as this which human nature would dictate. At all hazards let the name of the Father be glorified. Sudden and marvellous now is the answer to His appeal. A great wonder is brought to pass. God is heard again to speak from Heaven. He who once answered His servant Moses on Mount Sinai, here on the Mount Sion answers His Son Jesus, in a voice of thunder. Some indeed professed to think it no more.5 Others, nearer the truth, supposed, and said, An Angel has spoken to Him.' heard the voice, though not all, any more than St. Paul's
So in the original.
Thrice was the Divine voice heard from Heaven: first, at our Lord's Baptism, when He seems to have been specially designated to His Priestly office: next, at His Transfiguration, when, by the departure of Moses and Elijah, He was discovered as the great Prophet of His people: lastly, on the present occasion, when He is... revealed to Sion as her King, and beholds the first-fruits of those Gentiles who should hereafter press so largely into His Kingdom.”-A Plain Commentary.
companions, the words uttered.' That name which was glorified in the creation of the world, is glorified again in the world's redemption.
THE CRISIS OF THE WORLD.
St. John xii. 30-33.
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.
At the grave of Lazarus, Jesus spake aloud to the Father for the people's sake; in the Temple at Jerusalem, the Father, still for their sake, spake aloud to Him. There the Son uttered His prayer of thanksgiving; here the Father proclaimed His word of promise; and in both cases for the sake of them that stood by. Christ needed not this confirmation, but the people needed the instruction. Not for His sake therefore, but for their sakes,3 came there such a voice to Him again from the excellent glory. After this marvellous parenthesis, this pause in which God is heard to speak from Heaven, the Lord resumes. He had spoken of an awful and mysterious hour. Here He describes what that hour is. It is the crisis of the world. As once 'through every avenue of pleasure, so now through every avenue of pain" will the prince of this world seek to shake from His steadfastness Him who for this purpose was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil." More than once does the Lord in this Gospel speak of the
Acts ix. 7 with xxii. 9.
2 St. John xi. 41, 42.
3 See the original. It is the same
preposition in both cases.
See the original.
A Plain Commentary.
St. John xiv. 30; xvi. 11; 2 Cor. iv. 4; Eph. ii. 2; vi. 12.
71 St. John iii. 8.
wicked one by this title. For though it be an usurped dominion, yet unhappily men are too willing to become his vassals; unwilling to submit themselves to Him who came to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God. But here our Lord anticipates his victory.' And He points out the way in which it shall be accomplished; a way that would not enter into the heart of man; a way which seemed an actual triumph to the enemy. But life issues out of death, and victory out of apparent defeat. "The Saviour crucified is in fact the Saviour glorified." And that this should prove the judgment of the prince of this world, however it might appear as a momentary triumph to him, would be seen and acknowledged when the promised Comforter should come, who should convince the world that the prince of this world is judged.
Here too our Lord predicts the peculiar manner of His approaching death, and He declares the event of it, the attraction of the Cross. Thus would He, when uplifted, draw all men unto Him; not Jews alone, but also Gentiles, of whom some were offering themselves at that very hour.
THE SONS OF LIGHT.
St. John xii, 31-36.
The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man
"He speaks of Himself as having actually entered the hour of His passion, and views the result as already come."-Alford.
3 Alford notes that the future "shall be cast out" is used, "because the casting out... shall be gradual, as the drawing."
St. John xvi. 8, 11.
The original signifies "by what sort of death He was about to die."
Compare St. John xxi. 18, 19.
Augustine (De Fid. rer. invisib. c. iv.) has a remarkable passage in which he speaks of the attraction of the Cross as a proof of the incarnation of Christ. From what we see, we believe what we cannot see. We cannot see the seed of the woman, but we see that in it all nations of the earth are blessed. Compare St. John iii. 8, 12.