3024. Christ’s Death And Ours

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No. 3024-52:49. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, February 14, 1869, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, January 24, 1907.

And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone: but if it dies, it produces much grain.” {Joh 12:23,24}

1. Certain Greeks desired to “see Jesus.” They informed Philip of their desire, Philip consulted with Andrew, and the two disciples together informed their Master of what seemed to them to be a very important matter. Just as wise men from the East once came to see Jesus, so now those Gentiles from the West would do the same. Probably, Philip and Andrew expected that Christ would display his miraculous power before the eyes of these enquirers; but our Lord, instead of going on from his triumphal procession, and the hosannas of the multitude, to something outwardly grander, began at once to speak about a glorification far other than either his disciples or these Greeks desired, — a glorification which was to follow after his death and burial.

2. Is it not very noteworthy how our Lord’s mind was always dominated by the anticipation of that baptism of his, that immersion in grief and suffering, that decease which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem? This was the main thought of his whole life, and nothing could make him forget it. In his heaviest moment of trial, and in his brightest moment of joy, his heart was equally at the cross, and he was longing to complete his atoning sacrifice for the salvation of his people. Oh brave, loving heart of Christ, so firmly fixed in love, so resolute to be pierced, for the beloved, we admire and love you in return!

3. Surely, we make too little of our Redeemer’s death. I fear that even we, who preach most concerning it, dwell too little on it; that we, who pray, plead it too little; that we, who sing, praise our Lord too little for his wonderful death; and that we, who live on his grace, yet think too little of the channel by which it flows to us. Christ’s death is his glory, and it ought also to be ours. All other topics in Holy Scripture are important, and none of them are to be cast into the shadows; but the death of the Son of God is the central sun of all these minor luminaries. It is the great Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; it is not only eminent, it is pre-eminent with us. I could almost wish that we had broken every other string of our soul’s harp except what resounds the music of his love. Silence, you other voices; and let the voice of his blood be heard in our souls! If we were bound down to this one subject, — chained to it, and never permitted to take another, but compelled simply to stand, and cry incessantly, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” — it would be an enlargement, rather than a narrowing of our ministry. Here is a theme fit for seraphs; yes, “Michael the archangel” might find this subject too vast even for his exalted intellect. While we are musing on this text, no other topic shall intrude. Our mottoes shall be, “All for Jesus,” and “No one but Jesus.” May the blessed Comforter, whose work it is to glorify Christ, and to take from what belongs to him, and apply it to us, now give us the power of Christ’s death in our hearts!

4. The verses on which we are to meditate speak of two things; — first, Christ’s view of his death; and, secondly, Christ’s view of the necessity and the results of that death.

5. I. First, we are to consider CHRIST’S VIEW OF HIS DEATH. He says, “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.”

6. Now, I freely grant that this passage may refer to Christ’s glorification, in his resurrection, in his ascension, and in all his triumph beyond the skies; but, from its context, with the allusion to the grain of wheat, which is cast into the ground to die, it is clear that our Lord was mainly thinking of his death, and that he spoke of it as being, in a certain sense, the hour of his glory. Certainly, to spiritual eyes, the Christ of God was never more glorious than when he was nailed to the cross of Calvary; — not even up there where the lamps of heaven glow with supernal splendour, where the harps of angels pour out matchless music, and where Christ himself sits on the throne of the Highest, “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” A glory, never equalled, shone around the Conqueror of death and hell when he bowed his head, and said, “It is finished,” and gave up the ghost.

7. Notice well that Christ said that “the Son of man should be glorified”; — not the Son of God; — for he was speaking here concerning his human nature. This teaches us that, Christ, as man, was glorified by enduring bravely, patiently, and to the end, what no other man ever has borne. Without a murmur, he willingly endured all the agony and ignominy that were heaped on him. He marched boldly through the tremendous depths of physical, mental, and spiritual suffering which the atonement demanded. It may be that, in some of his bodily pangs, our Lord’s anguish has been equalled by that endured by some of the martyrs, yet I greatly question whether that has ever been the case. Rather I believe that his particularly sensitive body, which had never lost any of its delicacy of tone through indulgence or impurity, and which was originally of the finest mould, since he was “that holy thing” which was born of Mary through the overshadowing power of the Highest; — for these reasons, it appears to me that Christ may have borne physical pains such as, in their intensity, have not been known by any other son of man. But as for his mental and spiritual griefs, they were an unknown abyss; who can measure or conceive what his holy soul endured? Hart’s lines, though very strong in expression, do not go beyond the truth even when he says that Christ, in Gethsemane, — 

      Bore all incarnate God could bear,

   With strength enough, and none to spare.

Yet how gloriously he endured it all even to the bitter end! The gold was tried in the furnace, but no dross was discovered. Mightier than Atlas, Christ bore a world of grief on his shoulders; and yet he neither staggered under it, nor cast off the load. He went to prison and to death; but all through his way of woe his mighty soul was strong within him, and he died triumphing over all; he was unconquered and unconquerable to the last. Crown him, oh you daughters of Jerusalem, as the King of sufferers, most mighty to suffer and to save. With his garments all red from the wine-press, adore him as having alone sustained the fury of his adversaries.

8. Remember, too, that Christ won, on the cross, the glory of being the fully-obedient One. “Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.” It is a great glory to a servant of God to be, through divine grace, sincerely obedient to his Lord; but it would be a greater honour if he could be perfectly obedient. On our Lord, who had voluntarily taken the place of a servant for us, the perfection of his service casts the highest honour. After having, in all points, kept the law perfectly by his active obedience, he crowned his life’s service by his passive obedience, and was glorious indeed when he went to “the end of the law for righteousness.” Firstborn of many brethren are you, oh you glorious Son of man, made perfect in your obedience in order that you might be the Captain of our salvation, and bring many sons to glory!

9. Further, Christ was glorified on the cross by achieving what no one else could have achieved. How often do we present the truth, which is always fresh and delightful to believers, that Christ Jesus, on the tree, took all the sins of all who believe in him, — took them to himself literally, and carried them as though they had been his own, and suffered for those sins, on the cross, all that ought to have been suffered by us on account of those sins, enduring what his Father accepted as an equivalent for all the agony which ought to have been endured by us because of those iniquities. We believe, brothers and sisters in Christ, in the literal substitution of Christ for his people. Christ stood in the sinner’s place, and suffered what was due to the sinner, even the curse of God, and the wrath of God. And now he has so suffered for sinners that those, for whom he died, can have no sin laid to their charge so as to involve them in punishment, since it is a maxim of all courts of justice that the law cannot first punish the substitute, and then punish those in whose place he stood. Every honest man admits that a debt, once paid, is settled for ever; so, since Christ paid the debt that his people owed to infinite justice, it is for ever blotted out, and our obligations to divine justice are obliterated. This is the joy of joys, this is the doctrine that makes the gospel to be God’s good news to guilty sinners, this is the glorious truth that sets the bells of heaven ringing with their loudest and their sweetest music, — that Christ has made the sin of his people to cease to be. So that ancient prophecy is fulfilled, “‘In those days, and in that time,’ says the Lord, ‘the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon those whom I reserve.’” The work of Messiah the Prince is “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness”; and this work was fully accomplished when “this Man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” Oh beloved, this is bliss indeed for us if he really did die for us! Your question and mine must be this, “Did Christ die for me?” To answer that, I must ask, “Am I trusting in him?” If I am, then he did die for me and all my sins are gone because he was punished in my place. My demerit was imputed to him, and he died to put it away; and, now, his merit is counted as my merit. A wonderful transfer has been made by means of the death of Christ. He has taken all the consequences of our guilt, and borne them all, and ended them for ever; so was he not indeed glorified in his death? And you, believer, may sing this sweet song, on earth and in heaven too, — 

   In my Surety I am free,

   His dear hands were pierced for me;

   With his spotless vesture on

   Holy as the Holy One.

   Oh the heights and depths of grace!

   Shining with meridian blaze;

   Here the sacred records show

   Sinners black, but comely too.

10. But we must not forgot that Christ was glorified, in his death, officially, as our great High Priest he stood alone in that dark hour, as the true High Priest presenting the one perfect sacrifice to God. All other high priests had been only types of Christ, the great Antitype. They had, once a year, though “not without blood,” passed under the embroidered veil which hid the Holy of Holies from other eyes; but in that dread hour of darkness on Calvary, Christ, the true High Priest, offered up himself as the propitiatory sacrifice which alone could put away his people’s sins; and then, through the torn veil, that is to say, his body, his soul passed up into the presence of God, and there his blood still pleads for his people, speaking better things than that of Abel. Begone, all you gorgeous ceremonies of Aaron and his sons, like stars that hide their light when the sun itself appears! Christ, the great High Priest, is the only one that his Church needs. You may banish your many coloured robes, you may put away your precious mitres, you may lay aside your bespangled breast-plate, for Christ alone wears the robe, the mitre, and the breast-plate of the true High Priest before God, and he stands gloriously accepted through his unique sacrifice. From henceforth, let it be known, throughout the whole earth, that there is no other sacrificing priest except the living Christ, and there is no other sacrifice except the sacrifice which he has offered once and for all, and which still avails for all who trust in it. His precious blood — 

      Shall never lose its power,

   Till all the ransom’d Church of God

      Be saved to sin no more.

11. So I have shown you that, even on the cross, Christ was glorified; yet this declaration of his may also refer to what followed his death. It is indeed so closely linked and intertwined with his passion and crucifixion that it would be wrong to separate it from them; yet we must never forget that he who died, and was put into the grave, also rose again. It was his glory that, by his own almighty power, he arose, “the firstborn from the dead.” After forty days, he ascended to the Father, and angels welcomed him as he returned triumphantly to heaven. Our faith can almost hear the lingering notes of that wonderful song of his angelic escort, “Lift up your heads, oh you gates; and be lifted up, you everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in.” Glorious was his welcome by the spirits bought with blood who were already before the throne, and truly glorious was he as he sat down at the right hand of the Father. See the Son of Mary exalted to sit at the right hand of the Father. Man like ourselves, yet glorified in being made to reign there with his Father! He had always been there as God, but now he is there also as man, crowned with glory and honour, and made to have dominion over all the works of God’s hands. The very Man, who was once the babe in Bethlehem, and then the carpenter of Nazareth and afterwards the murdered One of Calvary, is now so highly exalted that, at his name which is above every name, every knee shall bow, “of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

12. It strikes me that our Lord also meant, by making this statement in connection with the visit of these Greeks to him, to teach us that, after his death, he would be glorified among all the nations of mankind; that, although, in his earthly ministry, he was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, yet, after his death, the gospel should be preached, in his name, to all nations, and out of all nations a people should be gathered who would praise his name for ever and ever. Even at the present time, it is great glory to Christ, who was nailed to the cross of Calvary, that his name is reverenced over a great part of the earth, even by nations whose ancestors were strangers to it; and that his name is the foundation of every true morning prayer and every holy evening song. “His name shall endure for ever”; and his gospel shall extend its saving and sanctifying power from realm to realm, until he comes again, “in his glory, and all the holy angels with him,” to glorify his saints with himself for ever and ever.

13. I have spoken at this length on what our Lord said concerning his death as the means of glorifying him, for I am anxious that we should not think lightly of what he thought so highly.

14. II. The few minutes that remain must be devoted to the second part of the text, which concerns THE NECESSITY AND RESULTS OF CHRIST’S DEATH.

15. Our Lord seems to say that it was absolutely necessary that he should die, that even his perfect life would have been of no use to us if he had not died. He says, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone”; so you see, brethren, that if Christ, after having come to this earth as he did, had not died, he would, so far as mankind is concerned, have had to remain in heaven alone. As God, the word “alone” would have had no reference to him, for the holy angels, as well as his Father and the ever-blessed Spirit would always have been near him; but if our Lord could have come here, and then have gone back to heaven without dying, it would not have been possible for any other man ever to have gone to heaven, and Christ would have been the only man in all that land of joy. It is dreadful even to think of such a thing as that; if that could have happened, where must all the saints of God and all mankind have gone? There is only one other region, — the land of darkness and of death, the land of pain, of horror, and of unutterable woe; and there we must all have gone if Christ had not died on the cross; — not only the thief on the left hand of Christ, but the thief on his right hand too; — not only Judas, but Peter, John, and all the apostles; — not only Demas, but Paul, and Silas, and all the early Christians; — not only Ahithophel, but David also; — not only the unrighteous, but the righteous too; — all! all! ALL, having sinned, would have been condemned to eternal wrath if Jesus had not died. Ah, but it was not possible for the Son of man, who was also the Son of God, to be alone in heaven! He could not be content to be there alone. He left his Father’s side in glory, in order that he might become the Son of man; and then, after he had once taken our human nature into union with his divine nature, he could not go back to heaven to live there in solitude, without another man to bear him company. We cannot conceive of the Firstborn without a brotherhood, the Head without a body, the Saviour with no saved ones to sing his praises, the Shepherd without sheep, the King without subjects. No, this could not be; and therefore it was absolutely necessary that Christ should die.

16. It was a most suggestive and suitable metaphor which Christ used, — that a grain of wheat must be put into the ground and die, or it cannot produce more grain. Our language, and all languages, when they speak of such lofty themes as life and death, become very much like a skein of silk that is all in a tangle; and we must never talk lightly concerning these supreme truths. I believe that half the disputes about that very important matter of eternal punishment — concerning which some think that the Scriptures favour the view of a limited period to the punishment, — arise because those who hold that view do not observe that there is a vast difference between mere existence and life, and an even greater difference between death and annihilation. If a grain of wheat were really to die, it would not produce any fruit. When the maltster has passed the grain through the various processes which end with kiln drying, it is really dead; and if you were to plant it, it would never produce grain. That is a very different kind of death from what takes place when the seed is cast into the ground; there it dies in quite another sense, that is to say, it rots, — the matter of the grain dissolves, and furnishes the first soil for the little minute germ of life to feed on; for the grain of wheat is not all life, there is a life-germ inside it. The grain of wheat must be broken up and be resolved into its primary elements, or else it cannot produce grain. {a} So, our Lord Jesus Christ had to die and to be buried in the grave, as the seed-grain is put into the ground, and there he had to be resolved, as it were, into his primary elements, — the soul to be for a while separated from the body, and the Deity from the humanity. Without this death, there could have been no fruit-bearing to spring out of him; but when he had passed through this experience of death, then there sprang up out of the dead Christ, — dead in that way, — abundant fruit. No one can tell you why it is that, if a single grain of wheat is put into the ground, it may produce a hundredfold. Why should it multiply itself so? That is a great mystery, but it is a solid fact; and it is a blessed mystery of faith that, since Jesus Christ died, all who put their trust in him are the “much fruit” springing up from his death. It is because he died on the tree that believers are to live with him for ever. I do not have time to go fully into that subject now; but you all know that if Christ had not died, we should all still be under the curse; if Jesus had not died, we must have been condemned at the judgment bar of God; if Jesus had not died, there would have been no way of approach for us to God. We could not, as believers, have had any existence at all, except through his death, but now, through the preaching of his death, and the hearing of the message by the ear of faith through the effective working of the Holy Spirit, we are made alive to God, and so become “fruit” to the praise of the Saviour who died on the cross of Calvary.

17. Beloved, if we want to have fruit in our ministry, if we want to see sinners converted, we must preach Christ’s death. Just as the blacksmith strikes the hot iron on the anvil, so we must keep the hammer of the gospel at work on this great foundational truth, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” It is no use talking to men on other topics in the hope that it will lead to their conversion. The great soul-quickening agency is “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Whoever will come and trust in the God-appointed Substitute for sinners shall be eternally saved, for life comes only through his death. The salvation of sinners is not usually accomplished even by preaching the great and glorious truth of Christ’s second Advent, nor by preaching about Christ’s millennial and eternal glory, but by incessantly pointing to Christ lifted up on the cross. There is the grain of wheat that, put into the ground, produces much grain; and we must stick with that theme beyond all others. You who try to talk to the unconverted, must do this if you wish to see them find real, lasting peace, and enter into true Christian liberty. You must say, with Charles Wesley, — 

   His only righteousness I show,

      His saving truth proclaim;

   ’Tis all my business here below

      To cry, “Behold the Lamb!”

18. I must close, brethren, with this reflection. You and I want to produce fruit for God; we want to save souls. Then we must do what Christ did, though in another sense; that is to say, we must fall into the ground and die. Did you ever see a minister, who was such a gentleman that he did not know his people, and never shook hands with them in his life, — one who was only anxious to show to them what a dignified individual an ordained minister is? Well, such a man as that is like a grain of wheat put into a golden shrine, to be admired. But, possibly, you know another man, — he may be a city missionary, — and he goes right down into the midst of the sin and misery of those whom he seeks to win for Christ, looking at everything from their point of view; and it is often a difficult task for him, yet he will do it. He lays aside everything in which he is their superior, speaks so that they can understand him, and brings the gospel right down to their level. That man will win souls for the Saviour, because he is not a grain of wheat laid on a marble shelf, but he is dropped into the ground; and the more that man will spend himself for his Master, — work himself to death, break up his constitution, kill himself, as it were, in his Master’s service, the more likely he is to produce “much fruit” for God. I do not believe you can do much good without having a great deal taken out of yourselves; and when men are so very particular and careful about themselves, and will only serve God if it does not cost them anything, I believe that no earthly good can come of that. The man whom God will greatly bless must be willing, in this sense, to fall into the ground and die.

19. In persecuting times, the Christian has often literally had to give himself up to die; but, instead of the cause of Christ being injured by his death, he has in that way produced the “much fruit.” There have been no other such fruitful preachers of the gospel as those who suffered at the stakes of Smithfield {b} or died on the rack. If you would be the means of saving others, you must make no reserve for yourself, but imitate your Master, of whom his enemies tauntingly but truly said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.” I ask you, brothers and sisters in Christ, to resolve, by God’s strength, that there is nothing you will not do, and nothing you will not give for him who loved you so well that he gave all he had to save you. Seek, by every means that you can use, to win souls for Christ. The man who must have conversions, or he will die, will have them. The woman who feels that she must bring her class to Christ, and will never rest until she does, will bring them to Christ. May the Lord help us so to preach Christ, and so to live for Christ, and, if necessary, so to die for Christ, that we may produce fruit for God, — “some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” Amen.

Publishers’ Note

A very considerable portion of this Sermon was revised by Mr. Spurgeon in readiness for publication. The topic — “Christ’s Death and Ours” — is particularly appropriate to the fifteenth anniversary of the beloved preacher’s last days on earth; but the subject of the next Sermon, which is to be published on January 31st, — the exact anniversary of the date of his home-going, — is even more suitable. The text is, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord”; and the title of the Sermon is to be, “Fifteen Years After!” to remind all readers that, although the preacher’s voice has not been heard in this world for the past fifteen years, yet, like the martyred Abel, “he being dead yet speaks”; and, as Dr. Newman Hall truly said, “since he yet speaks, he is not dead.” It is intended to insert in the Sermon — following the precedent of 1892, — a portrait of Mr. Spurgeon sitting in his study with the bound volumes of the New Park Street Pulpit and the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit just behind his head. There are now half as many again as there were when the photograph was taken.

It is also a somewhat remarkable fact that the Sermon to be issued next week was preached on Thursday evening, February 11, 1869, exactly twenty-three years, to the very day, before the funeral service at the Tabernacle, the long procession from Newington to Norwood, and the interment in the cemetery there in the presence of an enormous concourse of sympathizing spectators.

Regular readers of the Sermons will remember that similar coincidences were pointed out at the time of Mr. Spurgeon’s home-going, when, without any human prearrangement, the Sermons intended for reading on the four Sabbaths in February, 1892, were as follows: — 

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2242, “God’s Will About the Future” 2243}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2243, “His Own Funeral Sermon” 2244}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2244, “Members of Christ” 2245}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2245, “Living, Loving, Lasting Union” 2246}

 — the four discourses concerning the home-going of Deacon William Olney.

The publishers venture to suggest that Mr. Spurgeon’s memory cannot be better honoured than by still further increasing the circulation of his Sermons, which will continue to be published weekly for several years to come, and they will always be glad to quote special terms to all who are willing to aid them in this effort if they will write to Messrs. Passmore and Alabaster, Paternoster Buildings, London, E. C.

{a} In C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Vol. III., pages 194-6, there are further explanations of this subject, including the definition of death given by Mr. Spurgeon to Mr. Ruskin, who said, “That is the most extraordinary definition of death that I ever heard, but it is true.”
{b} Smithfield: The place where the fires that Queen Mary (1553-1558) ordered to be lit to put to death such Protestant leaders and men of influence as Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer and Hooper, but also hundreds of lesser men who refused to adopt the Catholic faith. See Explorer "http://www.britannia.com/history/narrefhist3.html"

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 12:12-36}

12-15. On the next day many people who were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went out to meet him, and cried, “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel who comes in the name of the Lord.” And Jesus, when he had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, “Do not fear, daughter of Zion, behold, your King comes, sitting on a donkey’s colt.”

Even in the little glory of a temporal kind, which was given to the Lord Jesus Christ when he was “here among men” as Mrs. Luke’s hymn puts it, his humility and meekness were very obvious, so fulfilling the prophecy recorded in Zechariah: “Rejoice greatly, oh daughter of Zion; shout, oh daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King comes to you; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the foal of a donkey.” {Zec 9:9} Oh, that all his people would always be of such a lowly spirit, not seeking great things for themselves, but condescending to men of low estate, remembering that it was their Master who said to his disciples, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.”

16. His disciples did not understand these things at first: but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written concerning him, and that they had done these things to him.

I wonder whether, when Christ comes back to earth, in the glory of his Father with the holy angels, we also shall understand a great many things which are complete mysteries to us now. Perhaps, it will be said of us then, “His disciples did not understand these things at first: but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written concerning him, and that they had done these things to him.” That first glory of his ascension to heaven shed a flood of light on the life of Christ, as doubtless the greater glory of his second advent will shed an even brighter light on our understanding of the things of Christ which quite surpass our comprehension now.

17-19. The people therefore who were with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bore record. For this reason the people also met him, for they heard that he had done this miracle. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “Do you not see that you are accomplishing nothing? Behold, the world is gone after him.”

No doubt many of his disciples thought so too, yet how mistaken were both the friends and the foes of Christ, for you remember, brothers and sisters, that Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem was followed, within less than a week, by a far different scene, when the same crowd that cried “Hosanna!” shouted “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” The world, that was supposed to have gone after him, nailed him to the cross; so short-lived is human popularity. So short-lived also is the admiration of Christ by carnal minds, for they do admire him after a fashion, they cannot help doing so. There have been written lives of Christ, which have been full of admiration of him, yet equally full of opposition to his Deity. We must not always regard it as an encouraging sign when men praise Christ; for very soon, if the root of the matter is not in them, and they do not accept him as their Lord and Master, they will change their tune, and instead of “Hosanna!” it will be “Away with him, crucify him!”

20, 21. And there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast: the same came therefore to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, “Sir, we would see Jesus.”

I do not know why these Greeks went to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, unless it was because he had a Greek name. Yet Andrew and Peter also had Greek names. If I went to Paris, and wanted to see the President, and knew that there was someone in the cabinet who had an English name, I should probably say, “Well, either he is an Englishman, or he comes from English parentage, so he may take an interest in me, and get me the introduction I want.” Perhaps that was the reason why these Greeks came to Philip. I cannot think of any other; but I know that, if you want to get to Christ, you will always find some way of doing it, and that the reason why so many people do not get to him, is because they do not want to do so. You may all come to Jesus Christ if you wish. But, alas! until his grace controls it, and changes it, your will inclines you to go even further away from Christ rather than to come to him.

22. Philip comes and tells Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.

Andrew and Philip appear to have been staunch friends and fellow labourers; and it is always good when Christian men can work for Christ with congenial companions. My poor perplexed brother, if you cannot get to Jesus Christ by yourself, it will be a good thing for you to say to some Philip, “Sir, I would see Jesus.” Perhaps Philip will tell his friend Andrew, and then Philip and Andrew will go together, and tell Jesus, and so you will get to him. It is a great help in prayer, when you are yourself unable to pray, to get someone, whom you know to be a Christian, and who has sympathy with you, to come and pray with you.

23, 24. And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified. Truly, truly, — 

“Amen, amen,” — 

24, 25. I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone: but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life shall lose it;

Or, as it should be rendered, “He who loves his life loses it.” That is not the true way to live; and in his selfish attempt to live for himself, he is losing his life.

25, 26. And he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to eternal life. If any man serves me, let him follow me;

The best service you can render to Christ is to imitate him. If you want to do what will please him, do as he did.

26. And where I am, there my servant shall also be:

You cannot expect better lodgings than that; so, as Christ had to live here amid sorrow, and sin, and shame, you must be willing to do the same; but, just as Christ was afterwards exalted to indescribable honour, so it shall be for you if you are his true servant.

26. If any man serves me, my Father will honour him.

For such is the Father’s love for his Son, that he delights to honour all those who become his Son’s faithful servants.

27. Now my soul is troubled; and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’: but for this reason I came to this hour.

There was a conflict in the Saviour’s heart, — the weakness of his true manhood striving with the strength of his infinite affection for his people, and also for his Father. We must never forget that he “was tempted in all points like we are, yet without sin.” If it had been no pain to him to die as the Substitute for sinners, there would have been no atoning sacrifice in his death; and if no dread had overtaken him at the thought of death, it would have proved that he did not die as we do; and, therefore, he would not have been able to take our place as he did.

Notice how the Saviour speaks of the struggle that was going on in his soul. “What shall I say?” Do you ever have to ask that question when you are trying to pray? If so, do not be astonished, for even your Lord and Master said the same. “What shall I say?” — as if he paused to consider what form his prayer should take, — “shall I say, ‘Father save me from this hour?’ No; but I will say, ‘For this reason I came to this hour.’”

28. Father, glorify your name.”

That is a grand answer to the Saviour’s question, “What shall I say?” And, when you do not know how to pray, you may always present that petition, “Father, glorify your name.” You have some dear one at home very ill; you would be glad if the precious life might be spared, yet you are not sure whether you may ask for it. Well then, say, “Father, glorify your name.” Possibly, you are passing through a great trial, and you would be glad to escape from it; yet you do not know whether it is the divine will that you should do so. Well then, you may, at any rate, raise this prayer, “‘Father, glorify your name.’ Whatever is most for your glory, let that be my will as it is your will.”

28 Then there came a voice from heaven, — 

An audible voice, for those who stood by could hear it: “There came a voice from heaven,” — 

28-30. Saying, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The people therefore, who stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, “An angel spoke to him.” Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of me, but for your sakes.

“You needed to be strengthened concerning the divine character and authority of my mission; you required to be comforted with the full assurance that I shall indeed be glorifying my Father even when I die on the cross of Calvary.”

31. Now is the judgment of this world:

This is a wonderful sentence, — as if, in Christ’s death, the world was judged, and condemned; and so it was; nothing ever so convicted the world of high treason against God as when men said of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s well-beloved Son, “This is the Heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.” The shedding of the blood of Christ on the cross is the crimson evidence of the deep transgression of human nature: “Now is the judgment of this world.” There is another rendering of this text, retaining the Greek word, “Now is the crisis of this world.” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2338, “The Crisis of this World.” 2339}

31. Now the prince of this world shall be cast out.

Thank God for that! His throne was shaken to its fall when Christ died on Calvary. All the powers of darkness suffered eternal defeat in the hour that men and demons imagined that they had gained the victory.

32, 33. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me.” He said this, indicating what death he should die.

Yet they did not understand it, even then, clear as it now appears to us that he spoke concerning his lifting up on the cross.

34-36. The people answered him, “We have heard out of the law that Christ remains for ever: and why do you say, ‘The Son of man must be lifted up?’ Who is this Son of man?” Then Jesus said to them, “Yet a little while the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness comes on you: for he who walks in darkness does not know where he goes. While you have light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light.” Jesus spoke these things, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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