It is with much love and care I send forth my greetings to you all. It is also with some sadness that I greet you, knowing how greatly I was desiring to see all of you face to face and heart to heart during our Gathering this coming November. Although we will still be having our Gathering, due to the rise in the virus and our desire to protect and care for one another, we will once again host the Gathering via Skype/Zoom. For those of you who attended the Gathering last year via Skype and Zoom, you know how wonderfully the Lord was in our midst, despite the limitations of not being able to gather physically. What a testimony of our oneness in Jesus, and His Life truly filling us at all times. Even now the Spirit is birthing and inspiring new ways to fill our time as we Gather and pour over Jesus together. There is another reason why I believe this year’s gathering is going to have a deep preciousness to it for the Lord’s sake, and that is in regards to the fiery trials many of us are going through. These purifying flames are preparing us for Him in the ways He needs and desires. Let us continue in prayer for one another that, in the midst of these challenging times and personal trials, we will not call it strange fire but allow it all to work together for the good of the Father’s heart… so that we can bring Him more of His firstborn Son in real ways and in sacrifice.
Beloved ones, my heart is with you. You are in my thoughts and prayers each day. I continue to pray and believe over each of you the verse the Lord gave me during Passover this year, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
Yours in Jesus,
Multiple Perceptions of Death
John chapter 12 is a 50-verse commentary on death in its many perceptions. In part one of this series, we looked at the first 25 verses of that chapter. Let us continue on our journey through the second half of John chapter 12, beholding the many different perceptions of death found therein, and the various responses to death.
A Firstborn Death or Misconstrued Passover?
If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor (glorifies).
Jesus is still speaking to the Greeks (verses 20-22), but also to anyone else who came to the Passover feast TO SAVE THEIR LIFE (pursuing Lazarus’s resurrection) instead of coming to become given firstborns. Jesus tells them that He is headed to the Cross and therefore to follow Him is to “be there” also. The Father honors, or glorifies, the given death of his Firstborn, but not the kind that seeks to escape death and therefore perverts the true purpose of Passover.
A Death that Denys the Soul
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.
The death that Jesus, the Son, is going into is not a death that gives you glory but glorifies the Father. It is hard to go against your self-preserving SOUL. But the kind of death that is fruitful must have higher goals than just obeying a soul that will always want to avoid death. Jesus does not resort to the Father with His superior power to give Him a way to escape death. Jesus has always had as His “cause” and that for which He has come to be what He calls “the hour”, the small time-frame in which His whole reason for even existing finally comes. This is it!!!
In His words here, Jesus is showing God’s approach to suffering. He first admits that He is going through soul problems. But then He delineates that there is something greater in Him that overrides those sufferings as preeminent. It is the purpose for which He has come, which, by reason of it also brings with it sufferings. He knows if He calls for deliverance from the sufferings that the “cause” will not be accomplished and the Father disappointed. In the next verse He gives His choice in the matter: that the Father would be glorified wins out over His own personal sufferings.
A Death that Glorifies the Father
Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. 29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
Again, glory and its true place and definition are revealed, not in avoiding death but in the Father being glorified through it. The Son came to glorify His Father through death, and is communing with His Father on that basis. In this verse we find one of the few times the Father actually intervenes, but He does so with a voice that is indiscernible. This is not because the Father is hiding, but because we have another language that is not comparable with Theirs (the Father and His Son’s).
A Death with a Language of Selflessness
Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
Though the Father’s voice was indiscernible, it was still meant for us. The Father does not need to use human words to speak to His Son. They have the language of selflessness and it communicates loud and clear. There is a relationship between the Son and His Father that pertains to a death of selfless giving that we have not yet entered into.
Judgment and Defeat through a Death of Selflessness
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.
Verse 31 speaks of the judgment of the world and defeat of the devil. Verse 32 declares how that will be brought about. It will not come about by that which seeks to escape death, but by that which embraces it unselfishly for God and others. Here we find the first two commandments being fulfilled, “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind…love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39).
Those Who Will Live in Accord with this Unselfish Death
The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?
Part of the point of this verse is to confirm that when verse 31 speaks of the judgment of the world and the devil being cast down, it happened at the cross. However, this is not a one-time event without practical outworking in our daily walk. There will be those who will live in accord with this unselfish death and, in so doing, have overcome the world and defeated the devil.
The Light of His Reaction to Death
Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. 36a While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.
Verses 35-36 are talking about a light that overcomes darkness. Jesus has not changed the subject. The light He speaks of is the light He has shined to them concerning the contrast of their reaction to death and His reaction to death.
Hiding Himself from Their Wrong Perception of Death
These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
He has been describing the “Jesus” He wants them to know as the “corn of wheat Jesus” so that others might become the same kind of Seed. Therefore, when He finished declaring that view of Himself, He goes and hides the one that they perceive Him to be - which is the “Lazarus-raising Jesus” who comes to the feast of Passover to deliver them all from death.
His Kind of Death Revealed
But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:
The Greek word translated as “miracles” is the same word that it is more commonly translated as “signs”. Though it may not be obvious to us that the word “signs” is His references to the cross and death, yet the verse that follows immediately afterward definitely proves this translation.
That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
So here in verse 38 is the proof! It is a direct quote from Isaiah 53, which has to do with the kind of death Jesus would pass through. THIS Jesus is designated as the arm of the Lord, a description for that which shows forth God’s strength; in this case, strength in weakness. Multitudes of Christians hold to the Jesus who died on the cross, but He has yet to be revealed to them as the One whose greatest desire in that death was not merely to save us from bondage and hell but to have us follow this Seed into His kind of death.
Blindness Because of Misconception of Death
Therefore, they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again, 40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
John continues his quote of Isaiah 53:1, “Who hath believed our report and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed” with Isaiah 6:10, “He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart…” as he explains that their misconception of His death is their reason for their blindness.
These things said Isaiah, when he saw his glory, and spoke of him.
And then Jesus continues to tie Isaiah chapter 6 with Isaiah 53 in Isaiah’s greatest explanation of Christ crucified. When Isaiah saw the Lord in Isaiah chapter 6, it was the slaughtered Lamb of Isaiah 53 that He saw. The glory that Isaiah beheld when he saw the Lord (chapter 6) came from a Lamb who gave Himself in death for the Father and others (chapter 53). Isaiah saw the One that everyone else was missing. Isaiah beheld that the unveiled One was a crucified Lamb who went into death and did not avoid it.
Disappointments Because of Misperception of Death
Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
This chapter is full of disappointments for Jesus in His people. The Jews want to avoid death, and will only honor Him on a basis other than His nature of sacrifice. The Pharisees and chief priests seek only to destroy Him without perceiving that He is the Passover Lamb being offered. The Greeks want to see a man that has a gift of raising the dead and escaping death. And His own disciples do not know Him as a corn of wheat, Lamb-Son who came to be offered.
Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on Him that sent me. 45 And he that seeth me seeth Him that sent me.
Here the disappointments become so great concerning what the people believe about Him that He literally cries out.
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
Here He stays on the theme of believing while resuming His point on being the Light from verses 35-36a. He is crying out for them to receive the light that He has shined to them concerning the contrast of their reaction to death and His reaction to death.
A Death for Their Lack of Light
And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
Jesus’ theme is still on believing in Who He is as a corn of wheat/ Lamb. But at this time Jesus is not speaking to them as their judge over whether they believe Him or not. He has not come presently as judge but to die for their sin of lack of light concerning Him and their perceptions of Him in death. The Word of Truth that He has been speaking is meant to give light now, and how they receive those words will eventually be their judge.
A Death Out from Oneness with the Father
For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.”
The emphasis is now on His relationship with the Father. He is telling them that He is not personally upset with them for rejecting His words because they are not His words but the Father’s. He has not been standing up for Himself. The commandment spoken of here is above the Ten Commandments because it is the Father’s, and pertains to oneness and Their way of living (eternal life).
From Randy's notes:
The Living And The Dead —
“And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.”
Notice he lit incense that put out a sweet savor. It was for God. Notice also the effect on both the dead and the living.
This... story... is for us... today!
I Corinthians 2:15-17
“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”