Sun, Feb 03, 2002


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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
JOHN 12:27-28

            Please turn in your Bibles this morning to John chapter 12 as we examine why we run away from things that come across our path.  As you are turning there, listen to this story that will show you where we will be going this morning.

            In 1808, just a year before the death of Franz Joseph Haydn, a grand performance of his outstanding oratorio The Creation took place in Vienna.  The composer himself was there for the occasion. Old and feeble, he was brought into the grand hall in a wheelchair.  His presence caused an electrifying enthusiasm in the audience. As the orchestra and chorus burst forth with full power into the passage, “And there was light,” a crescendo of applause broke out.

            Moved by this response, the elderly musician struggled to his feet.  Summoning all his strength, he raised his trembling arms upward, crying, “No, no!  Not for me, but from thence – from heaven above comes all!”  Although he fell back exhausted in his chair and had to be carried from the hall, the old master had made his point in a dramatic and unforgettable manner.

                                                                                                            - Our Daily Bread  

            In our study this morning, the cross of Calvary is only four days away for Jesus. He just rode into Jerusalem as Messiah the Prince, a fulfillment to the exact day of what Daniel said.  And the people responded by singing the Messianic Psalms, cheering for the Messiah to save them, not from their sins, but from the Roman bondage they were in and to set up His kingdom.  Thus, when things did not go the way they wanted, instead of crying outHosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel.”  (John 12:13) they will be crying in just a few days, “Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!”

            From there Jesus speaks of a grain of wheat, how it must fall to the ground and die before it will produce fruit and He relates that to His life and what is going to happen to Him. From there Jesus speaks of His death on the Cross and that is where we will pick-up our study this morning in John chapter 12, beginning in verse 27 and let’s see what the Lord has for us.

JOHN 12:27-28

            Here we see the humanity of Jesus or His human side.  Yes, He is fully God but He was also fully man and thus He had to deal with the same emotions we have, He struggled with the same things we struggle with. And here His soul is troubled or stirred up, agitated over the cross and all it would entail.  The word save here speaks of a deliverance from danger or a deliverance from suffering, that is what He desires at this point.

            Crucifixion was a brutal death sentence. Not only were these criminals scourged, trying to elicit a confession by them, and this was so brutal many died at the scourging post. But also, they were paraded around the streets of Jerusalem for all to see their shame as they carried their cross-beam to Golgotha or Calvary.

            There they would have nails driven through their wrists and feet, nailing them to this cross and as they were lifted up, many times naked or with just a loin cloth on, they would have to push up with their feet just to breathe.  Keep in mind that their backs, which were nothing more than raw flesh from the scourging, would have to rub against the wooden cross, not only causing pain, but it would begin to bleed again.

            Death would occur by suffocation as the person could no longer push themselves up to breathe and this process could last several days unless the Roman soldiers intervened and broke their legs so they could no longer push up to breathe, but that did not happen too often. I think you can see the physical pain that Jesus was going to endure for us and from His human side, why He said Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? 

            There was another side that I think weighed even more heavily upon the heart of Jesus and that was the spiritual side you might say.  In Matthew 27:45-46, as Jesus hung on the cross, we read Now from the sixth hour until the Ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.  And about the Ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ 

            You see, as the sins of the world were cast upon Jesus the Father could not look down upon Jesus, fellowship was broken; there was darkness over the face of the earth for 3 hours! In Habakkuk 1:13a we are told of the Lord, You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness. . .”  The idea here is to look upon in favor, to accept, and God could not do that nor does He ever do that.  He did not do it with Jesus and He will not look upon us in favor as we live in sin.

            Thus, as the sins of the world were cast upon Jesus, you can understand why He cried out asking Him why He has forsaken Him, the pain of that separation. It was something that was never experienced in eternity past nor will it ever be experienced again for Christ paid in full the debt for our sins, He tasted death but was raised in glory!  But again, those words here in John chapter 12, Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’?  Do you see the battle that was going on inside of Him? So what did He do?

            Notice what He says, But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your Name. He was a man focused on His mission, and even though there would be the physical pain, there would be that spiritual pain of separation from the Father for a time; He realized why He was born, what His mission was all about, and who would get the glory from His obedience, the Father!  And what was the Father’s response to the obedience of His Son? In John 12:28 we are told, Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.’” 

            There are many things that trouble our soul, we just don’t understand them, they seem so unfair and many times we run or get angry with God about them. A few weeks ago my wife and I rented the Mel Gibson movie called “Signs,” and it was about extra-terrestrials, UFO’s and all that transpired with this invasion. That was the central theme of the movie and yet, there was a story of this man’s faith and how it was shattered when his wife died, leaving him to raise his two children.  It was such a blow to him that he left the ministry, he was a pastor, and now he denied his faith.  At one point in the movie, when things even got worse for him, if you could even imagine, he yell’s out to God, “I hate You!”

            Have you ever been there? Be honest!  You see, things are not going the way we want and we are angry with God for it!  What is the problem?  We have lost the correct perspective. You see, instead of glorifying God it is all about us and we want to be taken out of the situation, but how do you know if you were not born for such a time like this, that for this purpose you are brought to this point?

            Maybe you don’t feel that way.  Maybe you feel like standing up and shouting out, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.  Nobody knows the sorrow!”  I disagree.  You see, God does and before you were even created in the womb, He knew what your life would be like, the things He has for you. Let me show you what I mean, that these are not just empty words, but they are things that happen in our lives for a reason, for a purpose, if we would only see them through the eyes of God, with the backdrop of eternity in mind, knowing that God’s love towards us is rich and it is deep! 

            Paul put it this way in Ephesians 3:16-21, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height -- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.   

            Now, in the book of Genesis we see this played out as we read of the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob.  Joseph was a good son and God spoke to him, told him that he was going to be used by Him mightily and yet, as a teenager, he was sold into slavery by his brothers who were jealous of him. They sold him to Midianite and Ishmaelite slave traders who in turn sold him to Potiphar, a captain of the Egyptian guard!  His brothers then told their father that Joseph must have been killed by wild animals as his tunic or multi-colored robe was covered in blood and ripped apart!  Talk about unfair!  Talk about wanting out of a situation, but there was Joseph, not understanding why, but trusting in the Lord.

            Now God blessed Joseph mightily, so much so that Potiphar put him in charge of his entire household, he was in charge of everything!  Potiphar’s wife was evil, and she tried to seduce this teenager to sleep with her. But Joseph refused her advances and one day, when the house was empty of servants, she grabbed Joseph and said Lie with me. But Joseph refused, he ran away, leaving his garment in her hand. When she saw that her plan failed, she called her servants back into the house and told them that Joseph tried to rape her.  Then when her husband came home, she told him the same thing! 

            Now Potiphar could have had Joseph put to death, but he didn’t. Why? Because I think he knew his wife and her sexual exploits but he had to do something, so he has Joseph put into prison. Again, totally unfair!  He did nothing wrong, in fact he did what was right and now he is in prison.  His heart must have been troubled but he also trusted in the Lord!

            Once again Joseph found favor in the sight of the prison guard; God did this, and just blessed Joseph so much that the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge.  During his prison time there was a plot to kill Pharaoh and he placed in prison his butler and his baker, not knowing which one was guilty. While these guys were in prison they each had a dream and they didn’t know what their dream meant.

            Joseph caught wind of this and interpreted the butler’s dream and he told him that in 3 days he will be restored to his position.  And Joseph told the butler that when he is restored that he would remember him before Pharaoh so he may be released, because he did nothing wrong to be sitting here in prison. 

            When the baker heard this, he wanted to know what his dream meant, and Joseph said, “Are you sure?”  No, Joseph didn’t say that, but he told the baker that in 3 days he will be hung on a tree and the birds of the air will eat his flesh!  And that is exactly what happened, it was exactly what took place as the baker was put to death and the butler was restored but he forgot what Joseph did.  For 2 full years he didn’t remember Joseph!  How unfair!  But again Joseph trusted in the Lord!

            After those 2 full years Pharaoh had a dream and the butler remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh and he summoned Joseph to come to him and explain the dream to him.  And Joseph did exactly that.  He told Pharaoh that there will be seven good years of harvest and then seven horrible years and you need to prepare for those bad years. And in verse 38 of Genesis 41 we are told, And Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?’  Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you.  You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.’  And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’  Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph's hand; and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.  And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, ‘Bow the knee!’  So he set him over all the land of Egypt.  Pharaoh also said to Joseph, ‘I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.’  And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnath-Paaneah. And he gave him as a wife Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On. So Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.  Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.”  Genesis 41:38-46.  In God’s time look at what He did! But it doesn’t end here, that is not all that God was doing as we shall see.  But think of all the times that Joseph could have given up, become angry at God, run away, but He didn’t and what God had promised, He brought to pass!

            As those seven good years of harvest ended, the famine began and it was not only in Egypt, but throughout the land, even in the land of Canaan where Jacob and his son’s dwelt. Things got so bad for Jacob and his family that he sends his sons, except for Benjamin, to Egypt to get food and bring it back to them. And through a series of events, Joseph, second in command over all of Egypt, the one his brothers sold into slavery some 22 years earlier, was the one they needed to talk to so they could get this grain. At first they did not recognize their brother Joseph, but he recognized them, and over time he finally told them that he was their brother Joseph.

            Now Joseph could have been angry with his brothers for all he went through.  He could have had them put to death, he was that powerful now.  Think about what you would do if your family, if your friends did something like that to you! Being Italian, I know what I would want to do. Get their shoe sizes and take them to the beach for a little swim in some cement shoes!  Aren’t you glad I am saved!  But listen carefully to what he says in Genesis 45:4-8,And Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Please come near to me.’  So they came near. Then he said: ‘I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.  But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.  For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.  And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.  So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.’ 

            Again in Genesis 50:19-20 we read, Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?  But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.’ 

            You see, Joseph trusted in the     Lord, he didn’t run, become angry, even though he was treated unfairly to say the least!  He realized that there was a bigger picture than just him being comfortable, being treated fairly, there was the plan of God, that even though his brothers meant these things for evil, God was going to use it for good, to save a people from death!  Thus, who got the glory through all of this?  Not Joseph, but God who used the situations that Joseph was placed in for good!

            As you are going through difficult times you will also have conflicting emotions to deal with. We need to; we must embrace His will desiring that He would be glorified in spite of those conflicting emotions, like Joseph did.  Yes, our souls may be troubled, we may want to be saved from this situation, delivered from this time, but maybe for this purpose you were born that God may use you for His glory!

            Many of you have read John Bunyan’s book, Pilgrim’s Progress. If you haven’t, I encourage you to do so; it is a great book with many lessons of faith for us to learn. In his book there is one memorable scene where Christian, finding the pathway difficult, climbed over the stile or steps used to climb over a wall, to walk in a meadowy bypath.  It looked better, it looked easier, and no signs of trouble like the path he was on.

            But eventually the ground grew soggy and it was covered with poisonous vines.  The sky became black, and Christian spent the night huddled at the foot of an oak tree, caught in a downpour.  

            The next morning, Giant Despair came upon him, captured him, beat him up, and imprisoned him in the dungeon of Doubting Castle with its grim battlements and thick, black walls. When Christian tried to sing, he couldn’t!  His mood was dungeon-dark!

            Giant Despair beat him mercilessly, and he grew weaker each day. At length he found in his cell a rope, a knife, and a bottle, the tools of suicide, and for a moment he was tempted to end his misery.

            But one evening about midnight he began to pray, and . . .

            . . . A little before day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out into this passionate speech: What a fool am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty!  I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will, I am sure, open any lock in Doubting Castle.

             You know what? It did!  Using the key of God’s promises, Christian escaped, never again to fall into the clutches of Giant Despair or Doubting Castle.  What about you?  Are you entrapped in a Giant Despair or a Doubting Castle? If you are you need to give it to God, you need to pray, you need to trust in Him and His promises and no matter what comes your way, no matter how difficult it may be, no matter how unfair it seems, walk by faith and not by sight for who knows if this is the purpose you were born and what God will do with the situation you are in for His glory!  Stay steady on course!

            You see, what you are going through, like Joseph, may save lives.  Maybe not physical lives but spiritual lives as they are drawn to Jesus by the things you are going through and as they turn to the Lord, God gets the glory!

            Listen carefully to what Paul said in Romans 15:1-7, We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.  For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.’ For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.  Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. 

            Do you see what Paul is saying here?  These things that are written in the Bible are for us to learn from, to grow, so that as we go through similar things, we can take comfort in the Scriptures.  We can learn, we can grow, we can see the things that they did that were wrong and deadly, and we can see the things they did that were right and they were blessed and apply them to our lives.

            But it does not end there. You see, we can also build others up, comfort them, and encourage them, just as Christ has done with us as we went through similar times.  It is putting on the mind of Christ, being directed by Him in all that we do so we stay steady on course and not deviate to the left or the right.

            What is the mind of Christ?  Simply put, “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.  Father, glorify Your name.”  John 12:27-28a.  You see, not to run but to receive all that God has for us.  Not to be angry, but to abide in Him.  Who knows what God is going to do through this!

            Instead of singing, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.  Nobody knows the sorrow!” you should be singing out, “God knows the trouble I am in, He knows my sorrow, and I will trust in Him, walk in Him as He leads me no matter where that may be!”  It may not be a big hit, but it will bless your life if you follow that.

            As you do, the Father says to each of us as He said to His Son, Jesus Christ, Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.’  John 12:28b.  And so, submit to His will, understand the purpose of suffering, see it in the light of the eternal and give Him the glory through it all for He does have a plan and a purpose for each of our lives if we would only see it through the eyes of faith instead of the eyes of the flesh! 

            Let me leave you with these words from Solomon in Proverbs 3:5-8, where he tells us,Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.  It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.  To know Him is to trust Him, for He knows what is best for your life and we don’t. In fact, many times we would not go down those paths that God has for us, but He leads us so that we may grow and we may glorify God through it all!  There may be other paths that look better, but they are not, it is the place you will find Giant Despair and Doubting Castle, for you are out of God’s will.  God’s Path may not be easy, but in the end, it is what is best for us!  And who knows if this is the reason you were born, for such a time like this!

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