2 Samuel 1:17-2:11; John 12:20-36; Psalms 118:19-26; Proverbs 25:6-8
NT: “Jesus replied to them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces much fruit. The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me. Where I am, there my servant also will be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. Now my soul is troubled. What should I say — Father, save me from this hour? But that is why I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus responded, “This voice came, not for me, but for you. Now is the judgment of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be cast out. As for me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to myself.”” (John 12:23-32 CSB)
Not only were there Jewish pilgrims in Jerusalem for Passover, there were also gentile believers… God fearers, if you will. A group of Greek believers heard that Jesus was in town and they came to Phillip to request a meeting with Jesus. Phillip then went to Andrew, who went to Jesus. This is Jesus’ response to the Greek believers through Andrew and Phillip. Jesus was about to die so that the world may have life. His life was going to be the seed that would bring forth the fruit of abundant and eternal life for those who would follow and serve Him. Notice the conditionality in Jesus’ reply. Though Jesus would die for the entire world, only those who follow Him and serve Him would receive the benefit of His death. Though Jesus was troubled over the inevitable events that would soon take place – He didn’t ask to be removed from that destiny… for the entire reason He came to earth was to die for our sakes… and to glorify the Father. His death would defeat the ruler of this world who is also the enemy of our soul, and His death would open up the opportunity for us to life with His life. By being lifted up as a “spectacle” for the world to see, He would actually be making a spectacle of the enemy… and all types of people would be drawn to Him. We love Him (it says in 1 John) because He first loved us and gave His life for us… and if we continue to lift Him up He will continue to draw people to Himself. I believe that is a primary call on people who lead worship: to lift up Jesus that He may draw all kinds of people to Himself.
Psalms: “Open the gates of righteousness for me; I will enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. This is the Lord’s gate; the righteous will enter through it. I will give thanks to you because you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This came from the Lord; it is wondrous in our sight. This is the day the Lord has made; let’s rejoice and be glad in it. Lord, save us! Lord, please grant us success! He who comes in the name of the Lord is blessed. From the house of the Lord we bless you.” (Psalms 118:19-26 CSB)
This is the Psalm that the Passover pilgrims were shouting the day Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. They were passionate about the salvation part of this psalm, but overlooked the rejection part. Everyone was expecting a victorious Messiah… not a Messiah that would be rejected by the religious authorities of the day – but that was exactly what was happening when Jesus entered the “Lord’s gate of righteousness.” The religious authorities (the builders) of that day rejected Jesus as a worthless, troublesome stone that was not worthy to be a part of the building of the Jewish faith. However, God the Father was setting Jesus to be the very cornerstone of a new covenant and the foundation and framer of a perfected faith. The day of rejection was actually a day of rejoicing, planned and made by the Lord, as Jesus Christ became our salvation. For those who follow Christ, serve Christ, and are found in Christ – every day is a joyous day of salvation.