Judgment and Exile: John 12:20-36

Focus Passage: John 12:20-36 (NIrV)

20 There were some Greeks among the people who went up to worship during the feast. 21 They came to ask Philip for a favor. Philip was from Bethsaida in Galilee. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew. Then Andrew and Philip told Jesus.

23 Jesus replied, “The time has come for the Son of Man to receive glory. 24 What I’m about to tell you is true. Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only one seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it. But anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it and have eternal life. 26 Anyone who serves me must follow me. And where I am, my servant will also be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

27 “My soul is troubled. What should I say? ‘Father, keep me from having to go through with this’? No. This is the very reason I have come to this point in my life. 28 Father, bring glory to your name!”

Then a voice came from heaven. It said, “I have brought glory to my name. I will bring glory to it again.” 29 The crowd there heard the voice. Some said it was thunder. Others said an angel had spoken to Jesus.

30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now it is time for the world to be judged. Now the prince of this world will be thrown out. 32 And I am going to be lifted up from the earth. When I am, I will bring all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show them how he was going to die.

34 The crowd spoke up. “The Law tells us that the Messiah will remain forever,” they said. “So how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”

35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light. Do this before darkness catches up with you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 While you have the light, believe in it. Then you can become children of light.” When Jesus had finished speaking, he left and hid from them.

Read John 12:20-36 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

In today’s journal entry, we are going to tackle an odd pair of statements that Jesus made and see if we can uncover something within them. Within our passage, Jesus shares the following, “Now it is time for the world to be judged. Now the prince of this world will be thrown out.” (v. 31)

Both statements in this verse are related, while at the same time each is very distinct. Jesus shared that now is (maybe was?) the time for the world to be judged. What is He talking about? It has been nearly 2,000 years later, and we are still here. Does this mean that God is still judging the world, or was there something different happening at that point in history?

On the flip side, we read that the prince of this world (identified as Satan), will be thrown out. Thrown out of where? Like the previous statement, it has been 2,000 years later, and from the looking at our world today, people are still being tempted and sin seems to be alive and well – perhaps even increasing dramatically compared with other points in history.

However, this brings us to the one key idea that I see shared in these two statements, which we will unpack in this journal entry: Jesus’ death on the cross is a foretaste of the final judgment, and it sealed Satan’s fate, throwing him out of Heaven forever.

Looking at the first statement, there are two ways that Jesus’ life could have gone. Both ways lead to death, but one had people understanding and glorifying the salvation Jesus’ death meant, while the other had people rejecting the gift and celebrating the fact Jesus had been killed. This statement comes a day or two after Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, and the crowds had celebrated His arrival. It was clear to the religious leaders that they wanted Jesus dead, but the crowd had not made their decision. The death Jesus suffered was a foretaste of the final judgment, and it was pre-judging the world based on how humanity responded to the Savior.

Looking at the second statement, as well as some passages in the Old Testament, we can concluded that a Satan’s original fall from heaven, he was kicked out of his position, and his rebellion was banished to earth. However, from the story of Job, we can conclude that Satan still had some provisional access to heaven, since he challenges God of Job’s allegiance (Job 1:6-12). It would seem as though Satan had the opportunity to repent prior to Jesus’ sacrifice, though Jesus’ death became the ultimate judgment for Satan, banishing him from heaven, and sealing his fate in the final judgment.

The death Jesus suffered was the death of judgment, the death we deserved, and in that moment, as Jesus took His final breath, all humanity’s sin was taken with Jesus to His grave – giving us the freedom to choose to accept Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, allowing us to take part in His future.

Thank You Jesus!

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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