Hello friend, and welcome to Hope for Today. The program you’re listening to is produced by Heralds of Hope. We’re an international Gospel media ministry. Each week our Bible teaching broadcasts circle the globe in English and 22 other major languages. Tens of thousands tune in each week for spiritual nourishment and blessing.
If you’ve been listening regularly, you know that we are currently studying in the Gospel of John. So, here’s Pastor J. Mark to lead us in our continuing study.
Because we live in this world of people our lives are influenced by others. By that, I mean changed or directed. In some areas those changes come in ways we do not understand, and at times we do not even know we are being affected. Later we learn how a friend helped us be a better person. It may take months for us to understand what happened or how it happened.
It may also be that someone we have never known or met may influence our lives by the way other people have been changed by knowing that person. Every week by radio I can talk to my friends in many lands. Hopefully, our time together helps them become better people.
Above what we can do to help each other there is One who can influence all of us as we come to know Him. We can say He has influenced more people than anyone else.
Do you say, “No, I have not been affected by him in any way?” But, my friend, Jesus has influenced your life. He has influenced your community. He has influenced your family, more than you are aware of. I can show you how this happened from John 12:20-33.
20. And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:
21. The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
22. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again, Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.
23. And Jesus answered them, saying, the hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
24. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
25. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
26. If any man serves me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serves me, him will my Father honor.
27. 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.
28. 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 spoke to him.
30. Jesus answered and said, this voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
31. 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.
In this Scripture, I find those PARTICULARS which should lead us to see Jesus as the One for All.
The first Particular: The Sincere Desire.
This was expressed by some Greeks who had come to worship. They had come from a distant land to Jerusalem. Their wish was to see Jesus. How had they learned about Him? Of course, people everywhere were talking about Him. There was continual conversation about this man who moved among them as a teacher, as a miracle worker, and as the King of Israel.
These men from Greece came to Philip and made a request of him, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” Philip and Andrew brought these Greeks to Jesus. There was a sincere desire.
That is very important right now in your life. Wouldn’t you like to see Jesus? Wouldn’t you like to know Him? These Greeks had a sincere desire to see Jesus and the disciples brought them to Him.
The second Particular: The Serious Decision.
As they came to Jesus, He began a brief lecture. He said a grain of wheat, in order to bear more grain, must fall into the ground and die. As long as it does not fall into the ground and die it simply abides alone.
The secret of multiplication of a grain of wheat is for it to die so the plant can come up and bear fruit. Jesus said that is the way it is in your life and mine. The person who wants to save his life loses it. The person who would lose his life shall save it. In other words, a person must be somewhat like that grain of wheat. A person must give up to gain.
He said, “If any man serves me, he must follow me.” He further said, “If you follow me then you’ll be with me where I am, and you’ll have the honor of the Father.” That is a serious decision. When you look around you may see all kinds of attractive conditions. As long as you want to hang on to your life you will abide alone, you will be without fruit. Once you are willing to give up, then you can gain.
It makes a great deal of difference which way you go. The serious decision has to do with following Jesus.
There is a third Particular which I have called, The Specific Designation.
Jesus prayed and asked the Father to save Him from that hour. He knew He had perfect understanding as to the purpose of His coming and what it was all going to mean. So after He had prayed, He then said, “But for this cause came I unto this hour.”
I see what Jesus is telling these Greeks and these disciples. He is going to be like the grain of wheat, fall into the ground, give up to gain. And there is no other way. This is the specific designation.
Jesus went on to say then, “When I am lifted up I will draw all men unto me.” From this statement, I gather a very significant point. Jesus is affirming that He is the only One. He is the One for all. His death is the only way. That is very specific. And Jesus points this out to us.
The cross is more than a way to die. Hundreds of people died on crosses during the Roman period. His was the only cross of specific designation. He said, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me.”
That cross was more than a place to die, I reflect. It was a means to life. For as a grain of wheat fell into the ground it died to bear fruit. That designation which Jesus made still holds today. It’s the same today as when He spoke it.
From this account then, we must conclude, Jesus is the One for all. No one else will do. I come to you and emphasize and urge you, do what the Greeks did: ask to see Jesus. Then do what Jesus said: decide to follow Him. Then accept what Jesus affirmed: the lifted-up way.
How do you accept it? You accept it by believing that when He died on the cross, He died for you. He said, “When I am lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.
Have you been drawn to Jesus? Are you curious to know more about Him? If you are, then the Holy Bible is the place to find answers. The Bible records the earthly life and ministry of Jesus, just like we saw in this text today. It shows us who He is and how He responds to those who want to know more about Him.
In this Easter season, we commemorate the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And even though Jesus is no longer physically present on earth, His Holy Spirit is here to continue His work. In fact, just shortly before His death, He told His followers how important it was that He should return to His heavenly Father.
In John 16, Jesus said; “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”
So, the Holy Spirit is referred to as the Helper or the Comforter. And He is here to help you understand that Jesus is the one for all. As you read the Holy Bible, God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will open the eyes of your understanding so that what you read will make sense. But you must have a heart that genuinely wants to know the truth.
Let me pray for you now. Gracious God, Creator and sustainer of the world and everything in it. We bow before you in awe and worship. We confess that it is alone through Jesus, your Son, that we have access into your presence. His death, burial, and resurrection has made full provision for our salvation and eternal life.
I pray for my friend who is listening, that he or she will have a desire to know you. And not only the desire, but the reality of knowing you personally. May your Holy Spirit draw them to yourself today, I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Now, I urge you to tune in next week as Pastor J. Mark continues our study from John’s Gospel. You won’t want to miss it. And until then, keep looking to Jesus, He’s our hope for today and for every day!
This series by Dr. J. Otis Yoder has been re-recorded by J. Mark Horst.