THE REASON CHRIST GIVES FOR HIS DEATH

27 “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. 31 Now justice is to brought upon the world order; now shall the ruler of this world  be expelled [John12:27-31]

It is perhaps remarkable that according to the accounts we have in the Gospels Jesus spoke little about the purpose of His death. The aspect with which Christians tend to be most familiar, the forgiveness of sins is (interestingly in view of my recent post) exclusively referred to by Jesus in the context of the Eucharist: “This is My body; this is My blood pertaining to the New Covenant, shed for the remission of sins (Mt26:28). He has given His body for the life of the world and so that individuals who sacramentally eat His flesh and drink His blood have Life of an eternal quality and will obtain the first resurrection (Jn6:54).

However, the Lord’s most direct reference to the purpose of His death is referred to in our featured passage (v31) – to bring justice to the world by giving its satanic prince the order of the boot. Many Bible versions translate κρίσις as judgement rather than justice which is not wrong in itself, but it needs to be distinguished from what the same writer (John) wrote in 3:17, namely that God did not send His Son into the world to judge (in the sense of condemn) the world but that the world as a whole might be saved.

But did Christ’s Passion achieve the specified end, or is the ruler of the world order as much in charge of affairs as he ever was? The answer to the latter is surely that he is – both from observing world events and the testimony of the New Testament writers. Paul refers to him somewhat cryptically as the “ruler of the authority of the air” (Eph2:2) whilst Peter affirms that same spirit to be prowling around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1Pet5:8). So Satan has not yet been excluded but thanks to the Passion his eventual banishment is assured.

The Old Testament writers  expected the age to follow their age would see Satan’s demise when the Messiah ruled with the Jewish people, understood and referred to even by Jesus as the children of the Kingdom (Mt8:12). The reason that didn’t happen is hinted at in that verse from Matthew but made clearer (for some) by the Apostle Paul in his reference to:

“The mystery which has been hidden from the earlier age but has now been revealed to His saints, to whom God willed to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col1:26-27)

He expands on this in his letter to the Ephesian churches:

 I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you;that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promises in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light the fellowship pertaining to the secret (plan) which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things. (Eph3:1-10)

This was the mystery hidden in God the Father (cf. Acts1:7) that was the subject of my first book “The Fellowship of the Secret” (taken from verse 10). It is the reason why the current age has not panned out as prophesied in the Old Testament (Romans 11 vv11,12,15 &30 sets it out more simply if Paul were only taken at his word). Apart from the wondrous providential implications that I outline in that book, this dispensational realignment is why the prince of this world still has the influence that he does, even though Christ’s Passion has assured his eventual defeat, which I hope and believe will be very soon.