The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” John 12:34
The last days of Jesus’ life were causing quite a stir. A great crowd was following him crying out “Hosanna!” The chief priests continued their plot to kill Jesus as well as the newly resurrected Lazarus. The frustrated Pharisees could see how the whole world was going after Jesus. Even some visiting Greeks had asked to see him.
But what were the expectations of the crowd? As usual, Jesus continues to speak concerning the purpose of his ministry, and it is slow to sink in.
When Jesus explained to the crowd that “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified’ (v. 23) and “the Son of Man must be lifted up” (v. 34), the crowd responded in disbelief. According to the OT Scriptures, this is not what was written. Daniel 7:14, Isaiah 9:7, and other prophecies tell of a “son of man” who will be given authority and power and an everlasting kingdom. Rome would be gone forever! This Jesus is speaking in a way that is out-of-line with the king who is to takeover and destroy Rome. The crowds were expecting a descendant of David who was bringing peace and victory to the nation of Israel.
The crowd needed ears to hear the words of Jesus to Nicodemus, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” (John 3:14-15) Eyes of faith were needed by the disciples and the crowd to see how death could usher in an everlasting kingdom of freedom. Their expectations had to surrender to the Prince of Peace.
Do we have preconceived notions of Jesus? Are we willing to open up to the vast scope of Jesus?
As disciples, I pray that we are always reading Scripture to gain a true, biblical understanding of Jesus. I pray that the Spirit guides us in truth to experience Jesus in a greater way than we have ever expected.
Prayer: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20) Jesus, as your body of believers, we open the door to fellowship with you and to learn from you. Thank you for your steadfast love and enduring presence. Amen.