John 12:20-33 Sermon – Following Jesus / Series Intro

In this sermon Tim introduces us to our first sermon series in 2023, The Farewell Discourse Series – messages from John 12-17! Tim helps us understand who John is and the book itself leading up to chapter 12, before diving into chapter 12 vs 20-33 and what it means to follow Jesus! We can’t wait for this series so make sure you stay tuned each week!

Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday February 5, 2023.

05/02/23 – John 12:20-33 Following Jesus & Intro – by Tim Giovanelli – The Farewell Discourse Series Manly Life Church Podcast

In this sermon Tim introduces us to our first sermon series in 2023, The Farewell Discourse Series – messages from John 12-17! Tim helps us understand who John is and the book itself leading up to chapter 12, before diving into chapter 12 vs 20-33 and what it means to follow Jesus! We can't wait for this series so make sure you stay tuned each week! SERMON NOTES: Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday February 5, 2023. Find out more here: Find us on Facebook here:
  1. 05/02/23 – John 12:20-33 Following Jesus & Intro – by Tim Giovanelli – The Farewell Discourse Series
  2. 29/01/23 – The Glory of Christ – Greg Beech
  3. 22/01/23 – Luke 15:1-8 God's Heart for the Lost – by Lani Daniel
  4. 15/01/23 – 1 John 4:11 Friendship In Church by Tim Giovanelli
  5. 08/01/23 – Philipians 3:17-4:4 Stand Firm in 2023 – by Peter Brooks


Great to see everyone!

  • Wow, what a sermon that was last week by Greg…
  • I’d hate to be the guy who is following that!
  • Well welcome, welcome, my name is Tim, it is great to see you here today!
  • Great wedding…

Read John 12:20-33

20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine.31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

Well it is February… last month of summer, first month of school being back…

  • And it finally feels like we are launching the year here at Manly Life.
  • And of course there is lots of excitement over all of the things kicking off again either this past week or in the coming ones…
  • Life Groups, Friday youth, midweek playtime, Alpha, worship nights!
  • So let me encourage you to get involved. 

Attempt to do 3 things today… 

  1. Introduce this very exciting series
  2. Look at this first passage that I have just read.
  3. I want to briefly share some of the vision for the next year here at Manly Life…

So let’s introduce this series!

I have this funny way of getting obsessed with books of the bible thinking it is the best thing I have ever read…

  • Series in Ephesians… 
  • Isaiah…
  • Last year in the sermon on the mount…
  • Well now I have been living in John’s gospel for the past few months in preparation…
  • And particular chapters 12-17 is an INCREDIBLE section of scripture giving us the closest insight into Jesus’ relationship with his disciples
  • And the revelation of who Jesus is… and who he wants us to be.

Well firstly it’s worth reminding ourselves a bit about John’s gospel…

  • It is regarded as the last of the 4 gospels to be written, of which we have surviving fragments of manuscripts from as early as 120 AD. Amazing. 
  • It is ascribed by some of the early church Fathers to be authored by John, one of Jesus close disciples. 
  • And his authorship also includes the letters bearing his name in the NT and the Book of Revelation. 

And I, and many scholars think John is written as a supplement to the synoptic gospels, with John giving us a more theologically structured account of Jesus life

  • So for instance, in John there are seven miracles, which he calls signs.
  • And in John there are seven “I am” statements where Jesus equates himself with God.
  • And seven of course is the number for completion and perfection in Jewish thought.

In other words, the author has had some time to think about Jesus, and he presents a selected account of Jesus life to persuade people.

  • Right? John 21:31 the author says “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
  • That is the purpose of this gospel. That as we behold Jesus…
  • That we will be convicted or convinced that he is the Son of God… we will believe!
  • And the result will be, as we become disciples, that we receive life in his name.
  • Both eternal life and abundant life, so life forever, and fully in the here and now.

So John is different to the synoptics in some ways and similar in others.

  • So many of the same major events are there… Jesus baptism, feeding thousands, miracles of healing, and of course his death and resurrection…
  • But it is different too. 
  • It’s like an insiders perspective of some of the most profound teachings of Jesus of Nazareth that only his inner crew could have recorded. 
  • Hence the discourse we are going to study together where it is just Jesus talking with his closest disciples. 

So the book is structured a little differently to Matthew, Mark and Luke… 

  • The first 11 chapters are often referred to as the Book of Signs… and as I said there are seven including Jesus turning water into wine, feeding the 5,000, healing a blind man and of course, raising his friend Lazarus from the dead. 
  • And then the final 10 chapters is often referred to as the Book of Glory, including this  section we are going to do a series in…
  • And that’s followed by the events of Jesus death and resurrection. 
  • And in this section Jesus pulls his disciples in close to prepare them for life without him so the his mission of bringing eternal life and demonstrating the love of God may continue.
  • Which of course we know does… all that he says, comes to pass!

So this section we are going to study is sometimes called the upper room discourse… or the farewell address… 

  • Contains some of the most memorable actions and teachings of Jesus. 
  • And we are going to spend time in chapters 12-17 looking at these over the next few months. 
  • Jesus washing his disciples feet and calling them to do like wise, serve one another.
  • Jesus proclaiming he is the way, truth and the life…
  • Jesus teaching on him being the Vine and we the branches… Jesus as the only true source of life in this world, and the disciples being the branches that bring this life into the world. 
  • That’s you and me… no pressure!
  • And of course we will learn, there is not… we just have to stay connected to him!

There is much about love, glory, the gift of the Holy Spirit and unity…

  • And possibly my favourite theme, that we see all through the gospel of John, where Jesus identifies himself with God… 
  • An example; John 14:7 “if you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
  • I mean that is remarkable… 
  • The guessing is over… if we meet Jesus, we meet God. That can only be good news. 
  • Amen?

So why study it? Why should we be excited to dig into this most remarkable of sections of scripture?

  • Well Jesus is in the business of forming a people who will reflect his glory into the world. 
  • So in this farewell discourse, Jesus wants to prepare us for life without his physical presence… but the promise is he won’t leave us as orphans in this world. 
  • So if Jesus is about to die and rise and ascend to heaven, this is what he wants discipleship to look like…
  • Living and serving and loving the way of the Master.

I love how many carpenters there are at this church… and not just because its really handy when I need something fixed!

  • But any good carpenter will have done their apprenticeship with a Master Builder.
  • And it is obvious in the first week, that they are not above their boss… they are there to learn and grow as they watch and develop their skills. 
  • You know it’s funny, I’m 3rd generation pay someone else to do it…
  • So any home reno’s I have done, I always encourage people not to look too closely at my handiwork. 
  • If you want to build a deck, first watch someone build a deck, then help them build a deck, then have a go at building a deck.
  • That is discipleship!

And that is what Jesus does in his farewell address. He gets his disciples thinking about how to continue his work and ministry without him.

  • Right? So for instance he washes of his disciples feet
  • Then he says to them… “Now that I your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet.”
  • verse 15 “I have set you an example, that you should do as I have done.. 

So this is discipleship… we are going to learn from the way, the truth and the life of our Master… so that we can do as Jesus has done!

  • And that is going to be all through this series…
  • John 13:34 “love one another as I have loved you…”
  • If you learn from a good carpenter, and then one day build to the same quality of the Master builder who taught you… 
  • You’d be considered a great representative and in time a great builder yourself…
  • So in John 12-17, Jesus is going to teach us and demonstrate to us what being a disciple looks like. 

So let’s have a look at the start of this section of John’s Gospel.

So in chapter 11 Jesus does what I think is his most remarkable miracle… he raises his dead friend Lazarus back to life.

  • It gives us a taste for his own coming resurrection… 
  • So at the start of John 12, Jesus enters into Jerusalem and is hailed as their King. 
  • Imagine being there… Jesus enters the city…. And is met by adoring crowds… 
  • Verse 13 they wave palm branches and yell “Hosanna” and “blessed is the King of Israel.”
  • But there is a show down coming … while the crowds at this stage are on his side due to the miracles and hope that the long awaited saviour has come…
  • The religious leaders are plotting in the background to have him executed as a blasphemer and trouble maker. 

So with the events of the Passion… that is Jesus betrayal, trial, death and resurrection a mere matter of days away…

  • Jesus begins to teach his disciples all that they will need to know to understand why he has come into the world… 
  • Verse 23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
  • Verse 27-28 Jesus says; “it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.”
  • Verse 31 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

So there is sudden urgency in Jesus teaching… the hour has come!

  • Now much of John’s gospel focuses on the idea of Jesus revealing his Father, that is God, to the world. 
  • So twice before, during his ministry, and after he does a great sign… Jesus says “my time has not yet come.”
  • In John 2 around the turning of the water into wine Jesus says “My hour has not yet come.”
  • Then in John 7 having fed the 5,000 and walked on water, he still says (verse 8) “my time has not yet fully come.”
  • But now as he enters Jerusalem and the events of the passion are about to unfold… he announces “the hour has come.”

So he says the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified

  • Now this is so important to understanding Jesus. 
  • Glorified is this Greek word doxa which is a translation of the Old Testament Hebrew word kabod. And it refers to a visible and powerful manifestation of God.
  • So the hour has come for the Son of Man (Jesus) to visibly and powerfully manifest who God is. 
  • Glory is about revealing the essence of who someone is. 
  • So the hour has come for Jesus to be glorified… it is time for God’s glory, his essence to be revealed through his son.
  • Are you with me?

You know it is interesting that in John 1 when Jesus is called the Word made flesh dwelling amongst us. It says we have beheld his glory. His doxa. His essence. 

  • And then a few verses later Moses gets a mention. 
  • And I think that is because in Exodus 33:18 Moses expressed this most passionately to God when he prays; “Show me your glory.”
  • Right? Moses prayer is that God will reveal his essence (show me yourself), pull back the curtain and show me who and what you are?
  • And it says the goodness of God passed in front of him.
  • In Jesus we are being told, the hour has come for God’s goodness, his essence, his presence and glory to be revealed. 

OK, now here is where it gets really good… Are you ready? It’s time for the price of admission!

  • So if we are told in John’s gospel that Jesus glory was displayed in his signs… right, his miracles…
  • But the time has now come for his supreme glorification to be revealed… right his essence, the fullest manifestation of God’s character…
  • Not in taking over Jerusalem by force, or wiping out his enemies… no.
  • His glory will be displayed with his willing acceptance of a shameful death with sinners, and for sinners, on a cross on the hill of calvary.

So Jesus uses a little parable…

  • John 12:24 “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
  • His coming death he pronounces will lead to an outbreak of life!
  • Jesus is the one seed that must fall to the ground and die so that many will be reconciled to God and come to life!
  • The paradox of the true glory of God, the true essence of who Jesus is revealing the Father to be is to be seen in the lowly act of his death on a cross. 

As we sing that old hymn How Marvelous… 

  • I stand amazed in the presence, Of Jesus the Nazarene, And wonder how He could love me, A sinner condemned, unclean
  • He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them his very own, He bore the burden to Calvary, He suffered and died alone.
  • How marvelous, how wonderful, And my song shall ever be, How marvelous, how wonderful, Is my Saviour’s love for me. 

And finally in this passage, what is the result of all of this?

  • (verse 32) “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
  • Jesus here is referring to the way he would die, being lifted up on a cross…
  • And is not this the truest statement…
  • This message of a crucified saviour who puts aside his glory of being God and humbles himself to the point of death so that we may have eternal life
  • It doesn’t die out in that day or city or region…
  • He has indeed been like a seed, dying, falling to the ground, that has produced many seeds…
  • A life given that has given life to so many.
  • It is a message that has swept up billions of people into the great family of God!

Now of course that doesn’t mean “all people” in a universalist kind of way.

  • We know, don’t we, that just like in Jesus life, so today, many reject Jesus and his message, many even mocking the Christian faith.
  • But it is “all people” in the sense of men and women, Jews, Greeks, Australians, Chinese, Brazilians, Kenyans, the wealthy and the poor, a great, great multitude will behold the glory of Jesus and believe. 
  • The hour has come… for the Son of man to be glorified. 

So finally today, what does all this mean for us this year?

Well I noticed this week a number of churches are kicking off the year this Sunday with what they call their Vision Sunday…

  • Setting out their great plans and ministries and hopes… great stuff. 
  • How is this for a vision Manly Life? Die. Die…
  • Oh my gosh… Jesus could you not have given us a vision that was a bit easier to sell…
  • Yes its into an abundance of life and indeed eternal life… but the path to this is to Die. 
  • Not literally… but in following the way of Jesus, we too would involve ourselves in self giving, sacrificial acts of love and service.

The great German theologian and thorn in the flesh of the Nazi’s and Hitler Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously said “when Christ calls a man, he calls him to come and die.”

  • What were Jesus words again “whoever serves me must follow me.”
  • To come after Jesus is to follow his way.   
  • And that is the way of laying down our lives… in order to produce life.
  • It is dying to the self and old selfish ways… and learning to bring life by laying down our own lives…

One of the things that I get excited about this year is this growing potential for us to launch a campus of Manly Life up at Frenchs Forest. 

  • You know that would involve a sense of loss for all of us… we might not see some people as often as we used to… and it will involve sacrificial service and giving.
  • But just as Jesus as a seed died and that then sprouted and reproduced itself many times over. 
  • That’s what we are all called to do… 

And there is a spiritual law at work when we do this. 

  • We give away… we die a little bit, but then it begins to multiply, and grow… and produce more seeds…
  • And those seeds produced in turn die to themselves… and lo and behold that then sprouts and reproduces and grows…
  • And can anyone guess what happens then to those seeds? 
  • Well if they too choose to follow Jesus and die and serve… then that will in turn sprout and reproduce and grow life!
  • There is a cost, but the is the possibility of a great abundance of new life!

What would be needed from followers of Jesus for this to happen at Manly Life and Forest Life?

  • What would need to happen for our church family to have 3 or 4 services running by the end of this year?
  • And people coming to a life giving relationship with Jesus!
  • Let me suggest 3 things.
  1. Be committed to helping others behold Jesus

Alpha and a culture of invitation

  • Be committed to doing life together as we grow as disciples…

Life Groups and bible study

  • Be committed to serving and giving and acts of dying to yourself.

Karen Grey “I can do that…”

Huge need for Primary kids helpers… next generation…

Everyone giving generously… 

Verse 23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 

Published by timgiovanelli

My wife Victoria and I are planting a new church in Manly, NSW

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: