When Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team is ministering in Word and Song, their Fire Choir will sing several songs and then lead the Congregation in singing. Since that isn't possible on-line, please click here and may you be blessed by the song, "The Old Rugged Cross."


What Jesus’ Death Meant to Him
John 14:28–31

Good Morning, from the Voices of Hope Evangelistic Team, to all who are reading this message, I welcome each of you gathering today by way of the internet. Once again, it’s a blessing to be able to share from God’s Word as we can proclaim it all over the world. 

The title of my message is “What Jesus’ Death Meant to Him” and the scripture this week is found in John 14:28-31, if you wish to turn there you can follow along. This message is a continuation of the past four weeks. 

This will be the final portion of this chapter, these verses deal with what His death means to Him, not to us on this side of the cross, not to the disciples on that side of the cross, but to Him, what Jesus’ death meant to Him. 

As we look at the cross from this side we know what Jesus’ death meant to us. We joy in His death. His death is the key that unlocked all hope for us. His death provided forgiveness for sins, access to God, the righteousness of Christ became ours, God’s judgment was staid and we became the object of His love and children of Him. It’s a beautiful thing and a glorious thing to us. 

But looking at it from the other side, think about these eleven disciples. They were looking at this cross from the prophecy side of it. Even though they were only a matter of hours away, it still hadn’t happened. It still was not something they could comprehend. These disciples were listening to Jesus who had said, “A corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die or it abideth alone.” They had heard him say, “If the Son of Man be lifted up, He will draw all men unto Himself.” They had heard Him say, “If you destroy this temple, in three days I’ll raise it again.” He had repeatedly talked about His dying. So they were looking at the cross from only the side of the words of Jesus and from absolutely no historical fact at all. Their whole faith was a believing that Christ was telling them the truth about the future because they had no history to verify it. The best they had to hinge their faith on were the miracles and the words of Jesus that He had done in His ministry. They had not the great dynamic events of Calvary and the resurrection and the ascension, they were still future. 

All they knew was that their lives and their dreams and their hopes and their ambitions and their desires and everything they had, even their own physical bodies, had been placed into the service of Jesus Christ and repeatedly now He was beginning to talk about dying and they didn’t like the sound of it. They wondered about their own security and their own hope and whether or not they had perhaps been wrong all this time. And so with this kind of attitude in their minds, Jesus has spent from verse 1 through verse 27 giving them promises to comfort them. He has given them the richest legacy in existence. He comforted their troubled hearts with promises that are beyond imagination, promises that are super-human, supernatural, divine promises. He gave them all these promises and right in the middle of it all, He had told them, “I’ll be back and we’ll be together forever.” 

So Jesus says to them, “It’s better that I go, don’t fear, don’t be in despair, don’t be in sorrow, it’s going to be better for you now and soon I’ll be back to take you where I am and you’ll remain with Me forever.” 

But faithlessness was still there to some degree; they were still showing evidence of being troubled. After 27 verses full of promises, what do you see at the end of verse 27? “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” They were still in the same bag they were in verse 1 of chapter 14. The verbs there, the idea of stop being troubled, stop being afraid. They were continuing to be afraid even after all these promises. 

Their problem is their faith was weak; but more than that they were sad because they were selfish. They loved Jesus’ presence and they didn’t want any substitute for that. They wanted Him around because He took care of them, He supplied their need, He fulfilled their love. He gave them everything they needed and they wanted to hold on to that. So they are looking at Christ’s leaving purely from their own perspective. Don’t go because we won’t like it. 

I see this same kind of reaction today. A Christian father dies and the children are heart broken and naturally so, and weeping and crying and oftentimes you hear Christians saying, “Why, God? Why did You take our father?” Then you see this kind of attitude continues and you wonder whether or not they understood what was happening to their father, they sould also understand that all their sorrow is purely selfish because what dad’s experiencing is absolutely total joy. He is fulfilled in the way that God designed him to be fulfilled in absolute perfection in the presence of God. The moping around and the crying that continues on a protracted basis here is purely selfish for we should joy in what he’s experiencing. 

So the disciples are kind of moping around brooding, stewing over their own dilemma as to how Christ’s death is going affect them, selfishly showing their own despair, all based on their own little needs, and their own little problems and their own little desires and little thought for how Christ’s death is going to affect Him. So Jesus hits the issue right at its heart. He says, “Men, your lack of love is showing.” It was a love based on need, not on the best welfare of the one they loved. That’s the essence of the purest kind of love. 

Look at verse 28, He says, “You have heard how I said unto you I go away and come unto you. If ye loved Me ye would rejoice. If you love Me you would be rejoicing because of what this death is going to mean to Me.” Have they even thought in their selfish preoccupation of what His death means to Him? When a Christian dies, sorrow is normal for a while. Tears are healthy. But when a person continues to cry in despair and continues to question God, he’s guilty of a superficial love and serious selfishness. If we really loved that person as we say we do, we would rejoice because they’re with God. True love always wants what’s best for the object of its love. And if death is the best thing, and for a Christian, and it is the best thing, then it is satisfied with death. And that’s what Jesus asks the eleven disciples to do here. He’s saying, in effect, if you can’t get joy because of what this means to you, will you please look at it from what it means to Me? 

What did it mean to Jesus? Four things that His death meant to Him that should cause those eleven men to rejoice. First of all, His person will be glorified. Verse 28, the second part, “If ye loved Me ye would rejoice.” Why? “Because I said I go unto the Father for My Father is greater than I.” He says ye you ought to rejoice in My death because it means I will finally be glorified. He was leaving the world. He was going to the Father. He had finished the work God gave Him to do. He was now going to go and receive the reward of the good pleasure of God. And He was to be eternally exalted. 

Over in John 17:4, Jesus said to the Father in this prayer in the garden, “I have glorified Thee on the earth. I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” He wanted to be restored to that pristine glory that He knew prior to His humiliation. He says, verse 6, “I have manifested Thy name unto the men whom Thou gavest to Me out of the world. Thine they were and Thou gavest them to Me and they have kept Thy Word. Now they have known that all things whatever Thou hast given Me are of Thee, for I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me, they have received them and have surely known that I came out from Thee and they have believed that Thou didst send Me. I pray for them. I pray not for the world but for them whom Thou hast given Me, for they are Thine and all Mine are Thine and Thine are Mine and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world but these are in the world and I come to Thee, holy Father.” 

In other words, Jesus says I’m going back to the full expression of My glory that I knew before I came here. Jesus is saying, “Men, if you only know what this means to Me, it means I’m going to be restored to full glory again.” “Men, can’t you joy with Me because I’m going to My Father and all this humiliation and hatred and abuse will be over and I’ll be back in the place of glory where I was from all eternity.” I’m going to be back in the closeness of intimate fellowship with Him. All the attributes that I’ve set aside I can pick up again. All that has been restricted in My humiliation will be fully expressed in My glory. I’m going back to that glory again.” 

Notice at the end of verse 28 He says, “For My Father is greater than I.” That verse has been the cry of Unitarians and Jehovah’s Witnesses and who knows, that proves that Christ is inferior to God. It doesn’t prove anything of the kind. In the very same chapter, verse 7 says, “If you would have known Me, you would have known the Father.” And then Philip says, “Show us the Father,” and He says, “Take a look, you’re staring in His face.” Jesus repeatedly claimed equality with God. Over and over again He said, “I am God in human flesh. I am God come to this earth.” And now you come to a verse like this and some people go completely bananas at this point and say, “Oh-oh, that shows that He’s not equal to God.” 

That statement, “My Father is greater than I,” is a present statement that Jesus made indicating that in Jesus’ role as a humble servant, at that point the Father was greater than He for the Father was in glory and He was humiliated in the earth. But it was only a present statement which soon would be changed, that’s the whole point. He’s saying, “Rejoice because now in My situation as obedient to the Father, He is exercising authority over Me in the terms of position, He’s in glory, I’m humiliated, in that sense He’s greater than Me. But … He says I’m going to My Father.” In other words, “I’m going to end that and it’s going to be equality again in the full expression of all My glory.” He longed to be glorified with the Father whom He now served. 

“If you only understand, men, I’m going to My Father and this role in the flesh is going to be over and I’m going to be able to be what I ought to be, what I rightfully can be.” Look at the cross from My standpoint. You see, they loved Jesus but they loved Him not with the clarity and understanding of a deep true love, a love that would have given them joy for Him, no matter what was going to happen to them. They should have been able to see in the cross the exaltation of Jesus Christ. But they didn’t. They were too preoccupied with their own problems. 

So Jesus Christ seeing the glory that awaits Him in heaven with the Father and the restoration of all that He knew as fully expressing Himself as God before His humiliation, as He sees that in anticipation, there’s joy in the cross for Him. He’d come all the way down, all the way to a stinking stable, all the way to a life where He had no place to lay His head, suffering the hatred and abuse and the jeers and slurs of evil men, rejected by His own people, forsaken and mocked by the leaders, He was despised and rejected. 

In other words, He had joy in His heart because He knew that the result of the cross would be His glorification and He could go and be with the Father at His right hand. 

If that’s not enough, He says to the disciples, secondly, “You should have joy in My death because My truth is documented.” Jesus had made many claims to the disciples. He had said many things about who He was to them. And they were really having a little difficult time believing it all. I think they did believe it in a sense, but very easily doubt would creep in and kind of rattle them a little bit. They had their doubts. They believed He was Messiah. They believed He was the Son of God, the balance of belief. But they had unbelief. “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief,” that kind of thing. And they had a difficult time fighting off the doubts about who He really was. So Jesus had devised a way in which to nail down and secure their faith and that was to predict events and then wait till they all came to pass and when they all came to pass the disciples would say, “Oh yeah, that’s right, that’s what He said.” One after the other of these events came to pass and every one of them was like a big stake that was just driven into their faith and just rooted them in the ground. And by the time the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, those eleven guys and the addition of Mathias, twelve, exploded all over the world. Why? Because Christ predicted things that would happen and one by one they came to pass and everyone of them was like a spike nailing it solidly to a foundation. 

Notice that in verse 29, “And now I have told you before it come to pass that when it is come to pass ye might do believe.” In other words, “Men, I’ve been telling you all these details, I realize you haven’t got a grip on all of them now, but when these things start happening, you will believe.” 

Fulfilled prophecies are a little difficult to argue with when you see it happen. Prophecy is a devastating verification of the words of God and Jesus said, “I’m going to die,” Jesus said, “I’m going to rise again.” Jesus repeatedly told them all these details and when they started happening one by one by one by one, their faith became secure. 

Now He says to them, “I have told you before it came to pass that when it is comes to pass you might believe.” Believe what? Verse, 13:19, He says the same thing. Notice at the end of verse 19, “That you may believe that I am … period.” What did He want them to believe? “That I am.” That I am whom? God, that’s God’s name. I am. He says I want you to believe that I am, that is that I’m God. I want you to believe in My messiahship and my deity, so I’ve given you these prophecies and when they come to pass one by one from the traitor-ship of Judas to the coming of the Spirit of God on Pentecost and everything in between your faith will be solid. You’ll believe. And so the prophecies and the promises would nail down their faith. 

He told them He was going to send a helper. Can’t you imagine what their reaction was on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon them? They all said the Helper came just like He said. And that was the last in a long-line of fulfilled prophecies and promises. He told them, “I’ll give you peace.” Can’t you imagine when that peace flooded their hearts again on the day of Pentecost they said, “He said He’d give us peace His peace.” And later on when Peter and John were out there preaching, instead of being cowards they told them to shut up and Peter and John said, “You tell us whether we ought to obey you or God?” You have to have peace to act like that. And one by one the prophecies came to pass and with every one of them another stake was driven into their minds and their hearts and they trusted all the more.

You see, the prophecies that Jesus Christ gave were given to document His truth that He was God. Only God can foretell the future. Jesus told them things they couldn’t understand that when they came to pass their faith would be strong. That meant the sooner He got out of there, the sooner their faith would be strengthened. 

Verse 30, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you.” The talk has gone far enough, men, now I want to get out of here so all these things can start happening and really nail down your faith. He said He would die lifted up on a cross and He did. He said He would rise and He did. He said He would ascend to the Father and He did. He said the Spirit would come and He did. He said that I will supply life and they got it. He promised them a supernatural union and they experienced it. He promised them a teacher living in them and they received it. He promised them peace and they knew it. And right on down the line, every detail came to pass. And their faith was as solid as a rock. And every prophecy and every promise was fulfilled to the very letter. His words were thus documented and His faith and their faith cemented. 

So, rather than stay around and talk some more, He wants it to happen. He knows the message must go forth when He leaves. He knows these men are holding in their hands the truth of God and if they blow it, it’s blown. They must carry the message. And the only way they’re going to carry it is if they’re strong and they’re going to have to fire right into the full blast of Satan’s fire. They’re going to have to go right at it, head strong, right straight into the teeth of the gale and carry the message and in order to do that, they’re going to have to have faith that is as solid as a rock. And the only way you’ll ever have that faith is to see these events that were foretold and promised come to pass one by one, nailing down their faith. 

So, Jesus says at the beginning of verse 30, no more talk, fellows, action, for action alone is going to settle your confident trust in Me. He’s saying, “Men, if you really loved Me and you really wanted the world to hear My gospel, then you’d rejoice because I’m leaving because when I leave you’ll be made strong and then My gospel will go out. Quit looking at yourself, men, and look at it from My standpoint. When I go, the truth is going to be documented in your lives, you’re going to move out with the gospel all the faster to the world. The longer I stay, the longer it’s postponed.” 

They should be rejoicing then because His person will be dignified and His truth will be documented. It will make them strong and they’ll carry the message to the world. And they did it. The third thing that made Him rejoice in His cross, His foe will be defeated. This we’ll just briefly look at it. When Jesus came to earth it was to redeem men back to God. Man had fallen in Adam and fallen out of fellowship with God, out of communion with God, out of the life of God, moved away from the knowledge of God. He was separated from God. So Christ came to bring back fallen man to God. Now in order to do that, He had to enter into direct conflict with Satan and He had to defeat Satan totally to bring man to God. And that is what He talks about in verse 30; He says, “For the prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in Me.” 

The prince of this world, who is that? That’s Satan. This is Satan’s domain. He says, “Satan is coming.” He could sense Satan coming to take Him. He was saying, in essence, I’m going right now into the death battle conflict with the devil. 

Now Christ had battled Satan all through His humiliation. Satan tried to kill Him from the start to the end. You remember when He was a baby, what did Satan do? He had Herod make a decree to kill all the children, the male children. The Bible doesn’t tell us about what happened through His life, but you can believe that Satan never let up for the thirty years that we don’t know anything. And then when Christ began His ministry, Satan immediately took Him up into the wilderness right after His baptism, took Him up on those high mountains in that bleak country and tempted Him and tried to shoot Him down at that point, and tried to get Him to bow down to him and failed. And then through His life of ministry, those three years, he tried everything he could do; he continually confronted Him with hate, with people who tried to kill Him. He confronted Him with demons who tried to stop His work, demons which Jesus had to constantly cast out. He confronted Him with blinded men who couldn’t see the truth. And Paul tells us the god of this world has blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel should shine unto them. He blinded men; he threw demons in the way of Jesus. He threw men in His way who tried to kill Him. He tried everything he could do to stop Jesus and Jesus had been in a lifelong conflict with the devil from the day He got here until this day, the night before His death. And finally in His death that conflict would be resolved. 

That has been going on since the fall of Lucifer eons of time before, since Lucifer was booted out of heaven, you can read about it in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, since he was booted out of heaven he had been in conflict with God throughout the ages of eternity and time. And now all of those ages and ages and eternity of time had come to this one moment when Christ would enter into the absolute final conflict with the devil that would decide the ultimate victory. He was tired of fighting Satan. He was tired of the struggle against evil. He was sick of hassling with the demons. He was ready to act. He was always looking for the victory over Satan. Back in 12:31, Jesus looking forward to His cross said “Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” And verse 33 says, “This He said signifying what death He should die.” 

In 16 and verse 11 He said, “Of judgment because the prince of this world is judged.” As He went to the cross He was thinking of the cross as the final blow to wipe Satan out in terms of his power. Satan was to be defeated. And I believe Jesus could sense Satan’s moving in for the kill. And I’ll never forget the words in Luke 22 when Jesus was in the garden and the soldiers finally arrived, Luke 22, listen to this, 52 says this, “Then Jesus said unto the chief priests and captains of the temple and the elders who were come to Him, ‘Are you come out as against a thief with swords and clubs?’ ” Is that how you come after Me? “When I was daily with you in the temple you stretched forth no hands against Me. But this is your hour and the power of darkness.” 

He says this is the hour for My judgment on you and on the power of darkness. Who is the power of darkness? Satan. He looked at the cross in the light of conflict with Satan. Satan as Genesis 3 said, had bruised His heel and now He was about to bruise Satan’s head. Hebrews 2:14, “For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood He, Christ, also Himself likewise took part of the same, became flesh and blood, a man.” Why? “That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil.” 

He looked at death as the destruction of the devil. In 1 John 3 and verse 8, “He that committeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning, for this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus looked at His cross as a conflict with Satan. And He defeated him at the cross. 

You say, “He’s still running around.” Yeah, but he’s stunned, he’s lost his power and he’s going to come to an end, Revelation tells us. Ultimately in 20:10 he’ll be cast into the Lake of Fire, the final sentencing. He’s already been wiped out in our life, he has no power unless you give it to him. He’s been rendered helpless. The final blow was fired. 

So Jesus says to His disciples, “Can you look at the cross from My side for a minute? I’m tired of battling Satan. I’m tired of being beaten and buffeted by him. I’m tired of this endless conflict. I’m sick of that cursed cursing rebel. And when I go to that cross I’m going to enter into conflict with Satan and I’m going to destroy him. And that should be cause for joy. Do you see the cross from My standpoint? 

You’re sorrowing and moping around because I’m leaving. Listen, I’m going in there to defeat that enemy that for eons and eons has troubled us.” Can’t you imagine He was excited to realize that all the moves of Satan to get Him were only to set up His final destructive blow at Satan? 

Then what it says at the end of that verse. It says, “The prince of this world cometh,” and is ki, let’s translate it “but.” “The prince of this world cometh but hath nothing in Me.” It means, Satan had nothing on Christ for which to condemn Him. He’s coming to get Me but he hasn’t got anything on Me. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.” Did Christ sin? No, could He sin? No. He didn’t and He couldn’t. Satan had nothing on Him, no vulnerable spot, no weakness, no place where Satan could make accusation at all. Christ could not sin. Satan had nothing against Him. 

Hebrews 4:15, “For we have not a high priest who cannot be touched with our feelings of infirmity, but was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin.” He was absolute total sinless. Verse 26 of Hebrews 7, “For such a high priest was fitting, holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, higher than the heavens.” He could not sin. He did not sin. And Satan had nothing on Him. He had no right to kill Him. So Satan enters into a conflict and he has really no vulnerable spot on Christ and Satan in this conflict will be destroyed. 

Can’t you see how this would be in the mind of Christ? And so He says you disciples should rejoice not only because Christ will be glorified, because His truth will be documented, but because His foe will finally be defeated. And even though the foe has nothing on Jesus, He’s going to go into the conflict. That brings us to the last point. 

Fourthly, He says we should rejoice because His love will be demonstrated. The end of verse 30 says, “Satan has nothing on Me.” If Satan had nothing for which to kill Christ, if He had done nothing to deserve death, then why doesn’t Jesus stop Satan from slaying Him? The answer is He wants to demonstrate His love, verse 31, “But … why are You dying, Jesus? That the world may know that I love the Father.” You might think that it would say that I love the people and I’m dying for them. No, no. In this He is portraying Himself in the role of servant obedient to God. So He says I’m doing it, not because I deserve it but because God designed it, because that’s God’s plan and I am going to show the world that I love the Father and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. I am going to show the world that I love the Father, that I obey the Father. 

Certainly Christ died for us. He loved us. But here He’s emphasizing His love for the Father, over against the phony love of the so-called religious leaders going around saying, “Well, we love God,” and they obviously didn’t love God because what’s the test of love? Obedience and they never obeyed at all. Jesus said three times the test of love is obedience, 14:15, 14:21 and 14:23, and now He says, “I will show you living proof that love is tested by obedience. I am going to die not because I deserve it, I don’t. But because the Father designed it that way and I am submitting myself to the will of the Father, whatever the cost.” God designed the redemptive plan to bring man back from sin and Jesus said, “I’m going to die because that’s the way the Father wants it.” 

What a beautiful, beautiful picture of the submission of Jesus Christ. He said, “O My Father, let it be … if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” Living proof of His love. He loved the Father so much and He was going to prove His love by dying a death He didn’t deserve, but one the Father had designed to redeem men. 

So the disciples should rejoice in His death for it allows Him to show His father how much He loves Him, and it allows Him to prove to the world that He loves the Father, even though the world would never admit it. The Pharisees who were always going around saying they loved God and constantly disobeyed. Jesus was truly obedient to the Father. 

How does this measure up to our obedience? Would we give our life if that’s what God asked? How far would we go in obedience? That will determine how much we love Him. We talk about loving God, we sing about how we love Him. How far does our love take us? Measure your love by your obedience. 

How much we’re like those eleven, always selfishly thinking about ourselves, always wanting what we need, always worrying about our own problems, never really able to glory in the glories of the Savior. Our prayers are full of asking and void of thanks. We beg and don’t praise. Maybe we can catch a little of what Jesus is saying here. Let’s start looking at things as they affect Christ, not us, selflessly. We might pray, “God cure us of ourselves that we may see everything in the light of what it means to Jesus Christ.” 

So Jesus presents four causes for joy in His departure. They have nothing to do with us, only to do with Him. When you look at those four, no wonder the Bible says He endured the cross, despised the shame for the joy that was set before Him. 

Father, thanks for teaching us these truths. Help us to see in everything that we experience not so much how it affects us but how it affects our blessed Christ. May that be the measure of everything we say, everything we do that we are totally obedient to the Father and totally concerned with how it affects Christ. May we not be selfish but selfless. This we pray because of Christ. Amen.