The Gospel of John: Now!

Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.” (John 12:31-33).

Tommy, come into this house right now!

I want to know the answer right now.

For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

What does the word “now” mean? The word “now” can either function as an adverb (“where are you living now?”) referring to the present time or moment. It may also be used as a conjunction (“they spent a lot of time together now that he had retired”) as a consequence or statement of fact.

In today’s text the word “now” comes from the Greek adverb νῦν (nyn), as in English, meaning a present point in time. Jesus used this word when referring to the then present in which He spoke of the judgment of this world and the ruler of this world being cast out. Both events were occurring now when Jesus spoke.

The word judgment (κρίσις; krisis) means a legal decision in a court of justice. The defendant being judged is the fallen world, anti-God system of thought and behavior. The doom of the world is signed, sealed and delivered by the Lord’s impending death on the cross.

Dr. R. C. Sproul comments that, “Here Jesus is speaking of the world in a negative sense, talking about it as the fallen created order that is set in opposition to God. His death is a judgment on the world because it marks the point at which He is decisively rejected by sinners. There is no greater way to reject someone than to kill him, and the world’s conspiring to kill Jesus shows how much the world hates Jesus and thus the God who sent Him. The world’s killing Jesus is a judgment on them because it shows most clearly how people have loved darkness and not the light (3:19). Though Christ came to save the world and not to condemn the world, condemnation is the inevitable result for all who reject Him (vv. 16–18). That the world puts Jesus to death shows that the fallen order is condemned already; that wicked act confirms the judgment that is already on its head.

Additionally, the ruler of this fallen, anti-God system of thought and behavior is also cast out. The ruler in question is Satan. To be cast out (ἐκβάλλω; ekballo) means to be driven out, expelled, or jettisoned. This act is done upon Satan. It is an action he receives. It is an action which Jesus Christ performs.

Dr. Sproul adds that, “Our Lord’s death is also the point at which “the ruler of this world” is cast out (John 12:31). Christ refers here to Satan, who is the head of the fallen world’s rebellion against its Creator (see, for example, Matt. 4:8–9), so He is talking about the defeat of the devil on the cross (see Col. 2:15). It might seem strange that Jesus considers the crucifixion the point at which the devil is defeated, for after all, Jesus dies at Calvary, and the victor in a battle is not normally the one who dies. But as we know, Jesus does not stay dead. At the cross, Satan throws everything he has at our Savior, and it is not enough. Though Jesus dies, He rises again, proving that the devil has no power over Him. Passing through death, Jesus is resurrected, defeating death and Satan.”

In His death on the cross, and His subsequent burial and resurrection, Jesus draws (ἑλκύω; helkyo) all kinds of people to Himself as Savior and Lord. The word “draw” literally means to pull or drag by a superior force. It is the same word John used of God the Father’s role in salvation in John 6:44. Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:1-8), will draw all kinds of sinners into a covenant relationship with Him. The drawing Jesus speaks of here, as in John 6, will not involve dragging sinners kicking and screaming into heaven against their will. Rather it will involve the act of regeneration by which the Holy Spirit sovereignly changes the disposition of man’s fallen heart enabling them to come to Christ as at the same time Christ is drawing them.

Dr. Sproul concludes, “Due to the corruption that human beings inherit by virtue of original sin (Romans 5:12-21), all people, (except Jesus who was not born in Adam) are born with moral inability to receive the gospel by faith. This inability must be overcome by the Holy Spirit in His work of regeneration. The Lord must first change the heart. God must give fallen people the ability to believe, and He does so only for the elect.”

Take time this moment to thank God for changing the disposition of your fallen soul and drawing you to the Savior and salvation in Jesus Christ alone.

Soli deo Gloria!  


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