Saturday, April 24, 2010



“The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him. And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus” (John 12:19-22).

Remember in chapter 11, Jesus has raised Lazarus from the dead. Then at the beginning of chapter 12 a dinner is given in Bethany. Lazarus is present, Martha served, and Mary anoints Jesus with expensive perfume, and Jesus commends her for this deed, and her spiritual insight. (You may hear my audio sermon, and read my PDF article She Hath Done What She Could).

Many of the people were curious about Lazarus, but the chief priests wanted him dead -- again! (John 12:10).The raising of Lazarus only added to the curiosity, and to the crowd at Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which is a short distance from Bethany.

“On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt”(John 12:12-15).

Matthew’s account mentions He is publicly called “the Son of David”. This is a Hebrew reference to “Messiah”. Christ here was publicly acknowledged as the Messiah, The King of Israel. John Gill’s comments on Matthew 1:1 are helpful here: “This account of Christ begins with the name of the Messiah, well known to the Jews, the son of David; not only to the Scribes and Pharisees, the more learned part of the nation, but to the common people, even to persons of the meanest rank and figure among them.- --- Nothing is more common in the Jewish writings, than for בן דוד "the son of David" to stand alone for the Messiah;”

“The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him (John 12:19). Yes, they were getting worried, because He appeared to be unstoppable, and they believed they must stop Him. They had some valid concern here. His fame had rapidly spread, and now Gentiles were hearing about him more than before. Yet, as it is whenever certain words as “world” are used in the Bible, the context must be considered. Here it is obviously used in a state context. These Jews were not saying the entire, inhabited, earth was following Christ, but many more were now following Him there in divided Israel. Remember in His lifetime of 33 ½ years, Jesus had never been out of the borders of original Israel. While He was here on earth, His following, while growing, was never extremely large. Yet very soon His fame and influence was to grow rapidly .

Even now, certain Greeks desired to see Jesus. “Not Grecian Jews, but Greek proselytes to the Jewish faith, who were wont to attend the annual festivals, particularly this primary one, the Passover” (JFB Commentary).

It was getting near the time of Christ’s crucifixion, because He was God’s true Passover Lamb. Once He is offered to God, it would not be long until the gospel light in it’s fullness would also go to the Gentiles. Remember, He said “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). Even though some Gentiles were converted, like the woman at the well, the Syro-Phonecian woman, and a few others, the message was primarily to the Jew until after Christ’s resurrection. Even later, Paul said “To the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16b). After Christ‘s resurrection, as the Jews more and more rejected the gospel, God turned to the Gentiles. This was in His eternal purpose, as the OT foretold. Yet an elect remnant of Jews are going to be saved over the course of history until Christ returns. (See Romans 11:4,5)

But, here in John 12 these Greek proselyte Jews desired to see Him. “These men from the west represent, at the end of Christ’s life, what the wise men from the east represented at its beginning; but these come to the cross of the King, even as those to His manger (Rudolph Stier). Some commentators believe He ignored the Greeks. But, Stier believes He addressed them as does Thomas Scott. “The difficulty the apostles found about mentioning these “Greeks” to Jesus, as well as the subsequent discourse, strongly implies that they were uncircumcised persons. It is supposed that they lived in the confines of Galilee and thus got acquainted with Phillip. They were favorable to the Jewish religion, and came to Jerusalem to worship; yet it is not said that they ate the Passover. They had heard of our Lord’s miracles, and were desirous of seeing Him and receiving His instructions, and they respectfully applied to Phillip for that purpose. But he, perhaps fearing, lest an interview with Gentiles would render his Lord still more obnoxious to the Pharisees, did not make it known to Him, till he had previously conferred with Andrew about it. Probably, Jesus ordered them to be introduced to Him, and spake what follows in their presence, though He might see good not to admit them to a private conference, ‘because Christ when He sent them (the Apostles), forth to preach, forbade to go into the coasts of the Gentiles (Matthew 10: 5,6). They were in doubt whether such uncircumcised persons were to be admitted to converse with Jesus, so they consult Him first before they brought them to Him.’” (Thomas Scott gives credit to Whitby for the last quote).

Christ’s immediate reply was to speak of His impending death and resurrection. “And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal”(John 12:23-25). If Christ’s sacrifice hadn‘t taken place, not one would really be saved in the Old Testament or the New Testament. All the sacrifices under the law would have meant nothing as far as eternal salvation. All the sermons Jesus preached, the feeding of the multitudes, the miracles and healings, including the raising of the dead, would have all meant nothing! All humanity would remain lost were it not for the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Why did these Greeks want to see Jesus? We are not told. We can only surmise that it had to do with the Savior’s increasing fame. The raising of Lazarus was no secret. This story had spread like wildfire. This is obvious from the desire of the Jewish leaders to kill Lazarus, and the great concern of the Pharisees about Jesus’ spreading fame and popularity. Interesting it is that the height of Jesus earthly popularity was here at the triumphal entry, just shortly before He was put to death.

Whatever their reasons for desiring to see Him, they were not alone. Many desired to see Him. His fame had spread so much that His enemies could see no way to stop it, except to put Him to death. The Greeks were polite in their inquiry about Jesus. It seemed to be a respectful request. They did not wish to harm Him. They were no doubt curious, but was there something more? Could it be that God was pricking their hearts? It was not yet time for the Gentiles to be evangelized, but that was going to change very soon. Soon He was going to die for the sins of His people -- all those of the Old Testament who worshiped God, and tried to keep the law, and all those to follow in the New Testament, many who are Gentiles, who could only come as “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

Remember, these were not the first to want to see Jesus. At His birth, shepherds came to see Him in the stable. Later, wise men from the east came following the star they saw. Even in the Old Testament, some had a desire to see God, as Moses did. He was shown God’s back (see Exodus 33:18-23). Pre-incarnate visits of Christ the Messiah were given a few times. Many scholars believe Melchisedek was the pre-incarnate Christ (see Hebrews 7:1-4).The fourth man in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was said by Nebuchadnezzar to be “like the son of God”(Daniel 3:25b). Was it an angel, or the pre-incarnate Son of God? I personally believe it was very likely Jesus Christ in pre-incarnate form. He is “the angel of the covenant” (See Judges 2:1). What do you think?.

“There was a fourth seen with them in the fire, whose form, in Nebuchadnezzar's judgment, was ‘like the Son of God’; he appeared as a divine person, a messenger from heaven, not as a servant, but as a son.Like an angel’ (so some); and angels are called sons of God, (Job 38:7). In the apocryphal narrative of this story it is said, ‘The angel of the Lord came down into the furnace‘; and Nebuchadnezzar here says ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him’ (Daniel 3:28), ; and it was an angel that shut the lions' mouths when Daniel was in the den, (Daniel 6:22). But some think it was the eternal Son of God, the angel of the covenant, and not a created angel. He appeared often in our nature before he assumed it in his incarnation, and never more seasonable, nor to give a more proper indication and presage of his great errand into the world in the fulness of time, than now, when, to deliver his chosen out of the fire, he came and walked with them in the fire. Note, Those that suffer for Christ have his gracious presence with them in their sufferings, even in the fiery furnace, even in the valley of the shadow of death, and therefore even there they need fear no evil. Hereby Christ showed that what is done against his people he takes as done against himself; whoever throws them into the furnace does, in effect, throw him in. ‘I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest’ (Acts 9:5) compare with Isaiah 63:9” (Matthew Henry). I agree with Matthew. Henry here.

Isaiah saw Him “high and lifted up” (Isaiah 6:1). Christ verifies this: “These things said Esaias (Isaiah), when he saw his glory, and spake of him” (John 12:41). This is just naming a few of the visits God made to man before the birth of Christ. Remember, Jesus Christ did not begin existence in the stable in Bethlehem -- He only began to be a man from that point on.. He became the “God-man” “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus“ (1 Timothy 2:5).

Like these Greeks, “We would see Jesus” We who are bought by His blood have seen Him in a way. We have by faith seen Him carrying that cross down the Via Dolorosa. We have seen Him nailed to it by Roman soldiers. We have seen Him suffering in agony as the crowd mocked Him, and cried for Barabbas, the robber, to be released instead of Him who committed no crime, and who knew no sin. Barabbas was like us. He knew sin. He was a thief. We are also-- thieves who have stolen God’s glory--Murderers who, because of our vileness nailed the Savior to Calvary’s cross. We saw Him forgive the repentant thief on His right side. We heard Him say the seven last sayings from the cross including “It is finished” Remember, He willingly laid down His life for His sheep. No man could take it from Him. We have seen Him buried in a borrowed tomb. We all must be one day buried unless He catches us away first. We saw the stone placed there, and guards to keep the dead man in his grave by order of Pontius Pilate. But we saw the grave stone rolled away the third day and the resurrected Jesus raised from that tomb and stepping out of His neatly folded grave clothes --for our justification --ours and all those from past ages and future ages that God has designed to save. Yes, we that are redeemed have seen Him --in spirit, and long for that great day when we shall behold Him. All of us who are His true blood-bought saints shall see Him face to face one day Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure“ 1 John 3:1-3).

Have YOU seen Jesus? Have YOU been drawn to Him, confessing YOUR sins and trusting in Him to save YOU? If you have not, may the Holy Spirit draw you, and lead YOU also to say “Sir, I would see Jesus”. He is able save YOU!. No one who has a true God-given desire and call to salvation will be turned down if he asks God.. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (Revelation 22:21).

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Published by Charles Woodruff- email:

Monday, April 12, 2010



“Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!” (John 19:5)

In 1968, at Atlanta Stadium, Dr. William Holmes Borders (1905-1993), black pastor of Wheat Street Baptist Church in Atlanta, appeared in a popular passion play titled Behold the Man. It drew over 50,000 people and was declared by the news media The Miracle That Saved Atlanta.” This was in the time of some desegregation tensions, and Dr. Borders was a very active participant in the civil rights movement in Atlanta. I don’t know if it is true that it physically saved Atlanta , but the event being portrayed (The crucifixion of Jesus Christ), is a part of the miracle that saved countless souls from the beginning of mankind until this very day.


Of all the titles and epitaphs attached to Jesus Christ, this statement Behold the Man seems at first glance to be the most awkward, and the most untrue. After all, Christ is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God; yes even very God of very God as was stated in the original Nicene Creed of 325 A.D.. He was, and is, God Almighty, but He is also a man. I know, this is a paradox, something that finite man cannot fully explain, yet it is true. God the Holy Spirit placed in the virgin Mary’s womb a baby, which was born in a manger. He is the God-Man! A union of God and man. Virgin born, without sin, the Lamb without spot or blemish pictured by the Old Testament type.

Yet here before Pilate, just before His death by crucifixion, He appears to be only a man---a defeated man at that! His followers were mostly afraid, and scattered. It appeared to be the end for Him. He was about the be crucified, which was the most agonizing of Rome’s death penalties. So gruesome it was, that as a rule, no Roman citizen was given this penalty. It was a penalty designed for the lower elements; the outcasts of society. As Pontius Pilate uttered “Behold the Man” regarding Jesus, he had already examined Him, and came to this conclusion Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him” (John 19:4). The reason he did not find fault in Him was obvious to us who know the Christ of the Bible. He was without fault; without spot; without blemish; Without sin. God the Father said of Him “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (2 Peter 1:17b).

So Pilate knew that Christ did not deserve this awful death. He tried to wash his hands of the judgment of death pronounced on the darling Son of God. He tried to pass Him on to the Jewish leaders and let them be responsible. Since Jesus was known as a Galilean, he gave Him over to Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee, who was in Jerusalem at this time. There had been a division between them, but now they became friends. When Herod couldn’t get Jesus to perform a miracle for him, he sent Jesus back to Pilate.

There are those in our day who would blame the Jews alone for Christ‘s death. After all, they told Pilate vigorously “His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matthew 27:25b). But they alone were not responsible. Pilate, the Roman Procurator, or Governor, a Gentile, was responsible. As a matter of fact, it was not only this Gentile that was guilty. Simon of Cyrene, evidently a black man who helped carry Jesus’ cross part of the way up the Via Dolorosa was guilty, not only because he carried the cross, and not risking his own life to protest the cruelty to this just man, but because Simon was also a sinner. Just as much a sinner as the woman taken in adultery whom Jesus forgave and told her “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” John 8:11b. Just as much a sinner as the Pharisees and Sadducees who condemned Jesus. Just as much as those who cried out “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Matthew 27:40b). Just as much a sinner as Barabbas who was an insurrectionist who stole and killed. Just as much a sinner as Judas who betrayed Him. We are all sinners! Remember Jesus told those who were condemning the adulterous woman “He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”(John 8:7b). They wanted to, but none could. For as Isaiah the prophet, the psalmist David, and later the Apostle Paul told us “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Pilate’s wife had warned her husband, and she was correct “When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him”(Matthew 27:19). He was, and is, a just man, but not a mere man. When Pontius Pilate said Ecce Homo (likely he used this Latin phrase for Behold the Man), to the crowd calling for Christ’s crucifixion, he may well have believed Jesus to only be a man. A good man, a just man, but a man. As a Roman, Pilate worshiped another man, Caesar Tiberius, as god. So there wasn’t room for another god in his life. Hence Behold the Man, who in Pilate‘s eyes couldn‘t be God!


So as the ancient Apostles Creed clearly states regarding Jesus He suffered under Pontius Pilate. But Pilate still tried to dissuade them, offering them Barabbas, the thief and murderer instead. But the crowd was in a frenzy, and wanted Barabbas released and Jesus killed. It is an irony, and a picture of human nature, that the Person that at least some of the crowd had very recently praised at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the city of David, with loud cries of “Hosanna to the son of David : Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (Matthew 21:9). They were now screaming in His ears “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” (Luke 23:21b). Behold the Man as He appeared to move from triumph to failure! Yes, He died as a man; The Man Christ Jesus, the mediator between God and men (1Timothy 2:5). It went from Hosanna to a mocking Hail King of the Jews! But He was and is more. He is the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (1Timothy 6:15). But He died on that Roman cross. He went from honor, as He was riding on a donkey, while palm branches were laid in His path, down to being scourged. He was led before Herod to be tried, and led by Roman soldiers back to Pilate with a crown of thorns on His head; a mocking royal robe placed upon Him, and being struck on the face with their hands. Now He was being given up to the mocking cries of a raging mob, and put to death..

We should all know that a crowd is fickle. They had cried Hosanna (Hebrew; O save us), now crying “crucify Him“, and the chief priests and scribes mocked and said “He saved others, Himself He cannot save” (Mark 15:31). What they did not know is that He did not want to be rescued from death. He had settled this in the Garden of Gethsemane. Behold the Man as He sweat great drops of blood in agony! What he feared was not death. He dreaded a worse thing. He dreaded being separated from the Father for the first time in His earthly life. That is why He cried on the cross “Eli eli lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46).


There were two other men crucified beside Him there at Calvary. They were likely the companions of the aforementioned Barabbas, the insurrectionist. While Barabbas was to escape the death of the cross, these two men did not. Consider this: Jesus died in Barabbas’ place. You ask me “was he saved?” I don’t know. There are some early theologians who say yes. Jesus did die in his place. No doubt about that. Jesus died on that cross that should have been Barabbas’ cross, and Barabbas was set free. Interesting. Many things happened on that cross. All four gospels record the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. On the day of Jesus’ crucifixion scholars tell us that 333 prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures were fulfilled. Oh dear friends, this was no ordinary man on that cross! Behold Him! Yes, Behold the Man! He often even called Himself the Son of Man, showing that He was, as Paul said, the last Adam, the representative man. Adam was the federal head of the human race, representing us all. When he fell, we all fell (except Jesus). Jesus as the Son of Man was the new representative man- the last Adam.

Indeed, Behold the Man! On that cruel cross as He says:

Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

“Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

“Woman, behold thy son. Son, behold thy mother” (John 19:26,27).

“It is Finished” (John 19:30).

“Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

“I thirst” (John 19:28).

Many words have been written about these seven last sayings, and many sermons preached. We can never exhaust the content of these sayings.

Jesus’ crucifixion is a well attested fact in Roman history. As He was there on the cross in his death, they came to break his legs, which was a custom so they would not be on the cross during the sabbath, but they found He was already dead.. The soldiers pierced His side (fulfilling Old Testament prophecy), and out came blood and water. Even in Josephus, the Jewish historian of the first century we find these words:

“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” Antiquities of the Jews - XVIII, 3:8-10


Jesus had no place to be born but a manger in a cattle stall; He had no home of His own after He left Nazareth; He had no grave of His own in which to be buried, so Joseph of Arimethea, a wealthy Jew, donated a tomb in the garden for his burial. After Joseph of Arimethea went to Pilate to beg for the body, he and Nicodemus took His body to prepare it and bury it. He was placed in the tomb after being prepared for burial. He was wrapped in a shroud made of linen. As I have stated elsewhere, I believe the bible bears out that Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday, not a Friday. I won’t go into that much here, but you can obtain a free copy of Wednesday or Friday from me presenting Dr R.A. Torrey’s very compelling case regarding this. I will say that the scripture clearly says: For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). These are the words of our Lord Himself. How can you get three days and three nights from Friday until Sunday morning?

As prophesied, that grave wasn’t going to contain Him long. Just three days and three nights. The man was dead. As dead as you can be! The Romans, and the Jews made sure of that. It is said that Christ, while out of His body, went and preached to the spirits in prison. There has been a lot of speculation about the meaning of that. Maybe I will explore it soon.


That Garden tomb couldn’t hold this Man. Our entire Christian faith hinges on the validity of Christ’s resurrection, for as Paul tells us And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19). No use in being in church next week or ever if this crucified Man did not get up out of that grave! It Has been disputed many times in 2000 years, but all the evidence comes back; HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

One day, because He is risen, we shall behold Him. The late Dottie Rambo wrote a beautiful song with just that title: We Shall Behold Him. This will happen when He returns. It will not be a sad beholding of a man about to be executed, it will be the reunion with the Lord Jesus Christ in glory. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords! We shall behold the man! Then we will clearly see that He is so much more than a man. We shall see Him as He is. If you are one of God’s elect, I know that you desire to see Him more than anything. Even so, come Lord Jesus!!!!! (cw)

Published by Charles Woodruff- email: