John 12:27-33 (ESV)
27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
Consider the last two verses. Here, the Good News was delivered in Christ’s final teaching at the Temple on the day before Passover. On that day in Jerusalem, the conclusion of Jesus’ public ministry links expiation to crucifixion.
The fix is in for unrighteousness, nonalignment with God. Ditto satanic dominion over this world, for the clock is now ticking for evil’s power, the power of the Prince of this world, derived de facto from man’s incapacity to overcome sin.
The Cross, lifting up our Lord from the earth, will defeat the moral defect of our sins. Overcoming the hopelessness of rebellion against God, the Cross offers to all humankind redemption and restoration to the Creator. As has been famously observed, Jesus bridges the gulf between heaven and earth with three nails and two pieces of wood.
“Here is the power to expiate our sins, and not only ours, but also those of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)
The sacrifice Of Christ makes pure what was hitherto unholy: us. It is an expiation of our sins, a restorative cleansing in which the spotless Lamb of God makes amends for our living without righteousness before the All-Holy.
Now, in his ascension to glory, does Christ have any role to play in our salvation before the sheep and the goats are to be eternally divided?
“Christ did not enter into the Most Holy Place made by humans, which is only a copy of the real one. He went up into heaven itself, and is there now to help us.” (Hebrews 9:24) The work our Lord in expiation of our sins continues in the place of sacrifice yonder, at the altar not made with human hands. There, in the place where “he ever liveth to make intercession for them”(Hebrews 7:25), Jesus wordlessly intercedes on our behalf with the Father.
How does that work? The faithful here below are only seen through the showing forth of his precious blood once offered on Calvary’s tree. Heaven sees us only in Jesus, not naked and alone.
O Father, who for our redemption didst give thine only-begotten Son to the death of the Cross, and by his glorious Resurrection hast delivered us from the power of our enemy: grant us so to daily die from sin, that we may ever more live with him in the joy of his Resurrection. Amen.