John 12:27
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I to this hour.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTeedTTBVWSWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(27) Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say?—The word rendered “soul” is the same word as that rendered “life” in John 12:25. (Comp. especially Matthew 16:25-26.) It is the seat of the natural feelings and emotions, and, as the fatal hour approaches, our Lord is in that region of His human life troubled. There is a real shrinking from the darkness of the death which is at hand. The conflict exists but for a moment, but in all its fearfulness is real, and then the cup of the world’s woe is seized and drunk to its bitter dregs. Men have sometimes wondered that St. John passes over the agony of the garden of Gethsemane, but the agony of Gethsemane is here, and the very words of Matthew 26:39 are echoed. Men have wondered, too, that in the life of the Son of man a struggle such as this could have had even a moment’s place. Not a few, indeed, would at any cost read the words otherwise. But they cannot be read otherwise, either on the written page or in the hearts of men. That troubled soul asked, “What shall I say?” Blessed reality! In that struggle humanity struggled, and in that victory humanity won.

Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.—It is uncertain whether the first words of this sentence are a prayer, or whether they should be read as a question. In the latter case the meaning would be, “What shall I say? Shall I say, Father save Me from this hour? But no: for this cause came I unto this hour. I cannot shrink back or seek to be delivered from it.” As a prayer the meaning would be—“Father, save Me from this hour; but for this cause, that I may be saved from it, came I unto this hour. The moment of agony is the moment of victory.”

The real difficulty of the verse lies in the words for this cause,” for which a meaning must be sought in the context. No interpretation of them is free from objection, but that which seems to have, upon the whole most probability, understands them as referring to the words which follow, and reads the clause, “Father, glorify Thy name,” as part of this verse. The sense of the whole passage would therefore be, “Father, save Me from this hour; but Thy will, not Mine, be done; for this cause came I unto this hour, that Thy name be glorified; Father, glorify Thy name.” (Comp. Note on Luke 12:49-50.)

John 12:27. Now is my soul troubled — Our Lord, having uttered what is above recorded, seems to have paused for a while, and entered on a deep contemplation of the very different scene which lay before him; the prospect of which moved him to such a degree, that he uttered his grief in these and the following doleful words. For he had various foretastes of his passion before he fully entered into it. And what shall I say? — Not, What shall I choose? for his heart was fixed in choosing the will of his Father: but, What shall I say in prayer to my heavenly Father? What petition shall I offer to him on this occasion? Father, save me from this hour — Dr. Campbell reads, What shall I say? [shall I say,] Father, save me from this hour? But I came on purpose for this hour; considering the words as containing two questions: the distress of Christ’s soul first suggesting a petition for deliverance, in which, however, he is instantly checked by the reflection on the end and design of his coming. The passage is understood by Dr. Doddridge in the same sense, who says, “I suppose few need be told, that the pointing of the New Testament is far less ancient than the text. It is agreeable to observe, how many difficulties may be removed by varying it, and departing from the common punctuation: of which I take this to be one of the most remarkable instances. For as the text does not oblige us to it, it does not seem natural to suppose that our Lord actually offered this petition, and then immediately retracted it.” But for this cause came I unto this hour — For this cause was I born into the world, and came even to this present hour, that I might bear the sufferings on which I am entering, and might redeem my people by them; and far be it from me to draw back from such engagements and undertakings. By praying on this occasion, our Lord shows us what is the best method of obtaining support and comfort in deep distress. At the same time, as in his prayer he expressed an entire resignation to the will of his Father, he has taught us, that although the weakness of human nature may shrink at the first thoughts of suffering, his disciples ought not to yield, but to fortify themselves by just reflections on, and a firm faith in, the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, and the happy end he proposes to be answered by their afflictions. 12:27-33 The sin of our souls was the troubled of Christ's soul, when he undertook to redeem and save us, and to make his soul an offering for our sin. Christ was willing to suffer, yet prayed to be saved from suffering. Prayer against trouble may well agree with patience under it, and submission to the will of God in it. Our Lord Jesus undertook to satisfy God's injured honour, and he did it by humbling himself. The voice of the Father from heaven, which had declared him to be his beloved Son, at his baptism, and when he was transfigured, was heard proclaiming that He had both glorified his name, and would glorify it. Christ, reconciling the world to God by the merit of his death, broke the power of death, and cast out Satan as a destroyer. Christ, bringing the world to God by the doctrine of his cross, broke the power of sin, and cast out Satan as a deceiver. The soul that was at a distance from Christ, is brought to love him and trust him. Jesus was now going to heaven, and he would draw men's hearts to him thither. There is power in the death of Christ to draw souls to him. We have heard from the gospel that which exalts free grace, and we have heard also that which enjoins duty; we must from the heart embrace both, and not separate them.Now is my soul troubled - The mention of his death brought before him its approaching horrors, its pains, its darkness, its unparalleled woes. Jesus was full of acute sensibility, and his human nature shrunk from the scenes through which he was to pass. See Luke 23:41-44.

What shall I say? - This is an expression denoting intense anxiety and perplexity. As if it were a subject of debate whether he could bear those sufferings; or whether the work of man's redemption should be abandoned, and he should call upon God to save him. Blessed be his name that he was willing to endure these sorrows, and did not forsake man when he was so near being redeemed! On the decision of that moment - the fixed and unwavering purpose of the Son of God depended man's salvation. If Jesus had forsaken his purpose then, all would have been lost.

Father, save me - This ought undoubtedly to have been read as a question - "Shall I say, Father, save me?" Shall I apply to God to rescue me? or shall I go forward to bear these trials? As it is in our translation, it represents him as actually offering the prayer, and then checking himself. The Greek will bear either interpretation. The whole verse is full of deep feeling and anxiety. Compare Matthew 26:38; Luke 12:50.

This hour - These calamities. The word "hour," here, doubtless has reference to his approaching sufferings the appointed hour for him to suffer. Shall I ask my Father to save me from this hour - that is, from these approaching sufferings? That it might have been done, see Matthew 26:53.

But for this cause - That is, to suffer and die. As this was the design of his coming as he did it deliberately - -as the salvation of the world depended on it, he felt that it would not be proper to pray to be delivered from it. He came to suffer, and he submitted to it. See Luke 23:42.

27, 28. Now is my soul troubled—He means at the prospect of His death, just alluded to. Strange view of the Cross this, immediately after representing it as the hour of His glory! (Joh 12:23). But the two views naturally meet, and blend into one. It was the Greeks, one might say, that troubled Him. Ah! they shall see Jesus, but to Him it shall be a costly sight.

and what shall I say?—He is in a strait betwixt two. The death of the cross was, and could not but be, appalling to His spirit. But to shrink from absolute subjection to the Father, was worse still. In asking Himself, "What shall I say?" He seems as if thinking aloud, feeling His way between two dread alternatives, looking both of them sternly in the face, measuring, weighing them, in order that the choice actually made might be seen, and even by himself the more vividly felt, to be a profound, deliberate, spontaneous election.

Father, save me from this hour—To take this as a question—"Shall I say, Father, save me," &c.—as some eminent editors and interpreters do, is unnatural and jejune. It is a real petition, like that in Gethsemane, "Let this cup pass from Me"; only whereas there He prefaces the prayer with an "If it be possible," here He follows it up with what is tantamount to that—"Nevertheless for this cause came I unto this hour." The sentiment conveyed, then, by the prayer, in both cases, is twofold: (1) that only one thing could reconcile Him to the death of the cross—its being His Father's will He should endure it—and (2) that in this view of it He yielded Himself freely to it. What He recoils from is not subjection to His Father's will: but to show how tremendous a self-sacrifice that obedience involved, He first asks the Father to save Him from it, and then signifies how perfectly He knows that He is there for the very purpose of enduring it. Only by letting these mysterious words speak their full meaning do they become intelligible and consistent. As for those who see no bitter elements in the death of Christ—nothing beyond mere dying—what can they make of such a scene? and when they place it over against the feelings with which thousands of His adoring followers have welcomed death for His sake, how can they hold Him up to the admiration of men?

Now is my soul troubled; by soul is not here to be understood only the sensitive part of the soul, but his whole human soul. So John 13:21, He was troubled in spirit. Our inward troubles arise from our passions; and there are passions of grief and fear, which give us most of our inward trouble; fear respecteth some evil at a distance from us; grief is caused by evil fallen upon us, or so near that we seem to be already in the power of it. The word here used is tetaraktai, which signifieth no mean, but a great and more than ordinary, degree of trouble. Christ was greatly troubled, though not so as we sometimes are, when our trouble leadeth us to despair: Christ was capable of no sinful trouble. Hence two questions arise:

1. For what the soul of Christ was troubled?

2. How such a degree of trouble could agree to the Lord Jesus Christ?

He tells us, Matthew 26:38, that he was exceedingly sorrowful, so as sorrow was one part of his trouble; and we may learn from what he afterward saith in this verse, Father, save me from this hour, that fear made up the other part of it. He was grieved, and he was afraid; some say it was at the apprehension of that miserable death he was to die; others say, at the sense of the Divine wrath which he was to undergo, death being not yet overcome, and his conflict with his Father’s wrath for the sins of men being yet to be endured. Though Christ at this time was in the most perfect obedience to his Father’s will, offering up a most acceptable and well pleasing sacrifice unto God; yet he, sustaining our persons, had a conflict to endure even with his Father’s wrath upon that account, though not upon his own personal account; for so he was at this time doing that which was most acceptable and well pleasing in his sight. As to the second question, nothing could more agree to Christ than this, both with respect to his human nature, which had the same natural (though not sinful) infirmities which other men have; and with respect to his design and end, to help and relieve his people under their troubles of spirit; and, as the apostle saith, Hebrews 2:15, to deliver them who through fear of death are all their lifetime subject to bondage. So as this trouble of spirit agreed to him both as man and as Mediator. But there must be a vast difference observed between this trouble of spirit in Christ, and that which is in us. Our troubles are upon reflections for our own sin, and the wrath of God due to us therefore; his trouble was for the wrath of God due to us for our sins. Our troubles are because we have personally grieved God; his was because those given to him (not he himself) had offended God. We are afraid of our eternal condemnation; he was only afraid by a natural fear of death, which naturally riseth higher according to the kind of death we die. Our troubles have mixtures of despair, distrust, sinful horrors; there was no such thing in his trouble. Our troubles in their natural tendencies are killing and destroying; only by accident, and the wise ordering of Divine providence, prove advantageous, by leading us to him, as the only remedy for troubled souls: his trouble was, in the very nature of it, not only pure and clean, but also sanative and healing. But that he was truly troubled, and that in his whole soul, and that such a trouble did very well agree, as to the human nature he had assumed, so to his office as our Mediator and Saviour, and the foundation of a great deal of peace, quiet, and satisfaction to us, is out of question. The chastisement of our peace in this particular lay upon him; and they were some of those stripes of his, by which we are healed.

And (saith he) what shall I say? It is the natural language of a spirit troubled.

Father, save me from this hour; this hour of my passion; it is the same with that in our Saviour’s last prayer, Let this cup pass from me; and must be understood with the same qualifications there expressed, if it be thy will, if it be possible, &c. By his blessed example he hath taught us, under the distresses of our spirits, whither to flee, what to do.

For my love (saith David to his enemies, Psalm 109:4) they are mine adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer; I give up myself to prayer. God hath bidden us, Psalm 50:15, call upon him in the day of trouble; and St. James saith, Jam 5:3, Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Herein Christ hath himself set us an example, that we should follow his steps. But how doth our Saviour pray to be saved from that hour, when for this cause he came into the world? Here was in Christ a conflict between the flesh and the Spirit; not like ours, which is between corrupt flesh and the Spirit, but between his natural flesh, and the natural affections of it, and his spirit; that was fully conformed to the will of God, and gets a present conquest.

But for this cause (saith he) came I to this hour: he checks himself, correcteth the language of his natural flesh, acquiesceth, rejoiceth in the will of God. I was not (saith he) forced, I came of my own good will to this hour; and I came on purpose to die for my people. Now is my soul troubled,.... At the hardness and unbelief of the Jews, and the rejection of them, when the Gentiles would be called, and converted, by which he would be glorified: and at the conduct and carriage of his disciples to him, he had a foreknowledge of; at the betraying of him by one, and the denial of him by another, and the flight of them all from him; and at the devil, and the furious and violent attack he knew he would make upon him, though he had obliged him to leave him, when he assaulted him before, and knew he could find nothing in him now, and that as God, he was able to destroy him; but this was to be done by him, as man, and by lying too: he was in his human soul troubled at the thoughts of his death, though it was his Father's will, and he had agreed to it, and was for the salvation of his people, his heart was so much set upon; yet it was terrible to the human nature, and especially as attended with the wrath of God; at the apprehensions of which, his soul was exceedingly troubled; not as about to fall on him on his own personal account, but as being the surety of his people, and as having their sins upon him to satisfy angry and injured justice for:

and what shall I say? this question he puts, as being in the utmost distress, and difficulty, as if he knew not what to say; and yet not as advising with his disciples, what was to be said or done in his case; but is rather used to introduce another question, as the following words may be formed: shall I say,

father, save me from this hour? as requesting his Father, that he might be strengthened under his sufferings and death, and carried through them, and out of them; or rather as deprecating them, desiring the cup might pass from him, as he afterwards did; and then the sense is, shall I put up such a petition to my Father, to save me from sorrows, sufferings, and death? no, I will not: the human nature through frailty might prompt him to it, and he be just going to do it, when he corrects himself, saying;

but for this cause came I unto this hour: this hour or time of sorrow and suffering was appointed for him; it was fixed in the covenant of grace, and Christ had agreed to it; he was sent into this world, and he came into it, on account of this hour; and was preserved hitherto for this purpose; and was now come to Jerusalem, and was there at this instant, for that very reason, namely, to suffer and die. And since this was the case, he would not put up such a petition to his Father, but the following one.

{6} Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this {c} hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

(6) While Christ went about to suffer all the punishment which is due to our sins, and while his divinity did not yet show his might and power so that the satisfaction might be fully accomplished, he is stricken with the great fear of the curse of God, and so he cries and prays, and desires to be released: yet nonetheless he prefers the will and glory of his Father before all things, and his Father allows this obedience even from heaven.

(c) That is, of death which is now at hand.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 12:27-28. The realization of His sufferings and death, with which His discourse from John 12:23 was filled, shakes Him suddenly with apprehension and momentary wavering, springing from the human sensibility, which naturally seeks to resist the heaviest suffering, which He must yet undergo. To define this specially as the feeling of the divine anger (Beza, Calvin, Calovius, Hengstenberg, and many others), which He has certainly appeased by His death, rests on the supposition, which is nowhere justified, that, according to the object of the death (John 1:29, John 3:14, John 10:11-12; Matthew 20:28; Romans 8:3; Romans 3:25; 2 Corinthians 5:21, et al.), its severity also is measured in the consciousness. Bengel well says: “concurrebat horror mortis et ardor obedientiae.” The Lord is thus moved to pray; but He is for the moment uncertain for what (τί εἴπω), ἀπορούμετος ὑπὸ τῆς ἀγωνίας, Euth. Zigabenus. First, a momentary fear of the sufferings of death (comp. on Luke 12:50) obtains the upper hand, in virtue of that human weakness, in which even He, the Son of God, because He had become man, had His share (Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 5:7-8), and He prays: Father, save me from this hour, spare me this death-suffering which is awaiting me, quite as in Matthew 26:39, so that He thus not merely “cries for support through it, and for a shortening of it” (Ebrard). But immediately this wish, resulting from natural dread of suffering and death,[109] yields to the victorious consciousness of His great destiny; He gives expression to the latter (ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦΤΟ, Κ.Τ.Λ.), and now prays: Father, glorify Thy name; i.e., through the suffering of death appointed to me, let the glory of Thy name (of Thy being in its self-presentation, comp. on Matthew 6:9) be manifested. The fulfilment of this prayer was brought about in this way, that by means of the death of Jesus (and of His consequent δόξα) the divine decree of salvation was fulfilled, then everywhere made known through the gospel, in virtue of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16 ff.), and obedience to the faith established to the honour of the Father, which is the last aim of the work of Christ, Php 2:11.

Ἡ ΨΥΧΉ ΜΟΥ] not as a designation of individual grief (Olshausen), but as the seat of the affections generally. He might also have said τὸ πνεῦμά μου (comp. John 11:33; John 11:38), but would then have meant the deeper basis of life, to which the impressions of the ΨΥΧΉ, which is united with the ΣΆΡΞ, are conveyed. Comp. on Luke 1:46-47.

ΠΆΤΕΡ, ΣῶΣΌΝ ΜΕ, Κ.Τ.Λ.] The hour of suffering is regarded as present, as though He were already at that hour. To take the words interrogatively: shall I say: save me? etc. (so Chrysostom, Theophylact, Jansen, Grotius, Lampe, and many others, including Lachmann, Tholuck, Kling, Schweizer, Maier, Lange, Ewald, Godet) yields the result of an actual prayer interwoven into a reflective monologue, and is therefore less suitable to a frame of mind so deeply moved.

ἀλλά] objecting, like our but no! See Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 36; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 13 f.

διὰ τοῦτο] Wherefore, is contained in the following prayer, πάτερ, δόξασον, κ.τ.λ. Consequently: therefore, in order that through my suffering of death Thy name may be glorified. The completion: in order that the world might be redeemed (Olshausen and older commentators), is not supplied by the context; to undergo this suffering (Grotius, De Wette, Luthardt, Lange, Ebrard, Godet; comp. Hengstenberg: “in order that my soul may be shaken”) is tautological; and Lampe: to be saved, is inappropriate. The τοῦτο is here preparative; let only διὰ τοῦτοταύτην be enclosed within dashes, and the sense is made clearly to appear: but no—therefore I came to this hour

Father, glorify
, etc. Jesus might have said: ἀλλὰ, πάτερ, δόξασον σου τὸ ὄνομα, διὰ τοῦτο γὰρ ἦλθον ἐ. τ. . τ. But the language, deeply emotional, throbs more unconnectedly, and as it were by starts.

The repetition of πάτερ corresponds to the thrill of filial affection.

ΣΟΥ stands emphatically, in the first place, in antithesis to the reference which the previous prayer of Jesus contained to Himself. On the subject-matter, comp. Matthew 26:39.

ΟὖΝ] corresponding to this petition.

ΦΩΝῊ ἘΚ Τ. ΟὐΡ.] The voice which came from heaven: I have glorified it (in Thy mission and Thy whole previous work), and shall again (through Thine impending departure by means of death to the δόξα) glorify it,[110] is not to be regarded as actual, natural thunder (according to the O. T. view conceived of as the voice of the Lord, as in Psalms 29, Job 37:4, and frequently), in which only the subjective disposition, the so-attuned inner ear of Jesus (and of the disciples), distinguished the words καὶ ἐδόξασα, κ.τ.λ.; while others, less susceptible to this divine symbolism of nature, believed only in a general way, that in the thunder an angel had spoken with Jesus; while others again, unsusceptible, understood the natural occurrence simply and solely as such, and took it for nothing further than what it objectively was. So substantially, not merely Paulus, Kuinoel, Lücke, Ammon, De Wette, Maier, Baeumlein, and several others, but also Hengstenberg.[111] Several have here had recourse to the later Jewish view of Bath-Kol (by which, however, only real literal voices, not natural phenomena, without speech, were understood; see Lübkert in the Stud. u. Krit. 1835, 3), as well as to the Gentile interpretations of thunder as the voice of the gods (see Wetstein). Against this entire view, it is decisive that John himself, the ear-witness, describes a φωνὴ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, which was an objective occurrence; that he further repeats its express words; that, further, to take the first half of these words referring to the past, as the product of a merely subjective perception, is without any support in the prayer of Jesus; that, further, Jesus Himself, John 12:30, gives His confirmation to the occurrence of an actual voice; that, finally, the ἌΛΛΟΙ also, John 12:29, must have heard a speech. Hence we must abide by the interpretation that a voice actually issued from heaven, which John relates, and Jesus confirms as an objective occurrence. It is a voice which came miraculously from God (as was the case, according to the Synoptics, at the baptism and the transfiguration), yet as regards its intelligibility conditioned by the subjective disposition and receptivity of the hearers (so also Tholuck, Olshausen, Kling, Luthardt, Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 391 f., Lange, Ebrard, Godet following the old commentators), which sounded with a tone as of thunder, so that the definite words which resounded in this form of sound remained unintelligible to the unsusceptible, who simply heard that majestic kind of sound, but not its contents, and said: βροντὴν γεγονέναι; whereas, on the other hand, others, more susceptible, certainly understood this much, that the thunder-like voice was a speech, but not what it said, and thought an angel (comp. Acts 23:9) had spoken in this thunder-voice to Jesus. This opinion of theirs, however, does not justify us in regarding the divine word which was spoken as also actually communicated by angelic ministry (Hofmann), since, in fact, the utterance of the ἄλλοι is not adduced as at all the true account, and since, moreover, the heavenly voice, according to the text, appears simply and solely as the answer of the Father.

[109] Which in itself is not only not immoral, but the absence of which would even lower the moral greatness and the worth of His sacrifice. Comp. Dorner, Jesu sündlose Vollkommenh. p. 6.

[110] The reference of ἐδόξασα to the O. T. revelation, which is now declared to be closed (Lange, L. J. II. p. 1208), is without any foundation in the context.

[111] See, in answer to him, some appropriate observations in Engelhardt, in the Luth. ZeitsChr. 1865, p. 209 ff. He, however, refers the δοξάσω to the fact that the Son, even in His sufferings, will allow the will of God entirely to prevail with Him. The glorifying of God, however, by means of the death of Jesus, which was certainly the culminating point of His obedience to the Father, reaches further, namely (see especially John 17:1-2) to God’s honour through the Lord’s attainment of exaltation throughout the whole world by means of His death. As ἐδόξασα refers to His munus propheticum, so δοξάσω to the fact that He attains to the munus regium through the fulfilment of the munus sacerdotale.John 12:27. The distinct and near prospect of the cross as the path to glory which these Greeks called up in His thoughts prompts Him to exclaim: Νῦν ἡ ψυχή μου τετάρακται, “Now is my soul troubled”. ψυχή is, as Weiss remarks, synonymous with πνεῦμα, see John 13:21. A conflict of emotions disturbs His serenity. “Concurrebat horror mortis et ardor obedientiae.” Bengel. καὶ τί εἴπω; “And what shall I say?” This clause certainly suggests that the next should also be interrogative, “Shall I say, Father, save me from this hour? But for this cause (or, with this object) came I to this hour.” That is, if He should now pray to be delivered from death this would be to stultify all He had up to this time been doing; for without His death His life would be fruitless. He would still be a seed preserved and not sown.27. This is a verse of well-known difficulty, and the meaning cannot be determined with certainty, several meanings being admissible. The doubtful points are (1) the position of the interrogation, whether it should come after ‘I say’ or ‘from this hour;’ (2) the meaning of ‘for this cause.’

Now is my soul troubled] The word rendered ‘soul’ is the same as that rendered ‘life’ in ‘loveth his life’ and ‘hateth his life.’ To bring out this and the sequence of thought, ‘life’ would perhaps be better here. ‘He that would serve Me must follow Me and be ready to hate his life; for My life has long since been tossed and torn with emotion and sorrow.’ ‘Is troubled’ = has been and still is troubled; a frequent meaning of the Greek perfect.

what shall I say?] Or, what must I say? This appears to be the best punctuation; and the question expresses the difficulty of framing a prayer under the conflicting influences of fear of death and willingness to glorify His Father by dying. The result is first a prayer under the influence of fear—‘save Me from this hour’ (comp. ‘Let this cup pass from Me,’ Matthew 26:39), and then a prayer under the influence of ready obedience—‘Glorify Thy Name’ through My sufferings. But the Greek means ‘save me out of’ (sôson ek), i.e. ‘bring Me safe out of;’ rather than ‘save Me from’ (sôson apo), i.e. ‘keep Me altogether away from,’ as in ‘deliver us from the evil’ (Matthew 6:13). S. John omits the Agony in the garden, which was in the Synoptists and was well known to every Christian; but he gives us here an insight into a less known truth, which is still often forgotten, that the agony was not confined to Gethsemane, but was part of Christ’s whole life. Others place the question at ‘from this hour,’ and the drift of the whole will then be, ‘How can I say, Father save Me from this hour? Nay, I came to suffer; therefore My prayer shall be, Father, glorify Thy Name.’

for this cause] These words are taken in two opposite senses; (1) that I might be saved out of this hour; (2) that Thy Name might be glorified by My obedience. Both make good sense. If the latter be adopted it would be better to transpose the stops, placing a full stop after ‘from this hour’ and a colon after ‘unto this hour.’John 12:27. Νῦν, now) Jesus had various foretastes of His passion, by which lie prepared Himself for it. This now, νῦν, has great weight: a second now occurs, John 12:31, “Now is the judgment of this world.” [So also ch. John 13:31, “Now is the Son of man glorified.” In both instances there follows after the ‘now,’ etc., a declaration of the shortness of the time yet left to Him: in this passage, at John 12:35, “Yet a little while is the light with you:” in the other passage (ch. John 13:31), at John 12:33, “Yet a little while I am with you.”—V. g.]—τετάρακται, is troubled) A becoming declaration. The horror of death, and the ardour of His obedience, were meeting together.[320]—καὶ τί εἴπω, and what shall I say) Jesus immediately sustains [buoys up] His soul in that very νῦν, now. A double-membered speech follows this formula; and the formula itself has this force, that His thought is to be regarded as having conceived the whole idea expressed [sentiment, viz., not only nature’s instinctive shrinking from suffering, but also full approval of God’s will] in one moment, although human language could not comprise the full expression of the whole in one moment; hence, as it were for the sake of προθεραπεία [precaution, lest His following words should be misunderstood, as though He were doubting, should He choose suffering], He saith, what SHALL I Say? not, what shall I choose? with which comp. [the rather different experience of Paul] Php 1:22, “What I shall choose I wot not: for I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart.”—σῶσόν με, save Me) The expression, Let this cup pass [Matthew 26:39], is akin to the expression here.—ἐκ τῆς ὥρας ταὺτης) from this hour of suffering. For the soul of Jesus was vividly realizing to itself this [hour of suffering], John 12:23.—ἀλλά, but however) Akin to this is tint expression, πλήν, “nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt” [Matthew 26:39].—διὰ τοῦτο, for this cause) Therefore came I to this hour, that I might come to this hour, and drain its cup of suffering to the dregs. An elliptical Ploce. [See Appendix. This figure is, when the same expression is put twice, once in the simple sense of the word itself, and once to express an attribute of it.]

[320] Truly both the glory and humiliation of Jesus Christ, the Son of GOD, exceed all comprehension. Thence resulted the marvellous attempering [temperamentum; mixture in due proportions] of the sacred affections of mind in the same Divine Being, of His thoughts, words, and whole course of action, in relation to the Father, to His disciples, and to all other men; whilst at one time the one state [that of His humiliation], at another time the other state [that of His Divine glory], claimed to itself the prominent place: with however this proviso, that in both cases the Becoming, that is, what was worthy of His own Divine Majesty, and condescension to His wretched brethren, in an altogether incomparable manner harmonise with one another, and agree together. To express these with propriety, not either the wisdom or skill of man would have sufficed: but the altogether exquisite success of the Evangelists, in this respect, plainly betrays the fact that they used a style divinely taught them.—Harm., p. 451.Verses 27-30. -

(2) The anticipation of Gethsemane. Verse 27. - Now, at this moment, has been and yet is my soul troubled ("concurrebat horror morris et ardor obedientisa," Bengel). In John 11:33 we hear that he troubled himself, and shuddered wrathfully in his "spirit" (πνεύμετι) at the contemplation of all the evils and curse of death; now his whole ψυχή, i.e. his life centered in its corporeal environment as a man, the self which the Son of God had taken up into the Divine essence, was in depth of agony, preluding the strong crying and tears to which Hebrews 5:7 refers. These perturbations of his soul and spirit can only be accounted for by the uniqueness of his Personality, the capacity for suffering, and the extent to which he was identifying himself with the sinful nature with which he had invested himself. Sin is the sting of death. He had by the nature of his incarnation become sin for us. Martyrs, freed from sin, delivered from its curse and shame and power through him, face it with calmness and hope; but there was infinite space in his breast for all the curse of it to rain its horrible tempest. He felt that the hour of his extremest travail had come upon him. And what shall I (must I) say? What is the regal passion of my heart? What is the right revelation for me to make to you? What is the prayer for me to offer to the Father? It remains a great question whether the next utterance is the primary answer of the question itself, or whether it continues the interrogation - whether, i.e., the Lord lifts up for a moment the cry of heart-rending grief, Father, save me from this hour! or whether he said, Shall I say, Father, save me from this hour? The first view supposes in the first place actual uncertainty and awful bewilderment, and then a most intense cry (Hebrews 5:7) to him who was able to save him from death. Save me either from the death itself, or from the fear and horror which accompanies it (Lucke, Meyer, Hengstenberg, and Moulton). It need not be a prayer to leave the world unsaved, to sacrifice all the work on which he had come. We are told by the apostle (Hebrews 5:7) that he was "heard" (ἀπὸ τῆς εὐλαβείας) and delivered from human weakness which might have rebelled in the intolerable darkness of that hour. Father, save me from this hour; the equivalent to the prayer, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me," with its grand "nevertheless," etc. If this be its meaning, we have a scene nearly, if not closely, identifiable with the agony of the garden. The correction which immediately follows augments the comparison with the scene in Gethsemane recorded by the synoptists. The R.T. and Revised Version have put their note of interrogation after ταύτης into the margin, and not into the text. Ewald, Lange, Kling, Tholuck, Lachmann, accept this punctuation, and Godet regards it as an hypothetical prayer, although he does not place the interrogation after ταύτης. The self-interrogation of the previous utterance at least reveals the presence of such a desire, but one which vanishes as the mysterious hour engulfs and wraps him round. If this be the true interpretation, then the clause that follows must be, Nay this I cannot say, for on account of this very conflict - for this cause - only to fight this great battle - I came steadily forward to this hour. I cannot pray to escape from it. If, however, we have the expression of an actual though momentary prayer, and if we give it the meaning, "bring me safely through and out of this hour," it corresponds with the Divine trust in the Father's love which, in the extremity of the anguish and desertion, he yet reveals, and the ἀλλά becomes equivalent to "Pray, this I need not say; the end is known" (Westcott). I know that I shall be delivered, for this cause, viz. that I should encounter and pass through the hour I came into the world, and have reached the final crisis. This is, to my mind, more satisfactory; the interrogative prayer gives a sentimental character to the utterance out of harmony with the theme. Godet thinks that the fact that, according to the synoptists, our Lord in the garden did actually offer the prayer which he here hesitates to present, is evidence of the historic character of both accounts. I differ from him, because the sublime answer to the prayer here given would seem to preclude the necessity of the final conflict. The circumstance that he did offer the prayer as interpreted above, a prayer which was veritably heard, is in harmony with the narrative of the agony. My soul

See reff. on John 12:25. The soul, ψυχή, is the seat of the human affections; the spirit (πνεῦμα) of the religious affections.

Is troubled (τετάρακται)

The perfect tense; has been disturbed and remains troubled. The same verb as in John 11:33. Notice that there it is said. He groaned in the spirit (τῷ πνεύματι). His inward agitation did not arise from personal sorrow or sympathy, but from some shock to His moral and spiritual sense.

What shall Isay?

A natural expression out of the depths of our Lord's humanity. How shall I express my emotion? Some commentators connect this with the following clause, shall I say, Father, save me, etc. But this does not agree with the context, and represents a hesitation in the mind of Jesus which found no place there.

Save me

The shrinking from suffering belongs to the human personality of our Lord (compare Matthew 26:39); but the prayer, save me from this hour, is not for deliverance from suffering, but for victory in the approaching trial. See Hebrews 5:7. The expression is very vivid. "Save me out of this hour."

For this cause

Explained by glorify thy name. For this use, namely, that the Father's name might be glorified.

Links
John 12:27 Interlinear
John 12:27 Parallel Texts


John 12:27 NIV
John 12:27 NLT
John 12:27 ESV
John 12:27 NASB
John 12:27 KJV

John 12:27 Bible Apps
John 12:27 Parallel
John 12:27 Biblia Paralela
John 12:27 Chinese Bible
John 12:27 French Bible
John 12:27 German Bible

Bible Hub






John 12:26
Top of Page
Top of Page