"'Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? "Father, save Me from this hour"? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.' Then a voice came from heaven, saying, 'I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.' Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, 'An angel has spoken to Him.' Jesus answered and said, 'This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.' This He said, signifying by what death He would die" (John 12:27-33).
"Now My soul is troubled" - Jesus admits the difficulty He was having in living up to the principle of sacrifice that He had stated in the previous verses (cf. John 12:23-26). Jesus ponders the alternative (i.e., not sacrificing Himself) and what He would pray to the Father in view of such. He knows that He cannot rightly ask the Father to spare Him from self-sacrifice, for that was His purpose in coming to Earth as a man in the first place (i.e., that He might make eternal life possible through a sacrificial death; cf. Luke 19:10).
Let it be mentioned here that we are to have the mind of Christ (cf. Phil. 2:5). Thus, it is not improper or cowardly to be troubled by one's approaching death. However, even if we are troubled, we must submit to God's will and continue to seek His glory in all things. This is what Jesus did--our perfect example.
Instead of asking for deliverance, Jesus puts that thought out of His mind for the moment and makes this request - "Father, glorify Your name." The Father responded by stating that it had been glorified (cf. Matt. 3:17; 17:5) and that it would be glorified again. The Father's name is glorified when He is honored, not through arrogant or selfish actions, but through obedience. Jesus had thus far glorified His Father through His sinless living, bold teaching, and miracle working. The Father would be glorified again when Jesus honored Him by dying on the cross for the sins of the world. To do this was to carry out the Father's will, and such would make possible even more glorification (i.e., through the establishment of the church, through the gospel message spreading to all the world, etc.).
There is no doubt that those present heard a noise of some sort when the Father spoke from heaven, but it seems that few, if any, could understand the message. It is unknown as to why this was, for it seems reasonable that they should have been able to comprehend it (cf. John 12:30). However, the key to their failure to understand may lie in the fact that the crowd was, for the most part, composed of unbelievers (cf. 12:37). They wouldn't be expecting anything like this to happen or maybe they didn't even believe that such was possible. When one is skeptical about something (or someone), it is easy to come up with various "explanations" for that which is "unusual" (e.g., "It wasn't a voice from heaven but merely thunder"). Those with a little faith thought it possible that an angel may have spoken to Him.
"This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake" - The purpose of the heavenly voice was to show the Father's approval of Jesus' approaching sacrifice to the multitude, that they might believe in Him.
"Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out" (John 12:31). The word "now" is repeated to emphasize the fact that the events being described were to happen very soon. The crucifixion of Jesus was the crisis (i.e., the turning point; the time of decision) in the contest between God and Satan (cf. Gen. 3:15) as to whom would rule the world. Though Satan could rightly be called the prince of the world (cf. Eph. 2:2), Jesus' death (and resurrection) would break his power over man and he would be "cast out." Satan's reign began to decline at Calvary and will be completely terminated at the end of the world.
"And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself" (cf. 3:14; 8:28). "All peoples" would definitely include Jews and Gentiles (cf. 12:20-23). It is interesting to note that the phrase "lifted up" comes from a Greek word meaning "exalted." Though Jesus' enemies intended to destroy Him, they actually exalted Him to the position of Savior by lifting Him up on the cross.
In John 12:33, the apostle tells us that Jesus' previous statement was intended to be an indicator of how He would die (in other words, it was a prophecy). We will continue studying this narrative in our next lesson.