It’s all about Glory

John 13.31-33

Judas leaves the room and the conversation changes. Judas stepping into the night v30 seems to take the darkness with him. The second half of John’s gospel is all about glory it is just not as the world would recognize it. Jesus’ face is set towards a journey to glory. ‘When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him”.’ v31 Glory for most comes from a public display of triumph but Jesus in less than 24 hours was to gasp his last breath on a Roman cross. A very public display but to those watching at the time an utterly humiliating defeat. A world view of glory and a Godly view of glory being in sharp contrast because the world did not understand what Jesus’ had been teaching. Even his closest disciples at this stage failed to grasp the nature of how it was that God the Father was going to glorify Jesus. The words Jesus spoke were intended to stay in their memory so that in a few short days they would understand firstly that Jesus knew what was coming and secondly it had been God’s prophesied plan for mankind’s salvation.

Jesus could have been drawing on Isaiah’s second servant song describing the Messiah who will save the nations. ‘You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’ Isaiah 49.3 There is a mutual glorifying effect, the saving sacrifice Jesus was about to make would bring glory to both Jesus and God the Father. The repeated use of the word glory in verses 31 and 32 indicates glory above normal honour, this is supreme glory. The Message version provides a straight forward understanding of a verse that can seem confusing in NIV or ESV. When he had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is seen for who he is, and God seen for who he is in him. The moment God is seen in him, God’s glory will be on display. In glorifying him, he himself is glorified—glory all around!’ vv 31-32 (The Message)

Jesus, knowing the disciples forthcoming emotional and spiritual confusion seeks to soften the blow. What he is about to do no other person can do. In a very short while they will feel left alone but he is saying you have already heard me speak about this to the Jews. v33 Here he meant the Jewish leaders as well as the crowds. They were about to witness Godly glory. They were about to witness the most significant moment in history and he had to do it on his own. The only perspective that would matter would be how God the Father saw the unfolding events.

The loneliness of Jesus’ crucifixion must have been extreme. It was the only time in eternity when Jesus and the Father have been separated as seen in his agonised cry from the cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Matthew 27.46 Jesus’ path to glory was down a road of suffering, rejection and mockery.

How does this bear upon our own path of discipleship? Where and in what way are we seeking plaudits? What have we got to say to God if we would rather be in a different place to do his work? Are we liable to grumble if events have not turned out to be how we initially hoped? Have we in the past promised to sacrificially follow Christ but are now saying, ‘not this sacrifice, can’t I be associated with something a bit more fun, a bit easier, a bit more glamourous, a bit more recognised?’ ‘Just not here Lord, alright?’ Do we sometimes think, I deserve more than this.

Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ v27 In only a few hours he was to deny he knew Jesus. Jesus knew that, but Peter would, about 30 years later, die on a cross for his faith in Jesus, as Jesus indicated. “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” v36 Peter the person who Jesus chose to found his church in the end walked the same path as Jesus.

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

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