Wednesday in the Twenty-Third Week of Ordinary Time

John 12:20-36a

What Jesus Considered His Glory

We are now in the last week of our Lord’s life on earth.  All four gospels record the drama and significance of those last few days so that we may know their meaning.  As usual, John records sayings of Jesus that the others do not, and here is one such occasion of those precious words.  It is hard to tell on what day of the week, but it appears to be early, maybe Monday.  The passage begins with some “Greeks” coming to Philip wishing to see Jesus, and then Philip and Andrew informing Jesus of their request.  We never read of what actually happened with the meeting; John is more interested in what Jesus says because of the request: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”  It would seem that these Greeks represent the coming of the Gentiles, or the nations, to the Lord.  And so now must his purpose for coming to earth in the flesh reach its consummation on the cross so that these may be gathered into his Church.

And it is at this place that we learn from our Lord, not just why he came, but even more, what he considered his glory.  The grain of wheat that falls into the earth must die to bear fruit, and only the one who dies to the world can live unto God.  And then our Lord admits that his soul is troubled.  How could it not be given the agony which awaited him?  But then he adds, “And what shall I say, ‘Father, save me from this hour?’  But for this purpose I have come to this hour.”  And then he adds those words so full of submission and majesty, “Father, glorify your name.”  And the Father answers back, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

It is a glorious scene, is it not?  And yet in the midst of all of this glory, is the recognition that the glory of which Christ speaks is the glory of the cross.  The supreme glory of Almighty God is that His Son be lifted up – on a cross.  And this is exactly how the people understood it.  This is why they respond in disbelief, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever.  How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up?”  They had reason to say this (2 Samuel 7:13; Psalm 61:6-7; 89:3-4, 35-37; Isaiah 9:7).  But they only knew of those passages which speak of Christ’s exaltation and not those which speak of the Christ’s antecedent humiliation (Isaiah 53).  And it is precisely this humiliation which he considers his glory.  And it is this about the gospel, about our God, that is so offensive to human nature: God coming in the flesh, God condemned as a criminal; God dying on a cross.  “We preach Christ crucified,” Paul said (1 Corinthians 1:20-24).  This is God’s glory, and if we shall be his followers, the cross shall be our glory as well.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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