Jesus is glorified and glorifies God in his death (John 13:31)

Carson points out that while there is nothing unique about the word translated “glorify” (used twice in v. 31 and once in v. 32) is written in a unique way that corresponds to the Hebrew word that refers to the “revelation of God’s splendid activity” (Carson 482).

This is why Jesus refers to himself  in this verse (for the last time in John’s Gospel) as “the Son of Man” since that term refers to his glory and exaltation and the salvation that he brings in his glory and exaltation.

Jesus presents his exaltation as already having happened while Judas is just beginning the process of betrayal. This emphasizes the certainty and finality of the event. Nothing can or will prevent these events now that they have begun.

This glorification presents us with a paradox, however. Leon Morris writes, “The glorification of Christ is connected with what appears to human understanding as the very opposite of glory” (Morris, 560). The early church father Origen used the term “humble gory” to describe Jesus’ looking at the cross while he talks about his glorification.

God, that is The Father, is glorified also because their glories are bound up together. This is because their purposes are united (cf. 5:19-20).

This alone should change our fundamental perceptions of death and life as good or bad. No one wants to die but for the believer death is not defeat and it’s certainly not an end. It is the necessary transition to the presence of Jesus. It’s interesting that in the South Christian funerals are often called “Homegoing Services” because like Ruth we are returning to a home where we have never been.

I have said more than once to someone grieving the passing of a loved one that if you are a believer then you undoubtedly believe they are in a place they would not want to leave. If you knew now how “better” that place really is you wouldn’t want her here. Most of the time they respond with something like, “Yes, I know I’m selfish for wanting her here when she wants to be with the Lord.”

I texted someone right after two beautiful and godly older ladies from our church had gone to be with the Lord. This person asked if they had heard correctly that these two ladies had passed and I texted something like, “I hate for you to hear it via text but yes, they have.” They responded with, “It’s okay; I’m trying to be happy for them.” I have thought often about that because that’s exactly the sort of sorrow mixed with joy that we as believers must exhibit.

This is why the Psalmist can sing, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). Not because God takes a morbid interest in the deaths of those who believe in him but because he is glorified when, like our Savior, we triumph over death by living forever in his presence and he will be glorified once again when our bodies, too, triumph over death when we are raised from the dead just as our Savior was.

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About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
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