God’s Glory in Christ’s Death (John 13:31-33)

John 13:31-33


31     When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32     If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33     Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’


            Once Judas left the Passover room with the intent of handing Jesus over to the authorities, Jesus turned to his remaining 11 disciples and began to teach them.  From verse 31 of chapter 13 all the way through the end of chapter 17, we will see Jesus prepare his disciples for the events to come.  He has already started getting them ready through the foot washing at the beginning of chapter 13, but it will become more intense as time passes.


            And Jesus begins this preparing of his disciples by telling them that now he, the Son of Man, is glorified.  Now?  Now that Judas has left to betray Jesus, now that the pieces are set in motion, now Jesus is truly glorified.


            Keep going.  God the Father is glorified in Jesus because Jesus is glorified in the way he is glorified.  If God is glorified, which we know he is, then God the Father will in turn glorify Jesus.  So, whatever is going on here, it is causing a reflection of glory to be shared between God the Father and God the Son.  What is happening right now, right in the midst of a dark and sad room, is somehow serving to magnify the glory of God both in Christ and in his Father.


            And, in case you think of the glory of Jesus as some future event that is to come upon his return, notice that Jesus says that the Father will glorify the Son at once.  Right away will the Lord Jesus be glorified.  Right now, the glory is happening.  Right now, God is glorified in Jesus and Jesus is glorified in his Father.  Right now.


            How?  How is Jesus being glorified?  Look at what he says in verse 33.  Jesus tells his disciples that he is going away from them.  He tells them that, just like he told the Jews earlier in chapters 7 and 8, where he is going they cannot follow.  Though they look for him, they will not be able to find him.


            Now, tie this together with me to see what God wants us to learn here.  Jesus is glorified.  What does it mean to be glorified?  To be glorified has in its meaning the concept of being seen as big, heavy, or weighty.  So, when Jesus is glorified, he is saying that what is happening shows his importance, his value, his gravity, his weight, his worth.  The glory and importance of Jesus is made known, made clear, by what is going on.  And that glory is shared between Jesus and the rest of the holy trinity.  God the Father is glorified in Jesus and God the Father glorifies Jesus.  Whatever is happening, it is happening for the purpose of showing the world the great value and importance, the overall supremacy and bigness of the Lord Jesus and God the Father.


            What is happening to glorify Jesus?  Well, he says in verse 32 that it is happening right away.  In verse 33, he tells his disciples that he is going somewhere they cannot.  There is no doubt; Jesus is talking about the cross.  In less than 24 hours, Jesus will be nailed to a Roman cross.  In less than 24 hours, the perfect and sinless Son of God will suffer, bleed, and die.  He will do this, not because he did wrong.  Instead, he will suffer and die in order to pay for the sins of those whom God will save.  It is the event of the sacrifice of the Son of God, the vilest act in all of human history, which is also the moment of the display of the glory of God for all to see.


Think of it in the words of an old and wonderful hymn.


Hallelujah What A Savior


Man of Sorrows! What a name
For the Son of God, Who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!


Bearing shame and scoffing rude,

In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!


Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!


Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!


When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!


            When you think about the cross, do you think about glory?  Do you see that the cross, besides being the instrument of your salvation, is also the tool by which God shows you how big, how awesome, how loving, and how glorious is he?  Do you see in the wounds of the Lord Jesus only sorrow; or do you see in his stripes the markings of rank, of honor, of glory?


            Christians, may we never be ashamed of the cross.  May we never look at the sacrifice of Jesus as a small thing.  May we never lose our understanding that the Lord’s death was a way for him to show us his glory.  Remember the cross, and see the glory of the Lord Jesus.