John 17 – Glory re-imagined

Glory is a fairly clear concept in the bible.  In the Hebrew the root word means “weight”.  So we think of the immensity of God, of his power, and of his love.  Moses had to be hidden in a crevice as the Glory of God passed by him and God declared his name – see Exodus 33:12 to Exodus 34:9.  Isaiah collapsed with an awareness of his sinfulness in the presence of the Almighty – see Isaiah 6.

In John 13-17, called the Upper Room Discourse, which contains his last evening together with the 12, ‘glory’ is uniquely defined. 

When Judas had just left to betray him, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified.”  This is not a future event, but a completed event.  At the moment of betrayal Jesus is glorified.

At the start of John 17, he prays for his ministry and for his followers.  the first verses use the words glory or glorify five times – starting with “Father, the hour has come to glorify your Son…”  Later in the prayer he says that the glory has been given to the disciples (v. 22), and still later he speaks of his eternal glory (v. 24).

At the outset of John’s Gospel we read, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father full of grace and truth.”  John 1:14.

So this glory was seen by John.  Some say at the Transfiguration event.  That was when Jesus was temporarily glorified in their sight.  But we think, in light of John 13-17, that the glory is broader.  It includes his pre-existence, but also the crucifixion – consider this passage

John 12:23-26  ESV
    And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. [24] Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. [25] Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. [26] If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

   So it seems to us that Glory includes what we see as being majestic, but it also includes what we see as humiliating – the long drawn out death of Christ that we summarize with the word crucifixion. 

  Is it that Glory refers to love?

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