May 20, 2013
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
Glory Times Four
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him.”
Verse 31 begins with the observation that the traitor, Judas, had left. The wheels of Satanic machinery were now moving to their end. But God was also working out His purposes. There was nothing left now but the betrayal, arrest, trial, and crucifixion.
Before the consciousness of the Lord Jesus is His impending shame and death. Yet, He speaks of it as the “Son of Man glorified.” The greatest display of His glory was in the shame of the cross. He took the greatest instrument of man’s cruelty and turned it into the greatest display of love; the lowest form of shame and ignominy and changed it into the clearest display of glory possible.
Glory is one of those terms difficult to define. But perhaps we come closest to it when we think in terms of ‘displayed excellence’. His self revelation at Calvary is the full disclosure of every virtue and excellence of His person. With limited spiritual vision, we see a few glimmers of it now and then. When a fresh beauty bursts upon our gaze, we bow in worship and wonder. As well, in His revelation of Himself, there is the glory of God secured and displayed. Thus He adds, “and God is glorified in Him.” In Isaiah 49:3, God said concerning His Servant, “Thou art My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” At Calvary, the perfect Servant fulfilled this purpose.
As a result of Christ glorifying the Father in His suffering and death, “God shall also glorify Him in Himself (in the Father).” This must refer to resurrection and exaltation. In Romans 6:4 we are told that Christ was raised by “the glory of the Father.” Just as God’s character demanded the death of Christ when He bore our sins on the cross, in like manner every attribute of God demanded His resurrection. All that the Father is called for the resurrection of Christ. It was impossible for Him to remain in the tomb!
But the trail of glory does not end with the exaltation of Christ. “And shall straightway glorify Him” may embrace the resurrection and ascension, but God has invested Him with even more glories: He is the risen and exalted Man, a new order of man. He is Head over all. He has been seated at God’s right hand. He is the exalted Prince and Savior; He is the Expectant Sovereign; He is the enthroned Lord of all. God will continue to glorify His Son; and the Son will eternally glorify the Father by revealing to us His displayed excellence.
“It was night” (v 30). Look at how John uses physical terms throughout His Gospel to give insight into the spiritual. See for example to name only a few: ch 3:3; 18:18; 20:1.
In the Old Testament, the title Son of Man, is linked with glory (see Daniel 7). Does that give any suggestion as to why it is employed here?