27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
Out of all the things John remembers to write about, these words profoundly stuck with him. As we read John 12, we’ll notice the predominate theme of glory. Perhaps coming straight from this particular experience. Strangely enough, when Jesus invites his Father to display the glory of his name, a voice from heaven declares that God’s glory has already been revealed and continues to be revealed. Before we get into the study for today, let’s pause and imagine hearing the voice of God declaring that he’s continuing to glorify his name. Whoa. God most definitely could say that every day, but this was such a profound moment because Jesus warns his disciples that he’s about to uncover an extra-ordinary display of divine glory. So, buckle up.
Whenever a word is repeated in Scripture, we pay extra attention to it, but when God opens the heavens to speak, we probably should explore what he means. The trouble is, “glory” is a slippery word. It’s a bit of ethereal and when we try to define it, the concept can lose some of its luster. Nevertheless, glory carries several ideas within it – weight, illumination, display of something majestic. On one hand, God’s glory is all around us. Psalms 19 looks to our physical surroundings to display the glory of God. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalms 19:1). On the other hand, God’s glory is hidden from us. When Moses asks God to, “please show me your glory,” God says, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live” (Exodus 33:18-23). That’s why we need God to expose his glory, so we learn what he’s really like.
As Jesus turns toward the cross, God unveils the most brilliant display of his glory in all of history thus far. Arguably greater than God’s act of creating the entire universe. The curtain is pulled back and God demonstrates some of his most extraordinary qualities. Mind-blowing attributes that make our heads spin. When Jesus commits to obedience onto the cross, as his soul is deeply troubled, he displays the supernatural weightiness and illuminates the spectacular wonder of the character of God.
Why do I say this?
Because, what kind of God decides that the best way to conquer his opposition is to let the opposing side “win”? Only a God who has the immense power and authority to completely obliterate evil proving that evil has absolutely no control over him. What kind of God determines to undergo exorbitant amounts of pain and sorrow (to the point that his soul is deeply troubled) under the ruling of his enemy in order to carry every affliction of sin with him to the grave? Only a God who zealously wants to free his loved ones from every ounce of bondage they experience in their living hell. And, what kind of God would choose to die on behalf of saving his enemy? Only a God whose heart is merciful to the vilest of evil.
This means Jesus’ final act in surrendering himself to a horrific crucifixion is in complete congruence with his character. Jesus is the kind of God whose character is 100% mercy and 100% just. In order to straighten out evil while remaining merciful to every infected being, God demonstrates the most glorious act in all eternity. As much as your mind can possibly allow, sit with this concept today.
By Yvonne Biel