Updated: Feb 20
Jesus has raised Lazarus from the dead. He has been anointed King as Mary anointed His feet with oil. He has made His entrance into Jerusalem. People lined the streets to greet Him. Yet, a plot is underway to take His life—all of this as Jesus steps closer to the cross.
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” (Jn. 12:23 NIV)
“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?” Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.” (NIV)
Jesus has come to the “hour” of the cross, and Jesus tells us His soul is troubled. The Gospel of John does not record Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane as do the Synoptic Gospels (Mt. 26; Mk. 14; Lk. 22).
"Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (NIV)
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus prays three times for this cup to pass from Him. He also surrenders to the Father’s will three times “yet not what I want but what you want.” We must see and understand the humanity (the person) of Jesus. We can tend to focus on the Deity of Jesus, to see His miracles, Him walking on water, healing the sick, but we often lose sight that Jesus was fully human. He became tired, He was sometimes hungry, and at times His soul was troubled. John wants us to know and to see Jesus was genuinely human.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (NIV)
This revelation of Jesus is truly one of the most extraordinary truths about Jesus. People have contemplated this truth for many years. This truth would allow John to record later:
1 JOHN 2:1
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (NIV)
GLORIFY YOUR NAME
Jesus demonstrates His surrender and desire to glorify the Father:
“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (NIV)
Save me from this hour? No Father, glorify your name! Although Jesus is deeply troubled in His soul, like the scene in the Garden of
Gethsemane, Jesus’ ultimate desire is to glorify the Father. No matter His personal cost, Jesus desires for the Father to be glorified.
This is a difficult place. Following Jesus means we will follow Him to the cross. Anxiety, fear, doubt, troubles can all come on us. In these times, what is our choice? The choice for Jesus was not easy. It was not without great distress. However, no matter the cost, He intended to glorify the Father. We can be distressed, but we can also trust in the Father. We need to desire the Father’s glory in our distress.
As Jesus continues, He speaks about the judgment that has come into the world. Now is when the ruler of this world will be driven out. He also speaks of being lifted up. Jesus is talking about His coming death on the cross and how He will draw all people to Himself at this time. From prophets through the Psalms, Israel had heard of how God was to establish His kingdom forever. The law speaks of the Messiah remaining forever (ref. Jn. 12:34). The crowd understands what Jesus is saying. When Jesus talks about being lifted up from the earth (ref. Jn. 12:32), they know He is speaking about a Roman cross and His death on a cross. The question, though, is, “Who is the Son of Man if you are going to die on a cross?”
“Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.” (NIV)
This seems like a bit of a confusing answer. Why is Jesus talking about light? Jesus is making a bold statement that ties us back to the beginning of John’s gospel.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (NIV)
The crowd asked, “Who is the Son of Man?” Jesus responds by saying I am the Light. Jesus is saying He is the Son of Man. The One the prophets and Psalms spoke.