Glorifying His Name (John 12.20–32)

by Stephen Hebert on Wednesday - 30 November 2011

in Biblical Studies, New Testament

Today’s reading: John 12.20–32:

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.

‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’

I love this image of the heavens thundering, but the apostles hearing a voice:

“I have glorified [my name], and I will glorify it again.”

Within the immediate context of this passage, the voice must be referring to the crucifixion and resurrection. This is clear from the metaphorical meaning of the previous passage concerning the wheat which  must go into the ground in order to bear fruit. Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, however, is the firstfruits of a mighty harvest; we too must die in order to bear fruit.

My students often ask me: “What do I need to do to be in God’s will?” Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to accomplish God’s will, forgetting that he will take care of what is necessary to accomplish his promises. We strive and strive and strive, and so often we fail. My answer always comes from Matthew 23:

  1. Love God.
  2. Love others.

Notice the lack of selfishness here. There is no real concern for self — only for others. We kill of the self in order to serve the other. We experience a death that leads to ultimate life. Love God; love others. If we are doing these things, then I have no doubt that God’s name will be glorified.

Father in Heaven,
Let us, your humble servants glorify your name by loving you and loving those with whom we come into contact. May we never forget your abundant love and your own self-sacrifice as we die daily in the hope of the ultimate reward.

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