I have often thought that Paul and I share the same thorn in the flesh: neither one of us is quick on our feet. The reason I always preach with a full manuscript in front of me, is that without an anchor, I’d ramble on for an hour. (For an interesting discussion of preaching style and introversion, read this post at Until Translucent”). In my reading of Paul’s letters, it seems like he has a similar problem. Dude can ramble. This week, however, I’ve noticed that on at least one occasion, Jesus had the same problem. Our Gospel lesson for the Fifth Sunday of Easter seems to show Jesus tripping over his words.
“Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.”
OK, glory, we get it. Still, there must have been something to that word, glory, for Jesus to use it four times in rapid succession. Digging a little deeper, I found some interesting notes in Robertson’s Word Pictures and the Friberg Lexicon (both from BibleWorks)
- (13:31f) Is glorified (edoxasthê). First aorist passive of doxazô, consummation of glory in death both for the Son and the Father. For this verb in this sense see already 7:39; 12:16 and later 17:3. Four times here in verses 31f.
- (7:39) Jesus was not yet glorified (hoti Iêsous oupô edoxasthê). Reason for the previous statement, the pentecostal outpouring following the death of Jesus here called “glorified” (edoxasthê, first aorist passive indicative of doxazô), used later of the death of Jesus (12:16), even by Jesus himself (12:23; 13:31).
- (17:3) Glorify thy Son (doxason sou ton huion). First aorist active imperative of doxazô, the only personal petition in this prayer. Jesus had already used this word doxazô for his death (13:31f.). Here it carries us into the very depths of Christ’s own consciousness. It is not merely for strength to meet the Cross, but for the power to glorify the Father by his death and resurrection and ascension, “that the Son may glorify thee” (hina ho huios doxasêi se). Purpose clause with hina and the first aorist active subjunctive.
- 7108 doxazw (1) as giving or sharing a high status glorify, make great (RO 8.30); (2) as enhancing the reputation of God or man praise, honor, magnify (MK 2.12); (3) as putting into a position of power and great honor, especially in the future life glorify (JN 7.39); (4) passive; (a) of things greatly valued and excellent be wonderful, be glorious (1P 1.8); (b) of persons receiving great honor be glorified, be praised (LU 4.15)
So maybe he isn’t stumbling. Here, in Jesus’ last hours before his death, it seems that he wants to make it very clear that what is about to happen is not a tragedy, but rather a glorification. Jesus won’t be hung on a cross in John’s Gospel, but rather lifted up. He’ll be exalted in this final act of love and humility. It won’t be a bad Friday, but rather Good Friday.
The details of a passage often make me look first at myself: why am I noticing this or that? Ultimately, however, there is usually something to be learned, even in the seemingly useless repetition of a word. This is why I love preaching. I love exegesis. I love the living, breathing Scriptures.