John 13:31-38 – The Cross and Glorification

We saw last week how Jesus revealed and explained the betrayal of Judas.
·  Immediately on the heels of this He makes a profound statement about His glorification.
·  We need to understand the significance of His statement.
·  And we will also see a striking contrast being made in our text today.
·  The contrast between the majesty of a glorified Jesus and the weakness of a dedicated follower.

Today’s text is typically seen as the introduction/beginning of Jesus’ Farewell Discourse.
·  The setting for this discourse is the Last Supper.
·  Jesus begins the discourse by teaching about glorification.
·  The discourse ends at the end of chapter 14 with Jesus’ words, “Rise, let us go from here”.


John 13:31–32 (ESV) — 31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.

As we near the crucifixion, John continues to bring to our attention the events that signal that Jesus’ “hour has come”.
·  The Greeks, previously.
·  Judas’ departure and coming betrayal, today.

John showed us the Greeks in John 12.
·  John 12:21 & 23 (ESV) — 21 So these [the Greeks] came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

And in today’s text, we see the significance of Judas’ departure and coming betrayal.
·  When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified…

In each instance, Jesus’ own words tell us exactly what is meant by “hour has come”.
·  The coming hour is the Son of Man’s glorification.
·  Glorification of the Son of Man, as we have learned previously, took place on the cross and the events that followed.
·  Son of Man” was Jesus’ favorite term for Himself and it comes from Daniel 7.
o   Daniel 7:13 (ESV) — 13 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.

This glorification is so important that in today’s text Jesus cites three ways this glorification will take place.
·  Before we explore the three ways, we need to get a little OT background.

OT Background for the Glorification:
·  Psalm 110:1 (ESV) — 1 The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
o   Most quoted OT text in NT - 21 quotes or allusions.
·  Isaiah 52:13 (ESV) — 13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.

In these two verses, which the NT writers’ see as directly referring to Jesus Christ, we see four things emphasized.
·  He is called “Lord” (Yahweh)
·  He sits at the right hand of the Father
·  He will be lifted up
·  He shall be exalted

These four things lay the foundation from which we can understand the 3 ways Jesus speaks of glorification in our text today.

The Three Ways God’s Glory is Manifested:
1) EXALTATION – “God will also glorify him in himself” (vs. 32)
·  This glorification will take place with the events after the resurrection.
·  It “looks beyond the cross to His exaltation to the Father’s right hand” – MacArthur.
·  Jesus put it this way in Matthew.
o   Matthew 26:64 (ESV) — 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

And in the NT, Luke explicitly links this exaltation of Christ to His right hand to the will and action of the Father.
·  Acts 5:31 (ESV) — 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
·  This exaltation of Jesus by God the Father to his right hand after the cross and resurrection is how God glorified “him in himself”.

Why is this exaltation a glorification of Jesus?
·  There, seated with God on God’s throne, Jesus exercises or participates in God’s unique sovereignty over the whole cosmos” – Richard Bauckham.
o   This is powerful Jewish symbolism of the Messiah’s divinity.
o   Only God is Ruler and Sovereign over creation.
o   And the Messiah, the Suffering Servant, is pictured in these verses as being at the place where only the Ruler and Sovereign of creation is.
·  Notice how all this relates to our OT background text.
·  The Father’s exaltation of Jesus is powerful glorification indeed.

The significance of this exaltation/glorification is underscored by how many times the NT writers referred to it.
·  Mark 16:19 (ESV) — 19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.
·  Luke 22:69 (ESV) — 69 But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”
·  Acts 2:33 (ESV) — 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.
·  Acts 7:55-56 (ESV) — 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
·  Romans 8:34 (ESV) — 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
·  Ephesians 1:20 (ESV) — 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
·  Hebrews 1:3 (ESV) — 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
·  1 Peter 3:22 (ESV) — 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

2) LIFTED UP – “Now is the Son of Man glorified” (vs. 31)
·  As we have said, this refers directly to the crucifixion.
·  How is the Cross part of Jesus’ glorification?
·  To answer this question, we need to look at how Jesus referred to the cross.
·  Notice how it relates to the OT background text. – Isa. 52:13.

Jesus’ view of the cross:
·  John 3:14–15 (ESV) — 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
·  John 8:28 (ESV) — 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.
·  John 12:32–33 (ESV) — 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

Jesus’ referred to His going to the cross as being “lifted up”.
·  Jesus characterized the “lifted up” as:
o   Necessary for the “whoever” to have eternal life.
o   Evidence that He is the “Son of Man”.
o   Evidence that He operates at the direction and “authority” of the Father.
o   An event that will draw “all people”, Jew and Gentile alike.
·  And, importantly, scholars tell us that, in Jesus’ language, to be “lifted up” is another form of exaltation.

In John’s Gospel, then, “the exaltation of the Servant of which [Isaiah 52:13] speaks is the whole sequence of humiliation, suffering, death…” – Richard Bauckham.
·  “The glorification of the Son of Man takes place in his ‘lifting up’ on the cross and to the throne of heaven” – Beasely-Murray.
·  So the glorification is not just (1) the exalted right hand of God; but (2) also “lifted up” on the cross.
·  The Jew would have found it more difficult than us to see the cross as an exalted place of glorification.
o   They thought it was a curse.
·  But it is even more than that.
·  Profoundly, “the witness, the humiliation, the death and the exaltation of the Servant of the Lord is the way in which God reveals his glory and demonstrates his deity to the world” – Richard Bauchkham.
o   In other words, Jesus on the Cross = I am God.

So, God the Father glorifies Jesus through the events that flow from the Cross and the Cross itself glorifies Jesus.
·  The Cross intersects with the glory of Christ and God’s glorification of Christ.
o   1) Exalted and on the Throne – Ruler and Creator
o   2) Lifted up and on the Cross – Servant and Savior
·  What is the third way?

3) ATTRIBUTES REVEALED – “God is glorified in him” (vs. 32)
·  How is God the Father glorified on the cross?

John MacArthur suggests that the cross glorifies the Father in at least (5) ways.
·  The Cross glorifies the God the Father because it highlights the attributes of God:
o   God’s Power
o   God’s Justice
o   God’s Holiness
o   God’s Faithfulness
o   God’s Love

God’s Power:
·  God demonstrated His power of death by raising Jesus.
·  Acts 3:15 (ESV) — 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.
·  Acts 13:30 (ESV) — 30 But God raised him from the dead,

God’s Justice:
·  God dispensed justice by sending Jesus to the cross to take the judgment for our sin.
·  1 Peter 2:24 (ESV) — 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

God’s Holiness:
·  God showed the depths of His holiness by demonstrating the extent of His hatred for sin by cursing Jesus.
·  Galatians 3:13 (ESV) — 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—

God’s Faithfulness:
·  God showed His faithfulness because He promised to redeem the sinner and did so through Jesus Christ.
·  Genesis 22:17–18 (ESV) — 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
·  We know from Paul that this blessing finds ultimate fulfillment in Jesus.
·  Galatians 3:16 (ESV) — 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.

God’s Love:
·  God showed His love for us because He sent His Son to the cross for us.
·  Romans 5:8 (ESV) — 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

It is telling that, hours before His death, Jesus directs the disciples to the Father, Himself and the glory they will share in the coming events.
·  This tells us, once again, that the focus of our lives and efforts is to be God and not ourselves.
·  And as we are about to see, His glory is a stark contrast to our weakness.
·  This helps explain why His glory serves as the introduction to His Farewell Discourse.


John 13:33 & 36–38 (ESV) —  33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’” 36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” 37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.

This text is similar to a conversation Jesus had with the Jews.
·  John 7:34 (ESV) — 34 You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.”
·  John 8:21 (ESV) — 21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.”
·  However, unlike those conversations, Jesus assures the disciples that “you will follow afterward”.

Peter, however, wants to demonstrate his willingness to follow now.
·  He boldly claims, “I will lay down my life for you”.
·  In this exchange, John’s irony comes out again.
·  Peter will give his life following a risen Jesus – “afterward”.
·  However, at this time Jesus tells Peter that not only
o   He can’t follow Jesus
o   But, He will even deny Jesus.

We don’t know exactly why Peter denied Jesus.
·  Perhaps fear, or a lukewarm commitment.
·  But we do know why it is that no one, not even the disciples, could follow Jesus to the cross.
·  Only He was the unblemished lamb fit for sacrifice.

Lessons for Us:
·  It is interesting to me that the introduction of the Farewill Discourse contrasts the power and majesty of a glorified Jesus with the weakness of a dedicated follower.
·  This contrast brings our attention to the assurance found in Jesus’ choosing us before our believing.
o   Something taught in John so clearly.
·  Jesus chose the twelve as we saw last week.
·  This work of God, this choosing, is something they (and we) could trust and be confident in.
·  However, to place confidence in our own actions, as we see here, is tenuous at best.