Rev. Dick is pastor of Grace Protestant Reformed Church in Standale, Michigan.
It was dark. Very dark. It was the darkness of sin. The time of the power of darkness….
The Devil’s darkness! This world’s prince. Dark ruler. Chaining men to darkness. Confusing darkness. Death’s darkness.
For this was judgment. Judgment of the God who is light and in whom is no darkness at all. Who hates sin. Who sends the darkness plague. Dark deeds, dark heresies, dark rebellions deserve damning darkness.
God kills darkness. Justice, Godness, demand darkness’ death.
Behold! There is light! Speaking in the darkness! Last public discourse of light….
Light. Very Light!
There had been light. The first day! Yes! Out of the darkness of the face of the deep, light! Light too, in the garden, in the fellowship of God, Adam, and Eve.
But this is the light of another day. It is the light after the night. Out of sin’s night…light! The redeeming light. Jesus Christ! Light of mercy and grace. This Godness of the same holy, just God, darkness Killer.
Behold! New light! Something of it in Old Testament’s tunnel. But now the end of that, the dawn of the gospel day.
Behold! Strange light. Strange: uncreated, divine, incarnate light. Strange: brilliant, source of all light. Brighter than a thousand suns. But dimmed. A man. A babe. A manger. Growing. Learning. Tempted. Suffering. Dying light…. Strange too: light of grace! We understand justice. We live by it and die by it. Dog eat dog. Sinners sin and fight and die. But light of grace? Light not scorching but saving sinners? Light dying, atoning, all but out, that we might live, and live in light?
Behold! Soon! Glorification of the light! Light going up honored and exalted. Light at the right hand of God. Jesus—light glorified with the Father Himself and with the glory He had with Him before the world was. Father, unchangeable Light—glorified in the Son’s brilliance. And, behold, the graced—the church glorified!
Eye hath not seen…but it is revealed. Light revealed. And the glorification of the light is revealed. Many glorifications!
“The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.” “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” “And I, if I be lifted up from earth, will draw all men unto me.”
In the inspired John. Searching by His light. Behold these glorifications!
For Study, Meditation, & Discussion
1. We would see Jesus! (vv. 21, 22)
Certain Greeks were among them that came up (to Jerusalem) to worship at the Passover feast. They requested of Philip: “Sir, we would see Jesus!”
Is there any indication in their conduct, or their request, or in Jesus’ response to their request, that these Greeks were true converts? Why do the Greeks go to Philip, and not directly to Jesus?
We would see Jesus too! Why is this our urgent request: that we might see Jesus? How do we “see” Jesus today? At least one pulpit, I am told, has the request of the Greeks engraved on it. Comment on the relation between seeing Jesus and the preaching of the gospel.
2. Jesus announces His own glorification (v. 23-32).
What is this glorification of the Son of man? How does the language Jesus uses to express His glorification suggest the pre-ordination or divine appointment of His glorification? Refer to other texts which teach this same thing: the ordination of the glorification of Jesus. (Here’s one: Colossians 1:15-20.)
Jesus’ glorification will be only in the way of His humiliation and suffering, even unto death. Explain how Jesus teaches this by way of the analogy of a corn of wheat falling into the ground and dying (v. 24). Explain how Jesus teaches this in verses 32-34.
At the time of this announcement of His glorification Jesus experiences this humiliation and suffering. “Now is my soul troubled,” Jesus says, as He wrestles with the prospect of the terrible suffering He must endure (v. 27). This terrible commotion of soul is like unto that which the Savior would soon feel in the garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26: 38, 39). How is this anguish of soul possible for Jesus, Son of God? Why is it necessary?
3. The announcement of the glorification of the Father (vv. 28-30).
To Jesus’ request, “Father, glorify thy name,” a voice from heaven replies ( v. 28): “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
What do these words mean? When did the Father glorify His name, and when shall He?
What is the relation between the glorification of the Son and the glorification of the Father (cf. John 5:23; Hint: consider also: what is the Name of God?)?
Why, at this time and others (e.g., Jesus’ baptism; Mount of Transfiguration), did the Father speak, audibly, to Jesus? What does Jesus mean in verse 30 when He says that this voice from heaven was not because of, or on account of, Himself, but for the sake of those to whom He was speaking?
4. The announcement of the glorification of the church (vv. 24-32).
The glorification of the church is described in various ways in the passage. Jesus speaks of the “life eternal” which the self-denying believer shall have (v. 25). He mentions the “honor” that the Father will give to believers (v. 26). He speaks of drawing all unto Himself (v. 32).
Recall other passages which speak of the glorification of the church. Explain what “glorification” for us is. List several characteristics of this blessed state.
A major point Jesus is making in this passage is that this glorification, this salvation of the church, shall be universal—of a church of every nation. This point Jesus makes, I believe, in answer to the request of the Greeks to see Him (vv. 20, 23). The church will include Jews, and also Greeks! Upon the corn of wheat’s dying, there will be “much fruit (v. 24). “All men” shall be drawn to Himself (v.32). Recall other passages which speak of the “church universal.” Do we see the church manifest “universally” today? Where?
The church’s glorification occurs only through her self-denial, service, and suffering. Explain what this is in light of verses 25, 26 and other passages. Explain this in light of the gospel of salvation by grace alone. In this suffering how is the church like her Lord? What are some important differences between Jesus’ suffering and the church’s suffering?
5.The glorification of Father, Son, and church occurs through the judgment of the world (v. 31).
Is this the same “world” of John 3:16, the world God “so loved”? Is this the world for which Jesus does not pray (John 17:9)? Is this the world for which Jesus is the propitiation (I John 2:2)? Comment on the inspired John’s use of the term “world.”
Even as the glorification of the Son, and the elect church in Him, is ordained, so the condemnation of the wicked, unbelieving, reprobate world is ordained. This is the doctrine of reprobation. Prove this from Scripture. Where in the confessions of the church is this taught? Why is it so important to maintain the doctrine of reprobation?
When Jesus says “now” is the judgment of the world, He is speaking of the fact that His death on the cross will be the condemnation for certain ones, even an entire world of them (cf. vv. 32, 33). How is a world’s judgment effected and sealed through Jesus’ death on the cross?
When the world is judged, the prince of this world is cast out (v. 31b). Show from Scripture that the reference is to Satan’s being cast out. To what does his being cast out refer? How is the crucifixion of Jesus the casting out of Satan (cf. Gen. 3:15; Matt. 12:29; Luke 11:21, 22; Rom. 16:20; Col. 2:15; Heb. 2: 14, 15; Rev. 20:1-3, 10)?
Is there any sense in which the cross is the judgment of the Church (cf. Is. 1:27)?
Compare the preliminary judgment of the world, on the cross, with the final judgment, when our Lord comes again (cf. Amos 5:18, 20).
6. Perspective (John 20:31).
Behold these glorifications! Of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, of the Father, of the church!
They are revealed. The Word of God, the gospel, is the message of the exaltation of God and all that is of God.
But still there is this present darkness. The light of these glorifications is commonly comprehended not. How is it possible for one still in the midst of sin and death, not yet taken into and up to the glory, to see and to rejoice in the present and future glorifications? What will you see…today? This year?