The Hour

Jesus replied,  “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”

Again, we must note that timing is everything to God, for He sets up these specific things to be road signs for those who would follow after and to bolster the faith of anyone needing to be reassured.

 Jesus uses the word “glorified” in a most peculiar way.  In this context we know it refers to His imminent death, which doesn’t sound much like glory to most of us, I reckon.  The word used in the Greek is doxaso which means to honor or extol.  In this context it means that through His death God will bring Christ’s glory to light.  The very reasoning of it sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?  How can one be honored through a humiliating death like the cross?

Today so many people wear the cross as a symbol of coolness, sexiness or just an ornament among other ornaments.  We have lost the humiliation of that death, for anyone hung on a tree was considered cursed by God per the Law and the teachers of Jesus’ age.  Thus when Jesus pronounced that He would be lifted up the Jews reacted incredulous.  At the same time, many play with the dramatic nature of His death wringing every drop of blood, pain and humility out of it to move the hearts of their listeners.  I don’t object to either being done because I’m not that concerned with drama nor am I gonna’ get all tied up in knots about blaspheme.  My point here is that God is using that chess master brilliance again. 

What we would have thought as defeat, God used to win.  What we would never have imagined as a good tactic, God used as His ace in the hole.  What we would have considered to be the worst possible plan, God designed as His main goal from before the foundations of the world.

Why?

The kingdom of heaven isn’t built around a grab for power but submission through faith to His love.

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

We see more often than not people looking at these verses glassy eyed and unaware of what they signify.  Jesus used His own creation to illustrate how life would be restored to us.  Contrary to some opinions He isn’t recommending esthetic living or monastic isolation here, instead He’s showing that through the most innocuous, lowly and degrading circumstance known to mankind God would produce fruit so far beyond the investment it would boggle the mind.

Through a childless couple, God brought a great nation.  Through an old man, past his prime, along with a wife long past her child bearing years, God made many people.  All through the history of God’s people He raised up the most dubious and likely to fail as His heroes, then glorified Himself through these weak vessels.  The world laughed at their efforts until God started to act.

“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.  My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

To the cross on through to life eternal.  I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, our cross is not some burden we drag around with us as a sign of godliness or God’s testing of us.  The cross signified one thing and one thing only:  death.  When we take up our cross, we die to everything we could be for this world’s sake and move to a higher calling.  What comes with this may leave us without any worldly means to accomplish what God has in mind for us, but that’s the beauty of it.  Through our weakness His strength is made perfect.  Gideon, a coward, youngest son and least likely to succeed takes on an army of 100,000 with 300.  The odds against him succeeding?  333.33/1 against.  Do the math.  This means every soldier in Gideon’s army had to slay or rout over 300 men on their own to win the battle.

God’s ways take what’s impossible for us and make it happen.

“Now my heart 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!”  John 12:23-28a.

His heart was troubled?  He was sad, afraid, and vulnerable in this moment.  He didn’t want to die on a cross.  He saw all the examples along the main road into Jerusalem of kind of death it was, so there could be no fantasy about a noble death for Him.  It would be slow, agonizing and humiliating—the latter because everyone passing by would throw rocks, mock or shake their heads in shame.  The Jews knew the Law cursed anyone hung on a tree so those on a cross must have been pretty evil to get put there, in their opinion.

Jesus, however, answers His own question with an affirmative “yes!” to God.  He knew the scorn and pain coming would bring glory to God for it would take that which should be a defeat and turn it into an eternal victory.

The lesson for today is:  Stop looking to human methods for success.  I’m not saying God hasn’t ordained hard work, vigilance and dedication to one’s duties as a good method, but we need to recognize the message of the cross reminds us that succeeding in God’s eyes may not bring worldly profit.  Our reward in Christ is far more complex and satisfying in the long run than mere money or acclaim.  We receive a life without the need to fight for a place, scramble for shelter or sweat for food.  Isn’t this what the world promises wealth will bring? 

We have a higher calling, one which will lead us to success through humility and loss.  In the end, however, we gain a crown of life, for those who follow Jesus will be where He is…

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3 Responses to “The Hour”

  1. how to sing Says:

    Thanks! This is probably the most comprehensive info I have found about this issue on the net. Would you consider hosting guest posts from others?

    • jonnysoundsketch2 Says:

      No, but I don’t mind when someone comments and continues to discuss a thread. This blog is a way for me to share my personal devotions than a formal Bible study. You are welcome to speak to any entry you read and either ask questions or give your thoughts on the subject.

  2. tlc4women Says:

    Also, quit measuring your success by man’s standard. Good post!

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