John 12:27–50: The Glory of Jesus
In our discussion of John 11:45–12:11, we examined Martin Luther’s distinction between the theology of glory and the theology of the cross. The theologians of glory seek the glory, power, wisdom, and wealth of this world, while the theologians of the cross recognize that God reveals his wisdom and power not through the structures of this world, but through the weakness, foolishness, and shame of the cross.
This theological distinction does not mean that Jesus is without glory, but only that his glory is revealed in a very different way than how worldly people seek to amass their own glory. Jesus is glorified contrary to all expectations—glorified through his earthly fear, failure, his faithfulness to seek the exclusive glory of another, his Father. Everything that should detract from Jesus’ glory not only fails to do so, but all those seeming detractions from his glory actually glorify him in a way that no worldly path to glory possibly could. Therefore, Jesus reveals his glory through the disgrace of the cross.
1. What does Jesus fear? How is his fear similar to our fears? How is his fear different from ours? What does Jesus’ fear teach us about our own fear? How does Jesus reveal his glory in the midst of his fear?
2. Why do the shame and failure of Jesus’ rejection by his people fail to detract from his glory? How does Jesus’ rejection enhance his glory? What does the nature of Jesus’ true glory in the midst of his shame and failure teach us about our own lack of obvious fruit?
3. The world teaches us to pursue our own glory at all costs, but Jesus unwaveringly seeks the glory of his Father, according to his Father’s word. How does Jesus’ glorification of his Father serve to glorify Jesus? What place does Jesus’ word actually have in your life, practically speaking?
4. The glory of God as revealed in Jesus’ crucifixion represents a complete rejection of what the world teaches about glory. How does the world pull at you to gain glory for yourself directly in your life? What does the glory of Jesus’s cross teach you about God’s way to pursue lasting glory through faith in Jesus?