The older I get, the more nostalgic I get.
I’m in my mid-forties, but I find there are already times when a song or story “takes me back.” Memories are a gift from God. It’s fun to walk down memory lane.
For Jesus-followers, we get to walk down memory lane every time we read the Scriptures. But there’s one massive difference between our fond memories and Scripture: Scripture was given to change us.
The setting of John 13 is the last meal Jesus will have with his closest followers before His death on the cross. Those present spent more time confused than understanding. They didn’t know what was coming. Jesus told them to serve the way He did: see a need, fill a need. He had just predicted His betrayal and Judas left to fulfill this prophecy. Need a reminder of what we know of where they were seated?
Judas had just finished walking out when we read in John 13:31-33:
When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.John 13:31-33
New International Version
With Judas gone, Jesus states a mouthful. Back in John 12, we saw that the Gentiles coming to the Lord Jesus was a sign that His public ministry was over. The time (“the hour”) of His suffering on the cross has come.
“Now the Son of Man is glorified” as John brings together two powerful images (John 13:31). First, the title of “Son of Man” is associated with suffering. Second, Jesus is to be “glorified” in the upcoming events. As horrendous as the crucifixion was, it was to be the climactic moment of Jesus’ self-disclosure.
And in the glorification Jesus would experience in His suffering, God the Father would be glorified as well. Jesus honored His Father by His voluntary submission to the Father’s will. The Father is not only honored by Jesus’ submission but also by the sacrifice Jesus would offer for all of humanity.
But the only way this would happen is for Jesus to go away from them. He’s predicted His departure before, but now it’s close. The hours were ticking away. The pathway Jesus was about to walk would be traveled by Jesus and Jesus alone.
And because Jesus would leave them and go to the cross, salvation would be offered to us all.
Don’t miss that. Jesus’ death was not an optional component in the cosmic plan of the Father. Nor was Jesus’ death a means to tell us, “Look how much I love you!” No.
The death of Jesus was primarily about satisfying the sin debt of humanity. It was the unimaginable price that had to be paid to free us from the dark chains of sin and eternal death. Jesus went through Hell so we could go to Heaven.
And the reason Jesus went was to pay for our sin.
Yet in this suffering, shame, pain, disregard, and betrayal, the Holy Spirit through John is ensuring we know: this is the greatest moment in the life of Jesus. This was the reason He came. This was why He was born on this Earth in that stable in Bethlehem.
For you. For me.
Have you received the payment for your sin? Is there a moment you committed your life to Jesus? Have you accepted His offer of grace that cost Him His life?
If not, pray like this:
Father, I admit I am a sinner. It was my sin causing Jesus to have to die. I know that now. I believe Jesus is Your Son. I believe He died for me. I believe He’s calling me now. And today, I’m committing my life to you. Take over my life. I am no longer mine, but yours. Amen!
If you prayed that prayer, I’d love to know it. Also, ensure you find a Bible-teaching church to be a part of. If you need help, drop me a line and I’ll help. It’s that important.
If you have already prayed that prayer and you are already a follower of Jesus, pause to worship the Lord Jesus for His sacrifice for us. May we never, ever forget what our freedom cost the Lord.
Dear one in Jesus, He did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves so we could have what we don’t deserve: eternal life.