Wednesday 13 April 2022

Bible Book:

] immediately went out. And it was night. When he had gone out, Jesus said, 'Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.' (vs 21, 30-32)

John 13:21-32 Wednesday 13 April 2022

Psalm 70


The 13th chapter of John’s Gospel presents us with a dramatic and tense presentation of the true cost to Jesus of his stepping out on his chosen road. It also presents us, who have the benefit of hindsight, with the true cost of discipleship. We know how Jesus' story progresses, and so we can pick up the signals in a manner that the first disciples could not.

The chapter begins with Jesus washing his disciples' feet. It is a demonstration of the loving service required of the disciples – which Peter misunderstands. The chapter ends with Jesus' commandment for the disciples to love one another (v. 34), by which their discipleship shall become known – which, again, Peter misunderstands. Between Jesus’ feet-washing and his command to the disciples to love one another falls this story of fellowship and betrayal – which all the disciples misunderstand.

Over previous days this week we have reflected upon discipleship as a demand for the exercise of loving service. We have acknowledged that it is an inclusive demand which attracts and enables everyone in society, including the condemned criminal, women and the Gentiles. The behaviour of the disciples, especially Peter, shows us that sometimes the demand of discipleship is met with bewilderment. The behaviour of Judas, who is the disciple who betrays Jesus, shows us that the demand is sometimes rejected.

In the midst of the spectrum of responses of acceptance and love, bewilderment and belligerence, Jesus remains faithful. He is constant in his willingness to walk the road of suffering. He is not only willing, but he is glorious in his acceptance of the way that stretches out before him. He says: "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him." (v. 31) Such seeming triumphalism in the face of such apparent tragedy both attracts and dismays those who would follow. This is the bigger picture of the purpose of the incarnation which began with Jesus' birth in the manger, was folded out in the dusty streets of Galilee, was raised up on the Cross and raised further in the Resurrection and Ascension of the Christ. So, with the Psalmist, we can rejoice and be glad and we can proclaim "God is great!"

With the hymn writer, let us sing:

When he comes, our glorious King,
To His kingdom us to bring,
Then anew this song we'll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

'Man of Sorrows' by Philipp Paul Bliss (1838–1876) Singing the Faith 361 v. 5


To Ponder:

  • Reflect upon how easy it is for us to fall into stereotypical assumptions about other people. What can you do in your local church, or other groups to which you belong, to recognise difference?
  • Have you ever felt yourself excluded from a group because of people seeing you in a stereotypical way? What did you do about it?
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