His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.
This one little verse, even one little word in this one little verse, overturns the thinking of most American Christians. It’s a sea change is what it means to be a Christian.
Notice what John does not say. He does not say, “after Jesus was crucified and resurrected, then they remembered.” He also doesn’t say, “after Jesus died for our sins, then they remembered.”
Instead, John says, “when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered.” Why does he say it that way?
Because John wants us to understand the full truth about what’s going on.
We tend to think of the gospel in human terms—Jesus died for our sins. That’s not wrong; it just misses the greater reality. Saving us was only part of what He did on the cross. By leaving out the glorification aspect of Jesus’s death and resurrection, we leave out the core of what it is.
It’s understandable that, being human, we take the human perspective on things. When we think about the cross, we think about how it relates to us.
But John’s gospel doesn’t take the human perspective. John is more like a prophet; he sees things from the heavenly perspective.
This heavenly perspective makes John’s gospel different, and incredibly important. The three synoptic gospels were already out when John wrote this one. The play-by-play description was published. John wanted to fill a gap in the accounts by writing in eternal, heavenly terms.
The entire gospel of John could be titled, “The Glorification of Jesus.”
So, if Jesus’s death and resurrection isn’t all about us, what is?
Nothing. John has it right. God’s glory is the purpose of everything. It’s why He created the world.
We benefit greatly from His plan of salvation. PTL! But we should never forget that this is all part of a higher agenda. It’s not all about us; it’s all about Him.
This changes how we should behave. If God’s glory is the purpose of everything, then, for example, it’s the purpose of charity.
Some people want all acts of charity to include some evangelism—preaching or giving out gospel tracts. They feel that this is essential. Their thinking is, “Otherwise, what’s the point?” They see the gospel as all about getting people into heaven, but that’s only part of it.
Charity for charity’s sake is good. Sometimes we just glorify God by obeying His commands.
These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Saturday DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:
The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.