John 12:27–30 (ESV)
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine.”
This is perfect prayer. Jesus knows what’s coming, and He shrinks from it. Still, He recognizes that He can’t pray, “Father, save Me from this hour.” Instead, He prays, “Father, glorify Your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
Imagine the confusion among the people who were there. Some Greeks wanted to see Him, and when Jesus learns this, He delivers this soliloquy. We aren’t told if the Greeks are in the audience by this point, but even Jesus’s own disciples aren’t up to speed.
So they’re surely puzzled by Jesus’s prayer. The thunderous response must have really set their teeth on fire. John reports their reaction straight up. Some thought it thundered, others thought it was an angel speaking. They don’t even know what the voice was, much less what it meant.
And Jesus, for the millionth time, responds with something oblique. He doesn’t resolve their confusion; He just says that the voice was speaking to them,
and to us.
Don’t miss the full meaning of this. Jesus didn’t pray, “Father, glorify Me.” He also didn’t say, “Father, glorify Yourself.” He said, “Father, glorify your name.” Why His name?
God’s name is so important that the third commandment is all about respecting it.
“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” — Exodus 20:7 (ESV)
Notice that you can read that passage and end up wondering, “OK, but what is His name?” Bible translators are so sensitive to the third commandment that they don’t even print God’s name, instead using “the LORD” in its place every time His name (יהוה) occurs in Hebrew.
This makes sense, even if the full importance of God’s name is beyond human understanding. We can’t have direct interaction with His full presence.
“Man shall not see me and live.” — Exodus 33:20b (ESV)
Thus, His name is what we know directly.
Respecting God’s name is important in ways we may never fully understand—in this life anyway.
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.