About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Jesus Predicts Peterís Denial (ch. 13:31-38)

 

 "Now is the Son of Man glorified," says Jesus in verse 31.  What I believe Jesus meant here was that the glorification process has now begun.  The ball was starting to roll.  Jesusí glorification would be totally realized at His ascension when He returned to His Father. 

 

The term "Son of Man" (see Ezekiel 2:1) is a Hebrew way of saying a human being.  That being said, if you read Daniel 7 we see one "like the Son of Man" in the clouds.  Daniel refers this term to the Messiah.  The term "Son of Man" is thus a Messianic designation. 

 

The events that took place from the time the devil entered Judasí heart to Jesus' ascension, all glorified both Jesus and His Father.  This was their plan of salvation.  Even though the cross appeared to be a defeat for both God and Jesus, we know it wasn't.  The ultimate glorification of Jesus took place at His return to Heaven to be with His Father.  I believe this is clearly seen in John 17 where we see Jesus praying.  There, He speaks of being glorified and He relates that to the unity had had with His Father prior to His incarnation into humanity.  His final glorification would be when that unity would be realized once again.

 

The word "now", at least in our western mindset, suggests right at that exact moment both God and Jesus were glorified, but, as we have seen throughout John's account, now does not necessarily mean "right now."  The word "now" in this case, and in other cases, should be understood in terms that if Jesus says something will happen, it is as good as happening right now.  He and His words are that reliable.   

 

In verse 32 we note that the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus would both glorify God and Jesus.  Why would this be the case?  I believe one answer would be that the days ahead for Jesus was God's will, and despite the hardships of those days, Jesus submitted Himself to God's will.  In this submission both God and Jesus would be glorified.

 

The word "glorified" is translated from the Greek word "doxazo", which in its basic meaning means "to think, suppose, or to have an opinion."  It is used in New Testament terms to speak well of, to praise, to hold a high opinion of, or something similar.  Thus when God or Jesus are glorified, they will be held in high opinion.  Our English word "doxology" comes from this Greek word.  A doxology as it applies to Christianity is a statement that exalts God.            

 

In verse 33 Jesus tells the eleven that He will be with them just a little while longer.  I believe this is in reference to His death.  At this point in time, Jesus only had hours before He would die.

 

Jesus then said that where He is going, His disciples could not come.  He had said these words earlier when speaking to the Jews (John 7:33).  Now He says them privately to the eleven disciples.    

 

Where was Jesus going?  He was going to His death.  The disciples would not die with Him.  He went to Hades and freed the lost righteous souls.  The disciples could not follow Him to Hades.  Then He ascended into Heaven.  They could not follow Him there as well, at least not then.  If you read Ephesians 4:7 through 9 you will note that Paul alludes to the fact that Jesus did indeed descend into Hades prior to ascending into Heaven.    

 

Jesus called these men "little children" at this moment.  Was He being fatherly?  Most likely He was being fatherly.  These men, in the midst of their confusion and troubles appear to Jesus as little children, and that was just what they were Ė little spiritual children. This would not always be the case. Pentecost would grow these men up into adulthood.

 

In verse 34 Jesus now gives the disciples a new command.  He says, "Love one another as I have loved you."  The first part of this command was not new.  The second part of the command, however, was new.  Nowhere in the Old Testament does it say that we should love one another as Jesus loves us.  The love that they had for each other would show the world that they were indeed Jesus' disciples as seen in verse 34.  Jesus was saying that at least one of the distinguishing things about them would be their love they had for one another.  We've been unable to follow through on this command to the degree Jesus wanted.  All of our divisions in the church sure prove that to be true.

 

If we love Jesus, as Christians say, then we will show our love to those to whom Jesus has placed us alongside.  If we don't love others, we don't love Jesus.  It's that simple.  If we possess God's love, as we claim we do, God's love will be seen in how we love others. 

 

In verse 36, as expected, Peter asks Jesus where He is going.  Iím sure Peter thought that he could follow Jesus anywhere and everywhere Peter went.  Impetuous Peter felt he was willing to go anywhere with Jesus, but, in a few short hours we know that would not be true.

 

Jesus assures Peter once again that there is no way that he could follow Him now, but he would follow Him later.  What does this mean?  Jesus would go to His death.  Peter was not going to die with Jesus, but he would at some point.  Peter did die in similar fashion to Jesus.  He died as a martyr and followed Jesus into paradise at his death.  Tradition tells us that Peter died on a cross.  He requested to be placed upside down on the cross, so not to be crucified like Jesus.  Peter did not believe himself worthy enough to die in the exact form that Jesus died.  Thus Peter did follow in Jesus footsteps.  Christian martyrs throughout history have always believed it to be a privilege to die for Jesus.

 

In verse 37 Peter asks, "Why canít I follow you now?"  Again, at times Peter felt that he was invincible, or so I think.  Peter did not think that Jesus could go anywhere where he could not follow Him.

 

Peter continues by saying, "I will lay down my life for you."  Peter was saying that wherever Jesus went, no matter how dangerous it was, heíd go too, even if it meant his death.  Well once again, Peter did die on account of Jesus, but not at this particular point in time.  He would deny Jesus first. 

 

This chapter ends in verse 38 with Jesus asking, "Will you really die for me?"   Jesus is basically saying, "Peter, you donít know what youíre talking about, and to prove it, I tell you that you will disown me three times before the rooster crows."  The word "disown" is a strong word, but an appropriate word.  Peter did disown Jesus and once the rooster was heard crowing, he felt extremely remorseful.  Unlike Judas, Peter did repent. 

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