Question & Answer Forum

What does it mean in John 13:31-32, “Now is the Son of Man glorified … and shall straightway glorify Him?”

Before celebrating the Passover with the disciples in the upper room the Lord Jesus anticipated this moment in John 12:23: “The hour is come, that the Son of Man should be glorified.”

A decisive moment has arrived. Judas Iscariot accepts from the Lord the portion of food passed to him. The Lord Jesus charges him to go, without hesitation, and fulfill his evil work. As he left the room, closing the door behind him that night, he went out into eternal darkness.

Another door in history opens. Our Lord enters saying: “Now the Son of Man has been glorified.” He uses a verb structure indicating a completed work. This embraces not only the glory of His unblemished sinless life and ministry as the Son of Man, but He is the Son of God Who became the Son of Man; conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin woman. He was magnified, revealing to humanity the nature and character of the will of God. His teachings and labors give witness to His oneness with the Father.

Embraced in this statement is every step of the dark road to Calvary and Joseph’s new tomb. In His rejection, bitter sufferings, and crucifixion, “He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil 2:8). Enveloped in darkness as the sin bearer, He cries out in anguish as the forsaken one. Our last view of Him is with His head bowed in death, shedding His precious blood. Believers laid His holy body in a rock hewn tomb. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

This is the crowning climax of the Son of Man. He has been glorified by His obedience in fulfilling and glorifying the heart’s desire and will of God. In John 17:4, the Lord says to His Father: “I have glorified Thee on the earth, I have finished the work Thou gavest Me to do.” The Son of Man is thus revealed as being one with the Father in nature and purpose.

‘Tis in Thy cross, Lord, that we learn
What Thou in all Thy fulness art;
There, through the darkening cloud, discern
The love of Thy devoted heart.

In this phrase in John 13:32, “And shall straightway glorify Him,” there is eternal perfection in the glory of the Son of Man and His oneness in the glory of the Father. It is impossible there should be hindrance to God glorifying this Man.

On the morning of the third day after Calvary’s work, God raised Him from the dead in resurrection triumph. Forty days later, surrounded by His faithful disciples, He lifted His hands in blessing upon them. As they watched He began to rise toward heaven. He passed through the realm of the enemy, Satan, uncontested. Adorned in glorious splendor “He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb 1:3).

He is exalted to the highest rank of authority and power. “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph 1:21). There is a day determined by God when our Lord will be revealed in all His splendor and brightness of glory. A world which dared to spit upon His holy face at Gabbatha, will be compelled to bow at His wounded feet (Rev 19:11-21).

Today, He, the only Man with a body in heaven, is the center and theme of heaven’s praises. He is the believers’ Redeemer, Forerunner, and Lord. May our hearts and mouths be filled with His praises ’till we see His face in the air and are accompanied into the Father’s house.

James N. Smith

Can you help with the question about the resurrection of the saints in Matthew 27? Why were they raised and did they come out of the graves to die again?

Matthew alone, of all the evangelists, records this event. It seems evident that his purpose, inspired by the Holy Spirit, was not to give its details, but to mention it as a further evidence of the power and authority of the One Whom he is presenting in this Gospel. Questions surround many details, so we hesitate to venture too far into possibilities. The resurrection of these saints accompanied the darkness of the sky, the rending of the veil, the quaking of the earth, and other mysterious happenings that serve to emphasize the uniqueness and majesty of the One Who died. He, born “King of the Jews” and having displayed His sovereign authority over all creation in His life, was no less at His death. In The Tabernacle and its Offerings, Albert Leckie said, “These signs, in the Gospel of a Jewish background, prove that this is the death of the king and they are all peculiar to Matthew’s gospel.” The cry of triumph from the cross had such power and authority that it rent asunder the veil, showing the emptiness of religious ritual now abolished. It rent the rocks and moved creation, for it was the Lord of all Who died; and it also released some of these sleeping saints, showing that His power extended even to the realm of death. One cannot say why all the graves of the sleeping saints were not opened and why all those saints were not raised, except that these were selected to give evidence in the rebellious city to the Person of the rejected Christ. One has commented that possibly these were the saints who particularly had anticipated Christ’s coming, or who had believed on Him during His public ministry, but who had died. As such, they could be uniquely identified with Him in His death.

It would seem that the graves were opened at His death, but the bodies in the graves were not raised until after His resurrection, when they came forth and appeared to many. He is the “firstfruits of them who sleep” (1Cor 15:20, 23), so His resurrection would take precedence over all others raised. What became of them is not stated. It would hardly seem likely that they died again, as did others who were raised by His power during His public ministry and prior to His resurrection. Some have suggested that they are referred to in Ephesians 4:8 as those He led “captivity captive,” but this is not certain. We are far safer to rest the matter with what has been revealed, knowing that the Spirit’s purpose in this passage is not to give details, but rather to include it as a event that emphasized the uniqueness of the Person and His abiding power and authority in life, in death, and in His glorious resurrection.

Joel Portman