Q&R with Brad Jersak – What does “glorified” mean in John?
Recently I’ve been “hanging out” in John 13-17 (for context, I’ve been starting 12:12 and reading through 18:14 or so). I’ve noticed that the theme seems to be Jesus/ Son of Man/the Father “being glorified”. In some places it reads “NOW is the Son of Man glorified”.
In Romans 8, Paul says “those God justified, he also glorified”.
I’ve always heard glory defined as “the manifest presence of God” or “the goodness of God revealed”, but those don’t seem to fit here in John’s gospel (although the latter possibly could).
So, what does it mean for the Son of Man / The Father to be glorified? Is John pointing to the Passion of Christ or something else?
Thanks for your time and insights. Blessings to you and yours!
I think that we need to read ‘glorify’ somewhat differently in John and in Paul.
In John’s gospel, the word “glorify” (doxazō) is connected with a pun on being “lifted up” (hypsōthō), where the Jesus of John sees his glorification (his glory revealed) in conjunction with being lifted up. And the lifting up is the simultaneous lifting up of his exaltation and crucifixion. As Christ is lifted up physically onto the Cross, this also marks his exaltation and enthronement as the glorified one. But the mindblower is that the Cross IS the throne and the crucifixion IS the glorification in which he is “lifted up.”
- John 3:14 – And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up
- John 8:28 – Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
- John 12:32-34 – And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?
This is different than the Synoptic gospels where the crucifixion is more about his humiliation and the resurrection and ascension reveal his glorious victory and kingship. John conflates these events so that everything revolves around and happens on or because of the Cross.
When we get to Paul, his focus on OUR glorification (Romans 8) has more to do with the work of the Holy Spirit transfiguring us from glory to glory into the image of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3), a process we begin now through regeneration and sanctification but which is made ultimate through the final resurrection of our glorified (immortal) bodies (1 Corinthians 15) … and more importantly, the grace-gift of an eternal Christlike character.