God’s Idea of Glory

When, therefore [Judas] was gone out,
Jesus said; Now is the Son of man glorified:
and God is glorified in Him
-John 13:31

I’ve heard the Gospel of John divided into
“The Book of Signs” (the first 12 chapters)
and “The Book of Glory” (the rest of the Gospel),
but never really grasped what that meant.
Signs, yes, I can see the miracles qualifying, but glory?
Those chapters are all about Jesus’ humiliations.
Yet here Jesus is, as His betrayer goes off to set in motion
the most horrific crime in history,
saying that now He is glorified.
I’m missing something…

As I reflected, Psalm 19:4-5 came to mind:

He has set a tent for the sun,
which comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and rejoices like a champion to run the race

An athlete is not glorified by lounging on the couch,
but by meeting a challenge that’s worthy of him.
He rejoices to run the race,
to meet the test for which he has prepared and trained.

Then I thought of our new blender.
It’s advertised in a series of videos that demonstrate
that this blender can handle things no ordinary blender can.
It’s glorified by being put to the test…
and coming out on top.

That’s how God the Father glorified His Son.
He put Jesus to the test,
subjecting Him to injustices and sufferings
no ordinary man could handle
without either crumbling or lashing out–
without losing his God-given dignity.
Yet through it all, Jesus was fully Himself
(how many times do we have to say, “I’m just not myself today”):
responding, not reacting–repaying evil with good, loving,
giving, fully human to the end.

We who have been made partakers in His divine nature (see II Peter 1:4) can expect to be glorified in the same way.
The martyrs were.
Their stories boggle the mind!…
but that’s what Jesus came to do for us:
to give us the ability to live a supernatural life
by uniting us to Himself (see Galatians 2:20, among others).
That doesn’t just happen.
It takes training and preparation,
just as it does for an athlete preparing for a race.

In God’s eyes, glory is not in fame or fortune or worldly success.
Those things are spiritually very dangerous (just ask King Solomon!).
Glory is in remaining faithful and generous under pressure
through the power of His divine life, vibrant within us,
which we have trained and honed
through the practise of a devout life,
through prayer, study, sacrifice and the sacraments.

The next time you have a bad day, hold your head up.
Be encouraged.
God is glorifying you!

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