The Pathway to Glory, John 12:20-36



Giotto Di BondoneYesterday, I authored a blog post that appeared on Logos.com’s blog. I’ve added a concluding paragraph to that original post.

Everybody wants Glory, but not everyone is willing to pay the price that is required to attain it. Jesus’ pathway to glory was not through teaching, preaching, healing, or doing any of those things that he did during his life’s ministry on earth. Jesus’ pathway to glory was a pathway through the grave to the resurrection.

John closes the triumphal entry with a hyperbolic grumble from the Pharisees; “the entire world” was going after Jesus. The Greeks step in almost as evidence. They seek an audience through Philip. Philip in turn goes to Andrew and they go as one to Jesus. At the very least, their arrival provides an opportunity to proclaim that the hour that He has been talking about all the way through the book of John has finally come – that is the hour of his glorification. This begs the question. If the triumphal entry was not the glorification of Jesus, what is?

In the parable about the seed of wheat that must die to bear fruit; Jesus depicts the pathway to glory. When He reflects upon His own desire to run away from the hour placed before Him, He immediately rejects that as an alternative. The very reason he had come was glorification. That glorification required the grave.

That which is true of Jesus is true of those who believe in Him (John 12:26). For the disciple of Jesus Christ, the pathway to glory is not in proclaiming excellent sermons, or writing brilliant papers in seminary. Neither is it discipling hundreds or even thousands of people. The pathway to glory is dying to self that we might live in Christ.

The pathway to glory for Jesus and the pathway to glory for those who follow him is the same. We must die in order to live.

It is one thing, by the way to think about dying for Jesus and placing that at some future place in time in our minds so remotely that it has no real effect on our lives and it ends up being so far away from us that we will never comprehend it. However, it is another thing entirely to take up your cross daily and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23). Taking up your cross daily is the process of living out this truth that we must die in order to live. Jesus is not calling us to rush towards death as if that were the goal. Death is the pathway not the goal. Glory is the goal. Obtaining that glory calls for surrendering this life into God’s hands.