This word of Jesus comes on the night before His crucifixion, right on the heels of planned betrayal, whose end will be Christ’s death. Judas has just left the evening meal to consummate his betrayal of Jesus. And with him removed, Jesus focuses on the disciples that remain, preparing them for what is about to take place.
Note the stress on glory as a direct result of Judas’ exit from the room. The cross became a certainty the minute Judas left the room, and Jesus says, “Now—in view of the cross—the Son of Man is seen for who He is.” This is the principle by which we achieve glory—we must give ourselves up, we must lose ourselves. Jesus is looking ahead to the cross.
There are three manifestations of glory stated in this sentence. First, Jesus is glorified in the cross. In the cross, Jesus’ inner character becomes visible. John 1:14 says, “The Word became a human being. He made his home with us. We have seen His glory. It is the glory of the one and only Son. He came from the Father. And He was full of grace and truth.” All that grace and truth becomes visible in the cross.
Second, God was glorified in Jesus. The cross also reveals the Father. Many promote the idea that Jesus is the innocent sufferer, placating the wrath of an angry God who is ready to smite humanity. But that is not the biblical view. The Bible says, “God was bringing the world back to Himself through Christ. (II Corinthians 5:19).” Thus, here we see the mercy, love, and grace of the Father.
Third, God will glorify Him again, and will do it immediately. Here, Jesus is talking about His resurrection. And there is a great object lesson for us in this word. “How do we achieve glory? How do we achieve the fulfillment we are wanting?” The answer is by dying. “If he wants to save his life, he will lose it. But if he loses his life for Me, he will find it (Matthew 16:25).” And very close behind death is resurrection. Peter puts it precisely in his first epistle: “So don’t be proud. Put yourselves under God’s mighty hand. Then He will honor you at the right time (I Peter 5:6).”
“So how can we lose our lives? What is the power that can make such sacrifice possible?” Jesus adds, “I give you a new command. Love one another. You must love one another, just as I have loved you. (John 13:34).” That is the power that makes sacrifice possible.
The key is in the phrase “just as I have loved you.” Our love must originate from His love for us. We are to draw upon His loving acceptance of us in order to reach out in loving acceptance to others near us, whether they are lovely or not.