24 Jun God’s Glory in The Dark Hours – Words of Grace – June 24, 2022
At the darkest hour of Jesus’ life, he said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified.”
The scene is John 13. Jesus took up the servant’s towel and basin and washed the disciples’ feet. When he resumed his place at the supper table he gave them the lesson in servanthood, reminding them to love one another as he loved them.
Then, from a troubled soul, Jesus spoke plainly. “One of you will betray me.”
Not so plainly, the identity of Judas as the betrayer was revealed. It was shrouded in the sharing of bread usually reserved for friends. This made the betrayal even more painful for Jesus and confusing to the disciples. But Judas, while pretending to be a friend, had set his heart to do evil. Satan then entered Judas, and he went out into the darkness of night.
When Judas left, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.”
The key to understanding Jesus is in the time and circumstance of the word “now.”
Jesus did not mean now that the betrayer is gone, we can get on with our plan. He did not view Judas as the dark cloud in the room blocking the good and glorious work he came to do.
Jesus understood that in the dark hour, through the act of betrayal, he would be crucified for the sins of the world and reconcile sinners to God. Jesus’ glory would be revealed in the grace that he shows toward sinners. When Judas walked out that door into the night, Jesus knew his evil actions would be the very thing God would use to accomplish the plan of salvation for us. “Now” meant here, under these circumstances, in this moment of darkness, God is at work to show his glory.
Once again, our perception of what is and what must be is corrected by the way God and his work is revealed in Scripture.
In the moments and hours of darkness, we may believe God’s glory is eclipsed. We may think the dark cloud must pass so God can resume his good work. Evil is overshadowing the good and preventing the work of the kingdom and the advance of the gospel. When, we ask, will the dark cloud roll away? When will the hour pass? When will evil people walk out into the night and leave us alone? Then God can show his glory.
Jesus believed and spoke differently. He understood the sovereign power of God the Father to accomplish his good work with no threat from hard times, bad circumstances, evil people, or the devil himself. Jesus could say that now in the dark hour he is being glorified through the evil of betrayal that was taking place at that moment. That’s because God causes all things to work together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
In the dark hours God is working to glorify himself. And whatever God does to glorify himself is what his children need to experience his goodness and grace.
For those who are in Christ and in a dark hour, now God is working. His work may be hidden from our eyes. His purposes may escape our understanding. But we believe, therefore we speak, that now God is in complete control and is using all things (as he did Judas’ betrayal) to glorify himself. We believe that we will see the glory and goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, so we wait for the Lord, taking courage in him (Psalm 27:13).
Today, hold Christ firm in your mind and heart. Keep his words in your ears. See him walk to the cross on your behalf and walking with you in your dark hour. Pray for faith to believe even when you can’t see. Ask the Lord to keep you faithful and hopeful. Wait for the Lord and let your heart take courage.
Let’s hold on to one another lest we be scattered in the night. Let’s pray for each other this weekend. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.