The Glory of the Cross

That dark day Jesus was crucified brought glory to God. How did the cross display the glory of God? In we learn about three ways in which God’s glory was displayed at the cross.

Glory through Death

The cross of Christ displayed the glory of God through death. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (12:24). In the act of dying, the death of the Lord Jesus Christ displayed the glory of God because it brought about the salvation of many. The process in which a seed is buried so as to bring about a harvest illustrates this point. In-order for the fruit of salvation to occur, Jesus had to die. This is why the writer to the Hebrews says concerning Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (). His death, as horrifying as it was, was the very means that brought eternal life to many. This has an important application for those who follow Jesus Christ. He continued by saying,

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him” (12:25-26).

These verses provide a plain call to be committed and genuine followers of Christ. For those who place all their value on this current life will not gain the reward of eternal life. Those who don’t treasure this life will gain the reward of eternal life. A true believer must prize Jesus Christ more than anything else in this world. This will mean that sacrifices will need to be made. But for those who serve Him is the promise of eternal reward in Heaven. Christians are to have the same mindset as their Master in this life. He died that He might bring life.

Glory through Distress

The second way the cross of Christ displayed the glory of God was through distress. Look at 12:27-30,

Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine (12:27-30).

As Jesus faced the cross, which was only a few days away, we are told that His soul was troubled. Why was that? It is true that after His arrest He is going to be brutally beaten and maliciously mocked. The physical pain that He is about to face will be excruciating! However, this is not what troubled Him. The very thing that later on caused Him to experience sweat that “became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” () was the weight of the wrath of God. At the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ will have the wrath of God poured out on Him because He will die as our substitute.

The following verses reveal that despite this distress, Jesus committed Himself as a willing sacrifice desiring to glorify the Father. This is the chief reason why Jesus Christ died on the cross. Jesus wanted the magnificence of God’s character to be on display. An amazing result of God’s name being gloried at the cross was His triumph. This brings me to the final point.

Glory through Triumph

The cross of the Lord Jesus Christ displayed the glory of God through triumph. Jesus said,

Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die (12:31-33)

These verses reveal three acts of triumph that came as a result of Christ’s death on the cross.

Firstly, there is the judgment of the world (12:31a). Though Christ came to save, for those who reject Him they place themselves under judgment. The Person of Jesus Christ brings a dividing line in this world. You either receive Him or you reject Him. Those who reject Him are under the just judgment of God. This present judgment will one day be carried out in a final judgment in which all unbelievers will be sentenced to eternal judgment in Hell ().

The second triumph at the cross was the casting out of Satan. Jesus said, “now will the ruler of this world be cast out” (12:31b). The Bible makes it clear that Satan’s present activity is devious and destructive (See ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ). So in what way was Satan cast out and defeated? The cross set the seal upon Satan’s final casting into the Lake of Fire. The book of Revelation tells us by means of specific and elaborate language that Satan will be bound for a thousand years after Christ’s return (). Then after this, he will be cast into the Lake of Fire for eternity (). He was defeated at the cross, and though now he roams around like a roaring lion, having the whole world lay under his sway, he is doomed to eternal ruin. Satan has been defeated.

The third triumph at the cross is the drawing of all to Himself. is talking about crucifixion, and as a result of His sacrificial death He “will draw all people to” Himself. Here “all people” can’t literally mean every single person that has every existed. I believe the context of the Gospel of John makes it clear that this is a reference to all who belong to His sheepfold. This is referring to all who will ever believe – both Jew and Gentile. The glory of God is displayed at the cross, because the power of Christ’s death provided actual atonement for sin. For this reason, anyone who believes will be saved and guaranteed eternal life.

After this the crowd asked, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” (12:34). Jesus graciously replies with an offer of salvation,

The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light (12:35-36).

This offer serves to remind us that the gracious door of salvation will not always be open. While you have opportunity come to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Do not neglect the opportunities the Lord has given you!

24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.

12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.

Luke 22:3

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve.

Luke 22:31

31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat,

44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 13:27

27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?

Acts 26:18

18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

2 Corinthians 4:4

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

2 Corinthians 11:3

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:14

14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

2 Corinthians 12:7

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.

in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—

Ephesians 6:11-12

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

18 because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us.

26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

1 John 5:19

19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

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Andrew Courtis

Andrew Courtis

ANDREW - Serves as Pastor of Hills Bible Church. I am married to Dianne and we have three children (Kate, Emma and Jack). I was born and raised in Melbourne, moved to Adelaide to undertake theological studies (BMin.), and have completed additional studies with the Australian College of Theology (MATh.). I have served in pastoral ministry in both Melbourne and Sydney and am a qualified school teacher. I am committed to expository preaching and making the word of God known and understood.

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