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Jesus: glorified as he trusted God through suffering

April 27, 2023

Daily Scripture

John 16:28-17:1

28 I left the Father and came into the world. I tell you again: I am leaving the world and returning to the Father.”
29 His disciples said, “See! Now you speak plainly; you aren’t using figures of speech. 30 Now we know that you know everything and you don’t need anyone to ask you. Because of this we believe you have come from God.”
31 Jesus replied, “Now you believe? 32 Look! A time is coming—and is here!—when each of you will be scattered to your own homes and you will leave me alone. I’m not really alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I’ve said these things to you so that you will have peace in me. In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world.”
17:1 When Jesus finished saying these things, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that the Son can glorify you.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

On the night before he went to the cross, Jesus told his followers, “In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world” (not “Now that you’re my follower, you’ll never have any trouble”). He began his prayer saying, remarkably, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son.” It would be easy to completely miss the fact that “the time has come” pointed to the cross as the setting in which God would “glorify” Jesus.

  • About twelve hours later, dying on the cross, Jesus quoted a psalm of trust (“Father, into your hands I entrust my life”—cf. Psalm 31:5, Luke 23:46). That Psalm ended with, “All you who wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage.” Jesus trusted God even as he suffered a horrible execution. How can that shape your outlook on whatever suffering comes into your life?
  • Many people think (maybe subconsciously) “being good” should be a kind of “suffering insurance.” But “the sweeping message of the Bible is not a promise that those who believe and do good will not suffer. Instead the Bible is largely a book about people who refused to let go of their faith in the face of suffering.” * How do you react to Jesus’ honest words: “In the world you have distress”? Can you let trusting his claim to have “overcome the world” encourage you?

Lord Jesus, help me, even when I can’t fully know the “why” of any suffering I face, to know the “who”—you!—who is with me, and who sustains me and gives me hope. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as Human Resources Lead Director. Janelle finds that her heart is constantly wrestling with the truth that she needs a Savior, and the times when she's at her very best are when she's just too tired to put up a fight.

There’s a popular Christian radio station with a tagline that promotes the station as being positive. Christianity? Positive? Huh. I’ve often wondered what would happen if I put music to a Psalm and tried to pitch it to the radio station. From Psalm 55:

*Soft piano intro*

“Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my pleas;
hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me
and I am distraught at the voice of the enemy,
at the stares of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering upon me
and revile me in their anger.
My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death assail me,
Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.”

*Fading piano*

Do you think the lyrics of the psalmist would make it on the positive, Christian radio station? My guess is that they’d reject it for being too dark and negative. “Sorry, your anguish just wouldn’t sell to our audience.” Can you imagine it? It would be a bad day if the Bible didn’t make it on the Christian radio station. Again, this is just hypothetical, but I don’t know if it would be far off. I’m not trying to knock the radio station entirely. It’s a great station. I just struggle when Christianity is sold as “positive.”

Being a Christian isn’t about living a life full of rainbows and roses. I’m not quite sure how this message gets lost when the primary symbol (our logo, if you will) is an execution device. The crosses we wear around our necks or hang on our wall should remind us that life is hard. Sometimes it’s really hard. Sometimes it’s “I don’t know how this is ever going to get better” hard. And that’s where Jesus comes in. Jesus isn’t there to remove the suffering. Jesus is there to walk beside us in the suffering, to comfort and guide us. Jesus recognizes our pain and cries with us. He cries for us. When we feel utterly lost, he meets us in our darkness bringing the light of redemption and grace. This isn’t positivity. This is hope.

I’m not trying to say that positivity is bad. I’m a fan of being positive. It’s just that positivity is not hope. Hope carries a power that positivity just doesn’t have. Positivity feels good, but hope brings good. Hope is worth holding onto. When times are really bad, positivity isn’t strong enough to pull you through. That’s okay. In those moments, you don’t have to rely on being positive. Christ will be with you, lifting you up by the power that’s only found in the hope of a Savior.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Hamilton, Adam. Why?: Making Sense of God’s Will. Abingdon Press. Location 79, Kindle Edition.