23Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

There is no question where Jesus stands on God’s surprising ways. Jesus is the master of the unexpected.

This passage occurs in the same chapter of John’s Gospel in which John tells the story of Mary anointing Jesus at Bethany.

Entombment Rogier Van Der Weyden 1460 Belgium

After, Judas complains about Mary wasting “a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard” to anoint Jesus’ feet, Jesus says, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial.” (John 12:1-8) Then just sixteen verses later Jesus is saying of himself “the hour has come” for him “to be glorified.” This is surprising. Jesus, it appears, is going to be “glorified” in his death.

The unexpected message of the Gospel is that “glory” comes in exactly the way we least expect it. We look for glory in acquisition, affirmation, accomplishment and achievement. For Jesus, we are glorified in loss and letting go; we are glorified in daily death.

Every time I let go of my determination to get my way, or to force the world to conform to my wishes, I am “glorified.” When I give up my need to be right, or to be smart, or affirmed or supported, I am “glorified”. When I resist the temptation to strike back with a self-justifying word, I am “glorified”. When I give up trying to get even, I am “glorified”.

When I am glorified, Jesus is glorified.

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What does “glory” look like? What are the opportunities I am being presented to “fall into the earth and die” in order that I might “bear much fruit”?