Here and Now
Commentary on the Gospel of John 13: 18 - 31
The final gathering of the Son of Man with the disciples presupposes that He will no longer sit at the table with them (cf. Jn 13:31). The betrayal of Judas Iscariot was announced openly “… one of you will betray me…” (cf. Jn 13:21) (Jn 6:70). Judas was engulfed in darkness, fully overwhelmed by the power of the devil. Even after hearing the announcement, he plunged further and further into darkness till he had handed Him over into the hands of his enemies.
The proclamation of his glorification is the proclamation of his passing away from this world. This glory could be achieved if he laid down his life on the cross. The true glory involved in His death. John associates his glorification with his death.
The passion predictions of the Synoptics also stress the “must” of his suffering. The “must” of “lifting up” on the cross implies the divine will of God for mankind. It was the will of God that was leading “the Son of Man” towards the cross. He was united with God in carrying out the will of God for the world. In his death, John sees the fulfillment of the design of God.
The sin of the world reached to its climax, it obviously becomes a “must”; His chief concern was to lay down his life by being lifted up on the cross. The sin of the world is another reason for the “must” of the cross. He himself was absolutely without sin. The greatest sin of the world was incredulity in Him. He accepted death on the cross because he did not want anyone to get lost.
The death of Him is an event which involves the salvation of mankind. He had to undergo suffering and death as a prerequisite to save man. He accepted death on the cross to bring salvation to mankind. The Israelites looked at the bronze serpent set on a pole and were healed (cf. Num. 21:2-8). In the same way, true salvation of man lies in looking up on the cross with faith. The healing of the Israelites was a temporary event, which took place only at that period, but the saving activity of the Son of Man is continuous salvation. It is offered always and at all times. It heals and changes the innermost being of the one who gazes at it with faith (cf. Jn 9:37). This salvation is opened to the whole world and to all men. The Son of Man redeems us by his death here and now.
Sr. M. Marcelline Paul (Warispura, Faisalabad - Pakistan)
13 April, 2019