"Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." (John 12:27-28)
Why does Jesus say his 'soul is troubled'?This statement by Jesus is coming shortly after his followers were worshiping and praising Jesus as he rode a donkey down from the mount to Jerusalem.
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the king of Israel!" (John 12:12-13)
Certainly, the word "king" is mistranslated. The word βασιλεύς (basileus) can also mean "leader" or "prince" according to the lexicon. Jesus was certainly not a king. At best he was the spiritual leader of many people - those who followed him of course.
So Jesus is a bit troubled because they were praising Jesus as a spiritual leader. He is obviously not comfortable with this. He was not triumphant, as many would be when they are being praised and worshiped.
Why is Jesus asking God to glorify His Name?Jesus sees this “hour”* (better translated to "time") where he is being praised as an opportunity to glorify and praise God. He wants to make sure that God is glorified.
This is one of Jesus' greatest lessons. During his most triumphant time, he is most concerned about making sure God is praised. He doesn't see himself worthy of being praised. Jesus confirmed this when he said:
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. (Luke 18:19)
Sadly, glorifying God is the critical component that so many miss about Jesus’ life. Jesus was focused upon his students and disciples glorifying God and glorifying God's Name. This is why he was glorified by his students as he came into Jerusalem with:
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (John 12:13)And why Jesus also said:
"For I tell you, you will not see me until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Matt. 23:39)Glorifying God by glorifying His Name is a central precept of the teachings of the Jesus, as well as the teachings of the Prophets.
These texts illustrate one of Jesus’ most confidential and important teachings: To praise and glorify God and His Names.
In other words, we can see that Jesus was pleased not with being personally glorified, but pleased when his students were glorifying and praising God. This singing and glorifying God is an ancient teaching that has been passed down for thousands of years, and Jesus was echoing this.
The activities of Jesus’ students in glorifying God also indicate this.
Why is glorifying God important? It is a key part of the process of re-developing our own loving relationship with the Supreme Being.
God is not a vague force or light or simply a booming voice. God is a Person. He is the Perfect Person. God is the person we are searching for as we look for our soulmate.
And the reason we look all over for that perfect person in the form of our soulmate is that we have forgotten God, and we lost our natural relationship with Him.
Was this about Jesus being crucified?Many sectarian teachers have claimed that Jesus is describing the "hour" his body will be crucified.
Yet there is no mention* here about Jesus’ murder in these or the preceding verses. Rather, they describe how Jesus was glorified as he came towards Jerusalem, and then praised and glorified by many who had seen the rising of Lazarus from the dead:
Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. (John 12:18)This is confirmed by the Pharisees who were watching all the attention Jesus was getting:
So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!" (John 12:19)And Jesus mentioned that this was a moment in time when he was to be glorified:
"The hour has come for the son of man to be glorified." (John 12:23)So the “hour” - actually better translated to "time" from the Greek word ὥρα (hōra) - being referred to has nothing to do with Jesus being brutally murdered. The “hour” refers to a time when Jesus was being praised and glorified by many:
They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the king of Israel!" (John 12:13)The statement preceding (John 12:26) actually illustrates an intimate portrait of the real Jesus. Jesus was not a proud, boisterous person. Jesus was a humble person who saw himself as God’s servant. And this is reflected by various other statements that Jesus had made, such as:
"But He Who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from Him I tell the world." (John 8:26)and
"The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Matt. 23:11-12)These verses indicate that Jesus saw himself as God’s messenger and loving servant and the servant of others. He was simply not comfortable with all this praise and glorification.
And the verse above (John 12:27-28) illustrates that Jesus’ heart was troubled because he was not comfortable being praised. His purpose was not to become glorified but to glorify God with his life.
Therefore, after stating that his heart was troubled by all this praise, Jesus states that, “what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'?” This indicates that Jesus was struggling with the praise, and asking the Supreme Being to help him deal with it.
Is Jesus relying upon God?Yes, Jesus was relying on the Supreme Being. He had surrendered himself to God. This was also illustrated when Jesus prayed before his arrest:
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)This is quite opposite of the relationship that sectarian teachers are teaching we should have with God. They promote that our relationship should consist of asking God to give us stuff and then thanking Him for all the stuff. This focuses our relationship with God around the idea of God being our servant – getting us whatever we want – rather than us being God’s servant.
Jesus, however, did not perceive his relationship with God in this way. He saw himself as God’s servant, and thus, he saw that the situation before him – being praised by so many in Jerusalem – was actually an opportunity to bring attention to his LORD, the Supreme Being.
Therefore, Jesus says:
“No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour [time]*. Father, glorify your Name!"
Why do we need the Supreme Being?We were created by God to care for Him and exchange a loving relationship with Him. That is the purpose of our existence. But because God also gave us the freedom to love Him or not, some of us chose not to love Him and were sent here to the physical world to learn lessons of love and consequence.
In doing so, we’ve gotten wrapped up in the false temporary identities of our temporary physical bodies. This has allowed us to effectively forget our eternal natural relationship with the Supreme Being.
Those who wish to return to God are shown the way back. God sends His representative to bring us home. This is Jesus' role. Jesus wanted us to re-develop our natural position of loving God.
This concept of being a servant rather than a master is the key to our identity. As we search for happiness within this physical world we find that we continue to be empty as we try to consume things for ourselves. Even the wealthiest and most famous people feel empty because even though they have everything we dream of, it is not fulfilling.
Yet when we give to someone else – whether it be our time, care or gifts – we find that flicker of happiness. We find that we feel more fulfilled by giving than by receiving – and thus the oft-used quote “'tis better to give than to receive.”
People feel this, especially around the holidays. As a person becomes more mature and has experienced getting all kinds of gifts and other things from others, they soon realize that they feel better when they give to others. And even the wealthiest, most famous people, as they mature, feel more joy when they give to poor people or others in need.
Why do we feel better when we give?It is because by nature we are servants. We are givers. We care by nature. This is our natural position, because God created us to be His caregivers and the caregivers of each other.
And this is why Jesus wanted us to do God’s will:
"Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." (Mark 3:35)This statement by Jesus indicates that he too, sees himself as God’s caregiver (as doing God’s will means being God’s caregiver). This is why he sees peerage among those who are also caring for and serving God.
God, on the other hand, is by nature the Enjoyer. We are His servants and caregivers, and He is the Enjoyer. This means that caring for the Supreme Being gives us fulfillment. This is our natural position, and it is what Jesus is teaching.
A loving servant and caregiver is not the same as a slave. When a person loves another, they naturally care for them and do things that please them. This requires a relationship, and this is what Jesus is trying to teach us. This is reflected by his most important teaching:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)
*Here is the translation of Jesus' statement according to the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
"Now my mind has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Creator, save me from this time?’ But it was for this purpose that I came to this time. LORD, glorify Your Name.” Then came a voice from the heavens: “I have already glorified it and will glorify it again.” (John 12:27-28)