The Glorification Of The Son Of Man -- By: Peter Ensor

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 58:2 (NA 2007)
Article: The Glorification Of The Son Of Man
Author: Peter Ensor

The Glorification Of The Son Of Man

An Analysis Of John 13:31-32

Peter Ensor


The article examines the textual, exegetical and historical questions surrounding John 13:31-32. Accepting the Nestle-Aland text as it stands, the article argues that Jesus is represented as saying, at least in part, that through his return to the Father by way of the cross his divine qualities would be revealed, that he would thereby fulfil the role of the ‘one like a son of man’ of Daniel 7:13-14, and that God’s own divine qualities would also thereby be revealed. These motifs, it is argued, may be traced back to the historical Jesus and may even have been expressed in the context of the Last Supper, where John places them.

1. Introduction

The words attributed to Jesus in John 13:31-32 are found at a critical moment in the narrative of John’s Gospel.1 Jesus is sharing his last meal with his disciples prior to his death (13:1-4). He has washed his disciples’ feet (13:5-20), and has prophesied that one of his disciples would betray him (13:21-26). After receiving the morsel from Jesus, Judas goes out into the night (13:27-30), thus setting in motion those events which will lead to the arrest, trials, condemnation, and crucifixion of Jesus. It is at this juncture that, in John’s record, Jesus speaks those words which begin the so-called ‘farewell discourse’, and which form the subject of this study: ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in

him God is glorified; if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once’ (13:31-32).2

Despite their apparent simplicity, these words raise an unusually large number of questions, which continue to perplex the minds of interpreters. There are, first, the textual questions surrounding the opening clause of verse 32 and the reading of αὐτῷ in its second occurrence there. Then, secondly, there are the exegetical questions: (1) What event is being referred to in verse 31 (which includes the question of t...

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