A Family of Honor

I have noticed this point too, my friends, that in soldiering the people whose one aim is to keep alive usually find a wretched and dishonorable death, while the people who, realizing that death is the common lot of all men, make it their endeavour to die with honour, somehow seem more often to reach old age and to have a happier life when they are alive.
— Xenophon

In the opening voice of Jesus's Last Supper prayer we peek into the heart and soul of Jesus's iron-clad relationship with the Father.  The vocabulary is filled with armor laden words, words that inspire greatness and appeal to family-honor and soul-muscle:    "Great glory."  "Authority over humanity."  "Fulfilled the mission."   "Fused purpose."   "Honorable work."  "Holy Father."  "Divine Character."

When Jesus finishes the prayer he marches with his own cross to the Place of the Skull with nothing but courage, honor, and resolve and takes one for the sake of his Father's name.  He does the honorable thing.  He resists the temptation to fight violence with violence or to shame those with shame.   Instead he absorbs our rage and hatred and with nary so much as a word he bears our shame.    He shows us how a family honors one another and thus he initiates a family culture and ethic of honor.

None of the other Gospels really capture this picture as poignantly as John.  The imagery of a son honoring his father is communicated through John's predilection for two words--honor and glory.  Both words have a similar semantic domain in John, and are used with greater frequency than any other New Testament writer.   Honor is often defined in more horizontal terms like valuing an equal, esteeming them greatly, respecting and showing them favor.    Glory is usually defined in more vertical terms like praise, worship, ascribing worth and weightiness to one who is superior.    

Jesus's death brings both of these terms together quite literally on the cross (vertical and horizontal) in what the majority of scholars call the Book of Glory (Raymond Brown).  John esteems the cross as the Place of Honor, an intersection that reveals the dignity of the Father's name.   John paints the cross (unlike the Synoptics) as a gloriously resplendent throne that Jesus ascends to in his 'hour of glory' and honor.   Here the cross is not Rome's tool for oppressing a people into submission, but the Son's enthronement of submission to the Father's honor (19:11).   We gather more proof for it being a throne when we read the inscription placed on the headboard, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" (written in Latin, Greek, Aramaic).   The three languages assure that the whole Empire has been served notice that this throne is occupied.    And at this throne we see a thirsty King and his cup-bearers (19:28), a family of honor (19:25-27), and finally a teleo decree from the throne (19:30).   

This Sunday join us as Dr. Jeffrey Garner unpacks more of how we can love God intimately.

Sunday  |    Celebration Gathering  |  9:30 and 11:00

Come 5 minutes early.  Grab a Coffee.  Sing and sway into God's presence.