Of Dust and Divine

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. (John 17:1-5)

As Jesus arrives at the final moments of his life before the crucifixion, we see a steely determination to finish the task. Will it be difficult? Yes. Will it be excruciating (lit: from the cross)? Most definitely. In his divinity, Jesus wants this to happen, but his flesh must learn obedience through suffering. He prays, “Now is the time, Father. Glorify me that I may glorify you.”

The glorification of which Jesus speaks is most assuredly the crucifixion. We may struggle to see the crucifixion as glorifying, but it is the magnum opus of events in the biblical account. All the prophets and the Law pointed to the reality that the Son of Man - the eschatological divine King of Daniel 7 - must suffer and die, and from that death would spring newness of life. Jesus implores the Father, “Now is the time.”

The result of such glorification is, in part, authority. The Good Shepherd has the authority to seek and to save the lost, and to hold fast and close those the Father has given to him. He uses this authority not to seek his own self-interest, but instead leverages it for humility that he might gift eternal life to his beloved. Philippians 2:6-11 beautifully paints the portrait of Jesus’ earthly ministry:

Who, being in very nature God,
  did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
  rather, he made himself nothing
  by taking the very nature of a servant,
  being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
  he humbled himself
  by becoming obedient to death—
  even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
  and gave him the name that is above every name,
  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
  in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
  and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
  to the glory of God the Father.


What is the eternal life to which his sheep look forward? It is knowing him, knowing the Lord, knowing as we are fully known. Eternal life is so much more than clouds, harps, and singing. Eternal life is relationship restored, knowledge unveiled, to be known as we were meant to be and to know God in his divine eternity.

The cross is the culmination of the work that Jesus came to do. He did everything else the Father had charged him. He healed the man at the Pool of Bethesda, raised Lazarus from the dead, called the pharisees vipers, and cast thousands of demons from the man controlled by Legion. All this Jesus did, and more, but no more than his Father told him to do. After all, the Son only did what the Father was doing, only said what the Father was saying. With a life of obedience the Son glorified the Father, and the Father loved the Son.

The cross will make God’s people, by grace, what the Son of God is by nature. Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, his people taste his glory and share in the divine essence that existed before the world began. We become eternal beings. We, creatures of the dust, become spiritual beings. This is the great miracle of the resurrection - that which is fading away might become eternal; that which was scooped from the earth might become divine.

As the divine Son of God would co-mingle with man in the hypostatic union, now we, the Man of Dust, co-mingle with the divine.