They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left.
— Mark 15:27
When we think of the glory of God, we probably have something like Isaiah 6 in mind. The prophet Isaiah had a vision of God in a heavenly temple, “high and exalted, seated on a throne.” Seraphim (fiery creatures with wings) were flying about, singing, “The whole earth is full of his glory.” And the temple trembled and shook (Isaiah 6:1-4).
That’s glory. Glory is big. Glory is high. Glory is powerful. No doubt that’s what James and John have in mind when they ask to sit on either side of Jesus in his glory. They want the best seats in the house. They want to be where the action is. They want to be where power resides.
They have no idea what they’re talking about. Because Jesus is on a long mission that will redefine glory. Glory will not describe an untouchable God so high up as to be invisible, except in a vision. No. Glory will now describe God in human flesh, lifted a few feet off the ground and nailed to a cross. Glory will now describe the God available to be touched, to be spat upon, to be mocked. This is what it means for God to be human. And this is how glory is redefined when God becomes a suffering servant.
“We have seen his glory,” John says (John 1:14).
Jesus, we praise you for your glory. It’s a glory that overturns our expectations. Thank you for setting them right-side up. Amen.