John field notes 12(b)(2): What the thunder said

‘Now my soul is in turmoil, and what am I to say? “Father, save me from this hour”? No, it was for this that I came to this hour.  Father, glorify your name.’ A voice came from heaven: ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ The crowd standing by said it was thunder they heard, while others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ Jesus replied, ‘This voice spoke for your sake, not mine.’ (John 12:27 – 30, REB)

Jesus looks over his audience. Philip and Andrew have just introduced him to the first large contingent of Greeks he has run into during his three-year ministry. These pilgrims have come for Passover but also to see Jesus. There they are, standing together.

Just behind them in the west, the sky begins to darken.

Jesus draws his audience in, as a hen might her chicks from an approaching storm, with his confidential reflections. “What am I to say?” he booms. Looking straight into the darkening sky, he concludes: “Father, glorify your name.” He stares upwards for a minute, then he climbs off the rock, which was serving as an informal dais.

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John field notes 12(b)(1): What the thunder said

‘Now my soul is in turmoil, and what am I to say? “Father, save me from this hour”? No, it was for this that I came to this hour.  Father, glorify your name.’ A voice came from heaven: ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ The crowd standing by said it was thunder they heard, while others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ Jesus replied, ‘This voice spoke for your sake, not mine.’ (John 12:27 – 30, REB)

Jesus confides in his disciples, shares his inner turmoil with them. Then he sighs, wonders out loud how he should pray, and resolves on a resigned, ejaculatory prayer: “Father, glorify your name.” Just then it thunders.

To encourage him, some of Jesus’ disciples suggest the thunder answers his prayer. “God must be saying, ‘I will,'” Peter says.

“The thunder rolled on too long,” Matthew counters, brightening. He hopes the group’s new mood, brought on by the fortuitous empyrean event, will continue. “I think God is saying, ‘I have glorified it.'”

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