JOHN 13-21: “Glory,” and “glorified” are words the reader will encounter often in this part of John. Its one example of how Jesus, the Kingdom of God, and the Bible often turn the customary language of the world on its heads. In the mouths and minds of most people, then and now, glory has to do with conquest and domination, with the might of empires and the movements of armies, with the rhythmic tramp of marching legions and cavalry, to the accompaniment of drums and trumpets, the red, eagle-emblazoned banners rippling in the wind and the sun glinting off shields, helmets, breastplates and spear points. In John’s Gospel, glory is revealed on a cross. Or through a servant’s basin and a towel for washing feet. Do the same mental jujitsu with words like honor, power, authority or head in the New Testament if you wish to avoid the most common error of biblical interpretation: ascribing worldly definition to biblical words.
PSALM 101 combines the elements of a Wisdom Psalm with those of the Royal Psalms. It describes the domestic and legal policy of an Israelite king, in this case, David, with the wisdom by which he should rule. It also then foreshadows the rule of the Son of David in his city, the New Zion. For the church, “a kingdom of priests” and heirs to the throne of Jesus, the psalm tells us what sort of citizens of this king’s city we must aspire to be.
PSALM 102 is both a Lament and a Zion Psalm, possibly composed in the time of the Babylonian Exile, maybe even 70 years into it, for in verse 13 we read, “It is time to show favor to her [Zion]; the appointed time has come.” Yet the city is in ruin, we read. Still, even “her stones are dear to your servants; her very dust moves them to pity.” The psalmist’s own honor and value in life are tied up with the reconstruction and renewal of Zion. That is a foreshadowing of our own longing for the New Jerusalem and the reunion of all God’s people. There are apocalyptic elements to this Lament and Zion Psalm, in that the rebuilding and renewal of Zion (great is the psalmist’s faith!) will draw kings and nations to the worship of YHWH, something that is happening today through the mission of the church.
PSALM 103 is an exuberant and beloved hymn of praise for the many gifts, graces and mercies of God, foreshadowing some of the New Testament revelations, such as redeeming “your life from the pit,” (v. 4). It has been set many times to music. Just a few examples that you can access online would include:
by Sergei Rachmaninoff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYxklAuKkao
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4Svh-9ohg4 from the Taize community of southern France
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ajbkWXa3HE&feature=related a traditional Russian Orthodox setting.
Bach Cantata 137, “Lobe Den Herrn,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Oqk9xoIsWg&feature=related