(John 13:31-35; Exodus 33; Revelation 21:1-8)

If anything qualifies as a paradox, it is the cross of Jesus. “NOW is the Son of Man glorified,” yet when the moment came – all would forsake him, and even his closest and most trusted, would deny him. How is it that torture, humiliation, and yes – death, can be the NOW of glorification?

Good insight into the conundrum can be found in the thirty-third chapter of Exodus. There, Moses seems thick and stupid. God had said twice, that even if “for a single moment” he would join them on their journey to the promised land, he would “consume” them, for they are a “stiff-necked people” (Ex 33:5). God cannot abide sin. It cannot inhabit his presence; yet, Moses responds to this twice-repeated stark tragedy, by requesting that God go with them to the promise land (33:15). He seems to be asking for the very thing that will bring God’s judgment against them – ending their journey before it even begins!

The resolution appears to be in the fact that Moses “has found favor” with Yahweh (33:12). After all it was Moses who was “the friend of God,” and with whom he met in “the Tent of the Meeting” where Moses would meet with God face to face, as a friend meets a friend (33:7-12).

But wait! Moses wasn’t even allowed into the promised land because of his sin. Something does not fit; something is off kilter. Perhaps…

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