John 13:21-33, 36-38 (NRSVCE)
After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’
Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.
Can we just take a moment to appreciate how silly this scene is? Jesus tells the disciples that someone is about to betray him. Which one? “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread.” He then hands the bread to Judas, and Judas leaves. And instead of thinking “Huh, Jesus said whoever he gave the bread to was going to betray him. And he gave the bread to Judas! Judas is going to betray Jesus!” the disciples instead think “Judas must be going shopping.”
But anyway, one thing which sticks out for me in this passage is that second paragraph. Jesus says “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him,” followed by the slightly less clear “If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.” Remember how we have read this Lent about how it is by Jesus’ obedience to the Father that the debt of honor is satisfied, and it is by the satisfaction of that debt that we are saved from death—from punishment. Now we see here Jesus speaking about being glorified. The Father is in him, and the Son in the Father. It is a mutual indwelling (remember again how we read about this perichoresis in the Trinity, in which each Person surrounds and contains the others). Jesus is fulfilling the will of the Father, and for that the Son is glorified. But the Son doing the Father’s will gives glory to the Father. Thus both are glorified. But because the Son also indwells in the Father, when the Father receives glory, He glorifies the Son who dwells within Him. Thus we see this beautiful circle of mutual glorification happening, and all of this is happening because the Father and the Son love each other. It is in this perfect love between Father and Son that we see the Holy Spirit. This is why we sometimes refer to perichoresis instead as the “divine dance of love”, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit give fully of themselves to one another, in an eternal flow of giving and receiving.
Then Jesus says something which is most interesting. He says to Peter, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.” It’s easy to skip this bit and move right on to Jesus foretelling Peter’s threefold denial. But there’s something important here. Jesus is returning to the Father. He is glorified, and the Father in him, and He in the Father. He is going to that divine dance of love, and he says that Peter will follow afterward. Peter here is not merely “Peter the man,” of course. Peter, as the rock upon which the Church is built, is representative of the Church. It is the Church which follows after Christ, and enters into that dance of love with the Holy Trinity! Not as God, surely, but glorified to a far greater participation than we could ever possibly hope for! The Church, who is forgiven for its failings (as Peter was forgiven for his threefold denial with his threefold affirmation later in John’s Gospel) is following Jesus to the Father. We are following so that we may spend eternity in that dance of love with God.