death and glory

[23] And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. [24] Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. [25] Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. [26] If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honour him. [27] “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. [28] Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
 (John 12:23-28)

When Jesus says that the hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified, the excitement level would have gone through the roof. Hot on the heels of his triumphal entry to Jerusalem as the people welcomed their “king”, Jesus talks about the Son of Man being glorified, and the people immediately remember the book of Daniel:

[13] “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days    and was presented before him. [14] And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages    should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one    that shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14 ESV)

The son of man? 
The everlasting kingdom? 
Domion over all nations? 
The time has come for that Son of Man to be glorified? This is going to be great, the Romans will be kicked out and we’ll be free.

So they’re understandably confused when Jesus starts talking about death (which they express in v34).

For Jesus, His glory and God’s glory is most clearly seen in the cross. Death is not usually seen as glorious. Jesus keeps talking about it:

v24 - Jesus’ death is the way to life. Death is usually seen as the end, but Jesus’ death is the the seed that leads to the fruit of real, eternal, abundant life. Death, for Jesus and us, changes things but the fruit is better than the seed.

v25 - Loving your own life above all else cuts you off from the Author of Life and that’s leading you to death. True life is found through death - Jesus’ death allowing us to die to ourselves and start living.

v27-28 The cross wasn’t easy for Jesus, but it was the reason he came. It wasn’t incidental to his mission, it was his mission. It was harder than we can imagine but 
“for the joy that was set before him [Jesus] endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Death may seem like a subject to avoid but we end up singing about the cross and the blood and the sacrifice every week - because that's where we see the goodness and love of God most clearly.