Is it just me, or can Jesus be really confusing at times?
“…Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you.” (John 17:1 NLT)
Not only is he confusing, but it looks like he has a big ego! Who prays, “Give me glory?”
The What and Why of Glory
I have to start with “Why?” If I can’t get past the idea that God (and Jesus) are egomaniacs, then I’ll never be able to objectively look at the motive behind Jesus’ request.
But before I can understand why, I have to understand what: What is this glory?
God’s glory is God being revealed to the world. When we get to see God’s glory, we see something of God’s being, God’s nature, and God’s presence. (Source: IVP NB Dictionary: “Glory.”)
To see glimpses of God being revealed in the New Testament, consider these events:
- The Shepherds in the field on the night Christ was born (See Luke 2:9, 14)
- The transfiguration (See Luke 9:28-36)
These glimpses revealed God to everyday people. In these glimpses of God, people found hope and strength… but they also found fear.
While fear may get our attention, it isn’t necessarily a recipe for a loving relationship. Fear created distance. Fear created far.
God didn’t want to be far… God wanted to be near.
God’s Plan to Get Close
So God launched Operation Jesus!
“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” (John 1:14 NLT)
Notice the combination: the Word becomes human and lived among us in a way that revealed God’s being, God’s nature, and God’s presence (our definition of Glory).
Think about what it looked like as Jesus walked the earth during his ministry: (See Luke 4:18, 19)
- the poor heard good news
- he proclaimed that captives would be released, and the oppressed set free
- the blind would see
- all would know that the time of the Lord’s favor had come
God was getting closer!
Is it Ego?
Jesus’ request for glory is not egotistical; in fact it’s quite the opposite. Jesus is asking God to make God’s being, nature, and presence visible in human form (fully God, yet fully man). Jesus wants people to see a life that makes God’s presence known. It’s not about him!
How do we know? Because Jesus’ request comes as he approaches the cross. It’s costly and painful. Jesus makes God’s presence known by taking the absolute worst the world had to offer, and turning it into the best that God can give. He turns:
- Suffering into peace
- Fear into love
- Despair into hope
In Jesus’ life, we see the ultimate picture of love meets hate… and love WINS!!!
If I were God (and I’m surely not!), I would want people to know that about me. That I would do anything to release you from whatever darkness has bound you. That I would lay down my life to set you free.
But you wouldn’t know that about me, unless I found a way to show you my being, my nature, and my presence. You wouldn’t know that unless my Son came in a form you could recognize, and asked for glory so that he could glorify me.
It’s not about “me” after all… it’s about you!
How can we mere mortals glorify God? Who do you know that does this, and how?