Summary: Jesus came to reveal His glory.
“Jesus Came to Reveal His Glory”
It’s clear from the Bible that the apostle John was the closest to Jesus. He appears to be the one Jesus loved the most and in his writing we see an intimacy that we don’t see in the other gospels. This is especially true in the high priestly prayer that is recorded in John chapter 17. This is found in none of the other three gospels for some reason, but it is probably the best glimpse we have into the heart of Jesus, and is the last recorded public prayer of the Saviour before he’s arrested.
In the first 5 verses of this prayer the words glory and glorify are mentioned five times, and in the entire book of John these words are found 33 times. So the glory of God and Christ’s desire to glorify Him is a major theme of the book of John. Let’s read those first five verses…
As this prayer continues, we see that he is praying for us, the people who believe and will believe in Him. That God would keep us safe from the evil one if we are to stay in the world. If you think about that, he is about to go through a very horrid period of torture and hatred and momentary separation from God. He has already left his place in heaven to come and experience human life in a fallen, evil world for 33 years. He’s obviously very excited about the possibility of returning to heaven, but his focus is on praying for us.
He isn’t saying God please get me out of here as soon as possible, so I can leave all these folks behind and have what is rightfully mine again. It’s almost as if he’s reluctant to leave unless he can know for sure that those he leaves behind will be alright. He really loves the sheep that he has been given.
So how does Jesus glorify the Father?
I. By Coming to Earth
This is the first thing, and the thing that makes Christmas almost more emotional for me than Easter. Yes he died and was raised at Easter, but that was actually the end of His suffering forever. To me the act of surrendering his position to come be born as a baby with all the human limitations, into this cruel world, knowing what his life would be like, is a far greater sacrifice. When Jesus was born the angels announced it saying “Glory to God in the highest”.
God is the Almighty One. But he is also Immanuel. If you want a balanced picture of God, you’ve got to juxtapose those two names. He is God Most High and God With Us. He exists beyond the limits of time and space, but he’s also Immanuel—God with us.
This is illustrated well by a story A. C. Dixon shares:
A friend of mine who was quite a lover of the hunt told me the following story.
Rising early one morning, he said, “I heard the barking of a number of dogs chasing a deer. Looking at a large open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across the field and giving signs that its race was almost run. It leaped over the rails of the enclosed place and crouched within ten feet of where I stood. A moment later two of the hounds came over, and the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. Just then I felt that all the dogs in the West could not and would not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength.”
So is it when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God. I remember well when the hounds of sin were after my soul that at last I ran into the arms of Almighty God. God entered space and time 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem. He is knowable.
He came to earth so we could know him and learn to be like Him and he says as he glorifies the Father, we will glorify him when we truly follow Him. He says I am glorified in them in verse 10 of John 17.
What a statement!
Jesus says he brought the Father glory by doing the work he was given to do, and he asks that the Father would bring him back into the glory they shared before the world existed. If that isn’t a claim that he is part of the triune God, I don’t know what is. But he says I am glorified in those you gave me, just as you are glorified by me.
When we receive eternal life from Jesus and are sanctified by him, we bring glory to him. That is the rebirth we have which is similar to his birth when he came to earth. So we first glorify him by being reborn and receiving eternal life.