Summary: Glorifying God, no matter what happens to us.
John 21:15-23 – No Matter What
And so we have reached the end of our series called I Serve a Risen Saviour: Lessons from John 20-21. We saw from Peter and John that it’s OK not to understand everything that’s going on around you, but we can still trust God. Then we saw from Mary Magdalene what devotion to Jesus looks like. Next we looked at the issue of fear, and how it keeps us from doing our best. After that, we talked about doubt: it’s OK to doubt, but God wants us to move past our doubts to faith. Last week, we heard from a bunch of fishermen about how Jesus really deserves to be our Boss and our Master. Today, we are in John 21:15-23, and we will be looking at what it means to glorify God in our lives. Let’s read.
Verse 19 talks about the kind of death Peter would have that would glorify God. I want to use that thought as a springboard for today’s message. Glorifying God. What does it mean to give God glory? Well, let me say, that even if it’s hard to define, it’s still something we should try to do.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” No matter what you do, you should give God glory. OK…
How about this? 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 in the KJV says, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you and which ye have from God, and that ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.” Glorify God in your body.
Romans 15:5-6 says, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In this verse, Paul says that when Christians are united in our efforts to follow Jesus, we are glorifying God.
These verses have simply said that we need to give God glory. Other verses give us clues about how to do it. Matthew 5:16 in the NASB says for us to, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” We live good lives, others see it, and then they glorify God.
This verse uses the word picture of “light”. That taps into much of the OT images of glory. Exodus 40 tells about the Israelites setting up the Tabernacle, the huge tent where they would worship God in the desert. That chapter contains these words: “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”
Deuteronomy 5 describes Moses talking to God’s people and says this: “When you heard the voice out of the darkness, while the mountain was ablaze with fire, all the leaders of your tribes and your elders came to me. And you said, “The LORD our God has shown us his glory and his majesty, and we have heard his voice from the fire.”
It seems to me, that even though “glory” is hard to define, a person knows it when they see it. It’s about brightness and power and majesty and fire and holiness. It’s about noticing the things of God, who he is, what He has done. It’s about giving God attention. Giving God glory is about magnifying Him, giving Him the credit He deserves, acknowledging His radiance and splendour.
It today’s media and celebrity-obsessed world, glory can be defined as credit, fame, praise, admiration, stardom, eminence, prominence, celebrity, or renown. Giving glory is about making much of something or someone.
So, I guess you could say that glorifying God, giving God the glory, is about making Him look good. Not that He isn’t already good… this is no political spin, putting a better image on something than it deserves. But it’s about pointing to God, lifting Him up, showing people who He is, putting the attention on Him, giving Him credit, shining a light on His character.
Again I will read 1 Corinthians 10:31, which says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” As believers, it is our responsibility to point to God in everything we do. Our goal as people of God is to point people to God. Our actions and our words are supposed to point people to God. Our jobs and our family roles are supposed to point people to God. Our work and our play are all supposed to point people to God. Whatever we do, wherever we go, whoever we’re with… let us live lives that show who God is and what He’s done for us.