Summary: Are you striving to capture the attention of the world or to even make God take notice of you through your righteous achievements? The glory of man does not endure–it pales in comparison to the glory of Christ.
In Greek literature, Virgil wrote about the plight of humanity and how something new needed to be done to help man out of his predicament. In Greek thought, God was removed, a mere spectator, like someone observing a play in an amphitheater or a stadium– –sometimes intervening in a helpful way while at other times getting involved in ways that were harmful.
Many different perceptions about God have been expressed through literature. Shakespeare, for example in King Lear, expressed the idea of an angry vengeful god when he cried out, “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport.”
The Bible reveals the truth about God in a very different way. God was not just an uninvolved spectator, nor was He a disenfranchised director who would maneuver good or evil within the lives of the actors. God became an actor on the stage in the person of the God-man Jesus, and then took center stage on a rugged hillside outside of Jerusalem. It was there that God provided the help mankind needed. It was there that the spotlight of God’s glory was displayed through Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross.
Over 2,000 years have come and gone since that deciding scene in human history. Countless other actors in the play of life have tried to steal the show seeking to stand in the spotlight, but all have failed. The spotlight of God’s glory remains fixed upon the cross of calvary. From there the light of God’s glory permeates the world as it is reflected in the lives of those who have trusted Christ as their Savior.
Who is in the spotlight? Do you see the glory of Christ, or are you blinded by the stage lights of the world being held captive by its illusion? Who is in the spotlight? The Bible brings Jesus clearly into view. Let’s look again at John 13 and discover why God’s glory is revealed in Him and how we can in turn reflect His glory to others.
John opens this thirteenth chapter saying, “having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of His love.” Jesus then took the place of the servant washing His disciple’s feet; the greatest among them became the least. Afterwards Jesus told them that they should follow his example; they too must humble themselves putting the needs of others first with a servant’s heart.
Within this intimate setting Jesus then informs the twelve that one of them will betray Him. Each of the disciples are bewildered and wonder who it might be. When Judas is identified as the one who had entered into a conspiracy, he leaves the group to betray Jesus into the hands of His enemies. Even though Jesus has told them plainly, the other disciples do not understand what is about to happen.
This is where we again pick up the story in verse 31.
+ John 13:31-38 31When he [Judas] was gone, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. 32If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. 33"My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. 34"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." 36Simon Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later." 37Peter asked, "Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." 38Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times! (NIV)
This morning we want to take two lessons from this passage and apply them to our lives:
1. The Glory of God will be revealed in Jesus.
2. The Glory of God Will be Reflected by Jesus’ followers.
1. The Glory of God Will be Revealed in Jesus.
This is the moment that Jesus will be fully glorified as the Son of God. Jesus said, “NOW is the Son of Man glorified.” What does it mean for Jesus to be glorified? Put simply, Jesus is shown to be God.
Glory refers to the honor, and majesty together with the brightness and radiance of God united with God’s infinite perfections and moral attributes. Now that’s a mouthful!
• The radiance of perfect love, that’s God’s glory.