I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. – John 17:4-5 ESV
Jesus had done what He had come to do. Interestingly enough, this prayer was prayed before His death, burial and resurrection, yet from Jesus’ perspective, even that part of His mission was as good as done. He was committed to complete the full assignment given to Him by God the Father. Jesus had come to earth and taken on human flesh. He had lived a sinless life. He had spread the news of the coming Kingdom of God and preached a message of repentance, calling people to return to God. He had performed miracles, healed the sick, ministered to the poor and spiritually needy. He had exposed the hypocrisy of the religious elite and trained the men who would carry forward the message of the gospel when He was gone. And all that Jesus had done brought glory to His Father in heaven. Why? Because He had been obedient to all that He had been asked to do. The apostle Paul encourages us, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV). Jesus lived His entire life on earth in order to glorify God the Father. Jesus was humble and not in it for His own glory. He suffered rejection, ridicule, false accusations, betrayal, torture, and eventually death – all in order to glorify God. His miracles were meant to glorify God. His words, whether encouraging the downtrodden or admonishing the arrogant, were said in such a way that they always brought glory to God. Paul challenges us to live the same way: “…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV). Peter echoes those same sentiments. “Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen” (1 Peter 4:11 NLT). Jesus lived fully obedient to and dependent upon His Father in heaven. He did nothing out of selfishness or with a hint of self-preservation. He knew His destiny included death, but was willing to go through with it because of His love for the Father. He trusted in His heavenly Father and was fully assured that His death would be acceptable to God as payment for the sins of mankind. He was also confident that God would glorify Him by raising Him back to life and returning Him to His rightful place. Paul tells us, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11 ESV).
Jesus’ entire life brought God glory, from the moment of His miraculous conception by the Spirit of God in the womb of Mary to His death on the cross. He lived to bring glory to God. He died so that men might be restored to a right relationship with God. For Jesus, the glory of the Father was more important than anything else. It was His life’s mission. When sinful men and women place their faith in Jesus as their sin substitute, it brings glory to God, because salvation was God’s idea. He sent His Son to die for the sins of man. He provided a way in which men might be reconciled or made right by Him. And the only way it could be accomplished was through the incarnation and crucifixion of His own Son. “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation” (Romans 5:8-9 NLT). Paul goes on to remind us, “So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God” (Romans 5:11 NLT). All to the glory of God. Jesus came, but God is the one who sent Him. Jesus obeyed, but God is the one whose plan He obeyed. Jesus died, but God is the one who raised Him back to life. So God gets the glory.
Do I live my life to the glory of God? Is my primary focus in life to bring Him glory through my willful obedience and humble submission to His will for my life? Like Jesus, my entire life should be lived to the glory of God. When I listen to His Spirit’s prompting and obey, it brings Him glory. When I humbly submit to His will, even when I don’t understand or like it, I bring Him glory. When I point people to Him and share His love with them, I bring Him glory. When I admit my weakness and allow Him to display His power through me, I bring Him glory. When I trust in the promise that He will some day glorify me and live with a sense of peace and joy, I bring Him glory. To God be the glory, great things He has done.