1997-11-13 - Sharing the Spotlight
The Cross Series, Part 17
The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus
John 17:4-10 "I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do. 5 "And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. 6 "I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world; Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to Me, and they have kept Thy word. 7 "Now they have come to know that everything Thou hast given Me is from Thee; 8 for the words which Thou gavest Me I have given to them; and they received them, and truly understood that I came forth from Thee, and they believed that Thou didst send Me. 9 "I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine; 10 and all things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.
What is it to glorify someone? Is it to praise or magnify someone with words or deeds? That is a facet of it to be sure, but only a facet. To say that was all of it would be like judging a fabulous gem based on one of its magnificent cut faces. How did Jesus glorify the Father? Jesus did honor the Father with public statements of faith and praise. Those would be "the words which Thou gavest Me". But everything that Jesus did and everywhere He went was with authority and purpose. The Lord knew the multitudes would follow to hear His words. He knew they would stay until it was late and they were all very hungry. He knew the little boy would graciously offer his small meal to help feed the people. And Jesus purpose was to glorify His Father with the miracle of the fish and the loaves. The people glorified God at every turn. When someone honored Him, the praise was turned to the Father. It was not until Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem that Jesus permitted the crowd to praise Him.
Of all the men, women and children who have ever lived Jesus could have taken the spotlight. He was very God! Light from Light, True God from True God. He is the Creator of this world, He holds the title deed which we see in the Revelation. If anyone had the authority and the right to ask or even demand to be honored, it would be Jesus Christ. And yet, He chose to be born in a stable, to be worshiped by shepherds who were considered low in society. He blew the minds of the Doctors of the Law at age 12, and still left quietly with His mother and step-father when they came and found Him. He worked in Joseph's carpenter's shop learning quietly to hang a door straight and honor His customers with a correct bill, respect and service.
He honored John the Baptist's observation:
Matt 3:14-15 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?" 15 But Jesus answering said to him, "Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he permitted Him.
Jesus reply was gentle and understanding. Even when the Master derided the Pharisees with the "Eight Woes" (Matthew 23; Luke 11:46-52) it was to protect the people who would listen to these men who held their own interests far more dearly than they interests of God. It was a wakeup call to the very men he railed on that day. It was an attempt to rattle their cages and shake them to their senses. Once again, to point them to the Father. Sadly, it seems they did not hear.
And finally, as we will see in a few weeks, He suffered unspeakable indignities and the hands of His own creation. The irony is that, as we beat and spit on Him and nailed His hands and feet to the cross, He was loving us. He was allowing His blood to be spilt as an eternally acceptable sacrifice. The offering was not for Himself, but for us so He could open the way to the Father for us. The way that had been closed since Adam and Eve had willfully disobeyed God in the Garden.
Phil 2:5-11 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Lord Jesus, You showed us time and time again that it was Your intent to turn the spotlight You where in, and even deserved, to the Father. You did this willingly. It goes against our selfish, self-centered natures to do this. Your life of humility and obedience is the model for us to follow. And even though we can not attain it in our own strength, with Your help we can catch glimpses and tastes of the essence of this life. To do something simply out of love, expecting nothing in return, not returning the hostility when reviled. It is very scary to consider emptying ourselves, even to fill the void with love. You will have to provide us the courage to let go as well as You do Your work in our hearts and lives. Guard our hearts and minds from self, and teach us more and more of the things You have for us. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.