Reading Time: 7 Minutes
What kind of glory is important to God?
John 13.31-33 – When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’
When I first began thinking about the subject of glory in my early 20s, the first image that came to my mind was of a football player spiking the ball after a touchdown. Today, football glory looks like a touchdown dance in the end zone and a Super Bowl parade before adoring fans. As a big sports fan, I actually had tears in my eyes at both the Chief’s Super Bowl win and their victory parade.
Receiving the “glory” that comes from the crowd’s adulation can extend beyond sports to entertainment, politics, beauty, power, and intelligence. These are the people who populate the covers of magazines and the majority of our television programming.
James Thurber wrote a short story about a fictional character, Walter Mitty. I enjoyed that story when I was in grade school and have thought about it from time-to-time, since. Walter Mitty was a daydreamer, who imagined himself in several different occupations where he would receive the “glory” of the crowd.
Most of us will not have our own TV show or grace the pages of “Sport’s Illustrated” or “People” magazine. But, we can all daydream of some sort of greatness that will bring the applause of the crowd. I know I have done plenty of that kind of daydreaming. How about you?
Jesus saw his glory as something completely different from our common understanding. Isaiah helps us understand Jesus’ “glory” as something totally different from Walter Mitty like daydreams or our culture’s idea of glory. The summary below is Isaiah’s understanding of Jesus’ glory.
Isaiah 52.13-14 – Jesus was lifted up in glory, but not on the shoulders of his teammates. He was lifted up on a cross.
Isaiah 53.2 – Jesus did not come to earth with male-model good looks. His glory was not in his attractive appearance, but in the way he lived and the way he died.
Isaiah 53.3 – Jesus’ glory was to be despised and to be held to be of no account in the opinion of people.
Isaiah 53.4-6 – Jesus’ glory was to be punished by God, so that the same people who despised him could be healed and made whole.
Isaiah 53.11-12 – Jesus’ glory was revealed in the way he made life better for people like us. We are able to have a personal relationship with God and everything that goes with it, because he bore our iniquities and transgressions on the cross.
There are many ways we can express our profound gratitude to Jesus for what he did for us on the cross. We can worship him with songs and talk to him about his greatness in our prayers. But, I think the next Bible verses will give us insight into the best way to show Jesus just how much we love him.
Jesus’ new commandment
John 13.34-35 – “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The command to love one another was not new when Jesus spoke it. In fact, the command is as old as God’s instruction to Israel in the book of Leviticus, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19.18).
What is new about Jesus’ commandment is the sentence, “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (verse 34). We are to love each other in the same manner that Jesus has loved us.
The Apostle Paul explained this Jesus-kind-of-love in 1 Corinthians 13. If we are to love like Jesus, we will strive for what Paul outlined in that chapter. I have divided the verses into sections, so we can focus our attention on each of the individual qualities of a Jesus-kind-of-love. As you read this, you may want to begin each section with the words, “The Jesus-kind-of-love is . . .”
1 Corinthians 13.4 – Love is patient and kind.
1 Corinthians 13.4 – Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
1 Corinthians 13.5 – Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.
1 Corinthians 13.6 – Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.
1 Corinthians 13.7 – Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Not a t-shirt, a song or a sermon
Jesus ended his commandment about love by saying, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (verse 35).
One day when our children were young, I was wearing a “Jesus” t-shirt at Independence Center. I was in a grouchy mood and our kids were doing something that irritated me. I snapped at them in front of a crowd in a way that I still remember today. Then, I looked down at the message on my “Jesus” t-shirt. FAILED! In that moment I failed the “disciple test” before a crowd at a store.
The great English preacher, Charles Spurgeon, once said, “Many a great Sunday morning sermon has been ruined by how the preacher talked at Sunday lunch.” FAILED! How many times has our talk after church been so negative, narrow and nauseating that we fail the “disciple test” of love?
Today, let’s determine to get so connected with Jesus that he fills us with his life and we fully live a Jesus-kind-of-love life.
Dear Jesus, we are completely amazed by your humility and love. Your picture of glory is so different from ours. Please help us see the world through your eyes. We desire to know you and your love so deeply that we begin to love other people in the same manner that you love us.