God is glorified when we share in Jesus’ knowledge and enjoyment of the Father.
John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
—“These things” refers to Jesus’ promise of a new home for his followers in His Father’s house. It also involves us receiving the Holy Spirit—the spirit of truth—to help us live the life Jesus expects us to live in accordance with the fact that Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). It also refers to the fact that we cannot do anything apart from Christ which is life-giving. Abiding in Him and His love proves we are His disciples (John 15:1-10).
—It is expected that we would follow His instructions.
So what is Jesus’ joy? I think this is revealed in His prayer in John 17, particularly verses 22-26, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me were I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
Jesus’ joy is perfect unity with the Father, sharing in His glory, and somehow letting us share in the same. Out of His reciprocated love for the Father, Jesus has made the Father’s name known and is praying that the same love would be in His disciples so they, in turn, would also make the Father’s name known. Jesus’ love is knowledge of and enjoyment of the Father—this glorifies God. Now He is praying that we would glorify God in the same manner. God is glorified when we share in Jesus’ knowledge and enjoyment of the Father. This is a literal sharing in the glory of God—a manifestation of His presence in our lives.
Why is this significant?
First, what is the glory of God? The Greek word translated “glory” in John 17 and many other places is δόξα, “doxa.” This is to esteem, think highly of—approval, majesty, honor, brightness.
In the Old Testament, often the word “glory” is translated from the Hebrew word “kabod,” meaning “abundance, honor, splendid, wealth,” and derived from the Hebrew word “kabed,” meaning “heavy, weighty, burdensome, distinguished.” God’s glory is a weighty matter not to be taken lightly. It is the Hebrew word “kabod” which we see in Isaiah 42:8—God will not give His glory to another. God promised to redeem Israel, and they are loved—for HIS GLORY (Isaiah 43:1-7). In Exodus, God’s glory was an observable manifestation of His presence. God’s very essence—in character, deed, presence, and esteem—is wrapped up in His glory.
Jesus was loved by the Father “before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). We have to recognize that God created everything so that He would be glorified, out of a love for Himself—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, completely one in essence, purpose and person. He did not do it for us. He created us for HIS purpose of glorifying Himself. That is why He made man in His “image and likeness” (Genesis 1:26). HIS ULTIMATE PURPOSE FOR EVERYTHING IS THAT HE WOULD BE GLORIFIED AS GOD.
--Romans 11:36—From Him, through Him and to Him are all things…to Him be the glory!
Is God’s glory what we treasure?
Romans 1:18-32—God’s wrath is revealed on those who have exchanged His glory—not honoring Him as God or giving thanks to Him for what He clearly made, evident within every person. God is a righteous judge who has given every single person a choice: glorify Him as God, SHARING IN HIS VERY LIFE, or worship and serve something else, DESERVING WRATH.
Making it Personal
I am realizing I have a selfish view of God. Every sin is rooted in wanting glory for myself. Am I subjecting every thought, attitude, goal to my Heavenly Father? There is no greater joy than knowing Him! Let us hold on loosely to everything else…forget the past! Isa. 43: 18-19, 21
—Dedicate our future to Him.
—In the future there is laid up for us a crown of glory! (2 Timothy 4:8). Let’s live for that now, loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, body and strength. This frees us up to love others unselfishly.
What are we holding onto that is preventing us from doing that? A lot of people have been telling me “congratulations” upon hearing that I am called to Centre Union Church. However, I am realizing more and more that this is a solemn call to lay my life down all the more. To follow Jesus is to deny ourselves and take our cross daily. That is, to put to death my selfish desires, pride of life, and fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. (1 Peter 2:11) Our lives should show this world that there is a greater life—true life—AND IT CAN ONLY BE FOUND IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. He has made it possible to know and enjoy our Heavenly Father for whom we are made. God is glorified in this.
This is the blog of Tyler Shepard, the Associate Pastor for Centre Union Church in Yeagertown, PA.
I hope you are encouraged and challenged to walk more closely with Jesus Christ!