Messiah Lutheran Church :: The Story of Jesus Glory

The Story of Jesus Glory

Dear Christian friends,

            ‘Glory’ is one of those words that can be hard to define.  We often think of glory is what happens when an athlete   makes the winning shot or makes the game winning play.  People hold that person in special esteem.  He is the object of praise.  The Greek word for glory comes from the word “think.”  Someone thinks about the person who does something great and spectacular and then lifts him up, exalts him and holds that person in high esteem. 

            Have any of you ever been the person to win a game with the last second shot or game winning play?  In high school our football team beat the team that was picked to win the conference championship. We played them tight all through the game.  While the scoreboard showed the score that we were a point ahead, I had it in my mind that the score was tied.  But then I was a lineman on offense; linemen were always slow in the head.  I was a linebacker on defense and we were always getting conked in the head.  So when the game was over, I couldn’t figure out why my teammates were jumping up and down; I really couldn’t figure out why Coach hugged me.  Why were they so excited about a tie? 

I finally figured out that we had won.  I looked at the scoreboard.  In fact, the play that made a difference I was very involved in.  I knocked down a pass for a two point conversion.  That kept us ahead by a point.  It certainly isn’t funny but I must have been hit on the head.  But you know what?  It was really cool to walk around all week as a member of the team that pulled off an upset.  It was cool to be well-thought- of and get the glory even though it lasted only a week.  The team we played clobbered us. 

            Today by inspiration of the Holy Spirit the apostle John remembers an incident from Jesus’ last days before his crucifixion.  It speaks about Jesus’ glory, his magnificence that came about in such an unexpected way humanly speaking.  Let’s consider “The Story of Jesus’ Glory. 1)  His glory is meant for all people; 2) His glory is found in his suffering; 3) His glory was confirmed by the heavenly Father.

            Jesus was in Jerusalem .  This was Holy Week.  In not too many hours Jesus would be crucified.  It was also Passover.  Many people from around the world had come to Jerusalem .  Many met Jesus and it was clear he was a celebrity.  “Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee , with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”

            While we can’t go beyond the Scriptures and say more than it says, it would be interesting to know why these Greeks came to Jesus.  Did they see a miracle?  Did they hear stories about him?  Were they in the crowds and heard him speak?  Whatever the case, they wanted a private audience with Jesus. It is nice to see that they weren’t satisfied staying at a distance.  They wanted to know more about him. 

There needs to be more people like that.  We need to be more like that.  It sure would be nice to have tons of people looking up our website like the fantasy baseball or football websites have.  I sure would love to see more people call 770-751-9357 or 678-799-1621 inquiring about Bible classes or inquiring about theological questions. 

            These Greeks went to Philip.  There was probably a good reason.  Philip was a Greek name.  For some reason Philip wasn’t sure that Jesus would be delighted to meet with them.  Philip! Nothing could be further from the truth!  Sure Jesus said he was sent to the lost sheep of Israel .  Sure, historically the Jews were first; after all they knew the background of the Old Testament.  Philip, don’t you remember how Jesus healed the servant of the Roman centurion.  He used the Syro-Phoenician woman as an example of great faith.  Jesus wants everyone to know his name!  He wants everyone to testify to know his splendor and glorify him.    

            That’s why we reach out to the elderly at Dogwood Forest .  That’s why we have a ministry to people at Sarah Care in John’s Creek.  That’s why we are trying to build our Jesus Cares Ministry.  That’s why we offer services on Saturday and Sunday.  That’s why we want to have two services on Easter Sunday, a Sunday that even irregular and church shopping people are inclined to go to Church.  God wants all to understand and give Jesus the glory that is due him. We are already his; we want other to be also.  We want others to know our glorious Jesus.  

II.        When we consider the story of Jesus’ glory, the glory is found in the fact that he suffered for us.  We see and praise him for his willingness to humble himself and to be the servant of all by dying for all.  “Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” 

I wonder what people thought when he said the hour has come for him to be glorified.  Perhaps for a fleeting second they thought that Jesus had organized the rebellion and all his followers were going to come out of the woodwork and get rid of Roman rule.           But that’s not what he meant at all.  Immediately he explains what he meant.  “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”  We certainly have the benefit of looking in the rear view mirror when he uses this illustration. We get a little lesson in botany.  If you take a kernel of wheat there is a hard seed cap around it.  If you put that kernel in your pocket, it won’t grow in a hundred years.  But when you put it into the ground, the seed cap is exposed to moisture and the chemicals of the dirt. The seed cap breaks down. Soon roots form.  Jesus says that the seed has to die so that many more times the number of kernels form.   

Jesus said that is what must happen to him so that others will live.  Without his death and resurrection, his conception, his birth, his teaching and even his miracles would be useless.  He had to die so a people would come forth forgiven and cleansed in his blood.  He had to die so people could experience the harvest and go to heaven.  That was his mission.  Therein lays his glory and magnificence.  The greatest of all became the servant of all, so we his servants could experience the greatness of heaven.   

The person who understands what Jesus does will also do what Jesus did.  Jesus says, “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” As people who love Jesus we want to die to ourselves.  Do you understand what it means to die to yourself?  Just as Jesus was ready to die and put us first, we are called to die to ourselves and put Jesus first. 

Yet many might find that so depressing.  Surely there are some good things about me, aren’t there? But understand this:  it is not about showing ourselves to others; it is about showing Christ through us.  For that to happen we need to die to the selfish and self willed nature.  We need to let go of our plans and what we want based on our comfort and convenience.  Dying to self is purging ourselves of all that is not love.   

How does this relate to our theme for today in Jesus’ glory story?  Remember that in God’s kingdom giving glory to God is not about having a triple double as a basketball player, or hitting a home run as a baseball player or even devising a brilliant war maneuver like some general.  Giving glory and praise to Jesus occurs as Jesus says, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.”  It is all about service and humility. 

That’s where Jesus magnificence lies.  He is the king above all others but humbled himself to show us more love than we could ever deserve.  His glory, his magnificence is in his humility.    

Jesus’ glory is confirmed by the Father in heaven.  Jesus really gives us a look at what is going on inside of himself.  He was no robot.  He was God and man in one.  As true man he says some things that ought to comfort us.  “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.”  Later in the week,Jesus would pray in the Garden of Gethsemane that if the Father in heaven would remove the cup of suffering from him.  He prayed if there somehow could be another way for the sins of the world to be paid for.  Yet he said that it was not his will but the Father’s will that needed to be done.  Here his says, “No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.”  His heart was troubled.  He knew what he was facing in the next few days.  It was anything but awalk in the park or a grand vacation.  He was facing death.  There was great suffering to come.  We see his humanness.

Have you ever thought about what lay ahead for us too?  Who hasn’t?  I don’t know about you but to me it seems a little like this: I know I am going to heaven, but what does the Lord have in mind before I get there?  Just understand this: Jesus had to suffer for the sins of all; we don’t.  Jesus had to suffer hell; we won’t.  In that light, we can better understand why Jesus says, “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’?

I have ministered to people who have been on their deathbed and confided, “Pastor, I am afraid!” Hey, Jesus understands.  Death and all that it included made him feel uneasy too.   

None of his feelings disqualified him from dying for us.

Father, glorify your name!” The Father did indeed oblige.  Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.” Did you hear about the little town in Wisconsin that has been hearing booms in the middle of the night.  Many citizens have been awakened to hear loud noises.  I know where that is.  I have been there.  I have relatives who live there.  They think they are tiny earthquakes.  

Something mysterious to some happened in Jerusalem that Tuesday of Holy Week.  It was not an earthquake.  It was the voice of the Father who was letting everyone know that he had glorified Jesus in the past and was going to do it again.  He glorified Jesus at his birth with a chorus of angels and a star that brought men to praise him from distant lands.  He glorified Jesus at his Baptism when the Father spoke from heaven and the Spirit came down from above.  He glorified Jesus on the mountain when Jesus’ face was like a bright light and his clothes shown like nothing else could.  It would happen again, when angels would say, “He is not here, he has risen just as he said.” 

“This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.  The battle was about to begin.  Satan would fall.  Yes, there was the trial, the beatings and the mocking and the flogging and the humiliation Jesus would bear.  But there was victory in the resurrection and ascension and the fact that he is coming again to the world to judge.  All who are drawn to him, of whom you and I are part will be saved.  All that will be left to do is give him the glory!  That’s the final chapter in Jesus’ glory story.

 

Amen

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