Every year, around the 4th of July, there is a lot of talk about freedom, death and glory. We certainly do want to reflect on these concepts at a national level, e.g., we pause to think about and give thanks for the soldiers that have given their life for our country.
But as we do, we can and should take time around the 4th of July to consider the freedom, death and glory of Jesus Christ. Indeed, any man or soldier who we give glory to for their heroic deeds is but a foreshadow of the greater glory and greater deeds of Jesus Christ.
Jesus himself brings this to our attention in John 17:1-5 when he actually prays for glory.
Turn your eyes to verse 1. What does Jesus ask for? He asks for glory. Jesus says, “Father, glorify Your Son.” For us as humans, it would be selfish to ask God to glorify ourselves, right? If I hear anyone asking God to glorify them, I’ll be suspicious of them. But it is not selfish of Jesus to ask for glory. For one, He is God. Jesus is deserving of all glory, honor, and praise.
So how is Jesus glorified and how does that result in glory to the Father?
Let us unpack that. How is Jesus glorified? Generally, when we say, “We glorify You, Jesus,” we essentially mean “We praise You, we honor You, Jesus.” But that is not what Jesus means. Jesus is not asking for the Father to praise Him. He is not seeking for the Father to honor Him. Rather, Jesus means, “Father, make Me look glorious to the world. May I be seen as glorious.” That is what Jesus means.
Now we still haven’t answered how Jesus is glorified. The clue comes in the context of the request. Did you notice what prompts Jesus to ask His request? Look again at verse 1. Jesus says, “Father, the hour has come.” What is this hour? Jesus brings it up a lot. Here are a couple of examples. In John 2:4, Jesus says, “Woman, what does this have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” John 7:6 states, “My time has not yet come.” John 8:20 states, “These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; but no one arrested Him, because His hour had not yet come.” But now that Jesus is on the eve of His crucifixion, the hour has come. The hour, pure and simple, is the hour of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and exaltation. That is His hour. Those cosmic, history changing events are His hour.
So, let us connect the dots. Now that the hour has come, now that Jesus is about to be murdered, Jesus asks the Father to make His death and His resurrection glorious, and that is precisely what happened. Jesus was shown to be glorious at the cross. He was shown to be glorious in His resurrection.
Ponder with us. At the cross, Jesus’ divine humility was on display. Though He is God, He humbled Himself to the point of death, even death on a shameful cross. At the cross, Jesus’ love was on His display. Though we had sinned and offended the Triune God, Jesus paid our price. He bore the wrath that we should have received from the Father. He bore the judgment that we might be made right with God, and instead of receiving condemnation, we were granted forgiveness of sins. Instead of being punished, we were granted freedom from sin’s power. We received pardon. We received love. We received adoption as children of God. We received love! We are all the recipients of this love and spiritual blessings because of Jesus’ death on the shameful, horrible cross. Jesus’ glory was on full display for the world to see. The hour of His death magnified Jesus’ glory. Hallelujah!
However, the glory didn’t stop there. Jesus’ glory was on full display in His resurrection. By rising from the dead, Jesus handed death a fatal blow. He snatched the power of death. In the same way, Jesus dealt Satan a lethal blow. While Satan thought he won by having Jesus put to death, Jesus smashed. Satan by rising from the grave. He delivered a death-blow to Satan.