By Matt Redmond
Back when I was doing youth ministry, there was this one night I was teaching in Romans. There were many nights when I would teach, and I would know I had their attention. They were with me, and the Holy Spirit was moving among them. Something was happening, and I knew it. Those were special nights.
This was not one of those nights.
I knew I was not getting through, no matter how hard I tried. The metaphors fell flat and the examples were not connecting. I could hear their souls longing to reach for their phones. I was frustrated.
What was I trying to get them to see? We were discussing the glory of God. And I was struggling to get them to understand what God’s glory was and why it was so important. And then something happened that I will never forget. This young girl leaning back in her chair spoke up and made it clear.
“Do you mean His wonderfulness?”
In that one word she had made clear what I, the seminary-trained pastor, could not. And ever since, I have used her definition and that story when communicating what the glory of God means. Her definition holds up, even when I set it against those of the theologians throughout history.
So when I see Jesus in His High Priestly Prayer (which He prayed right before His arrest, death, and resurrection) say, “glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You,” I read Jesus’s words through the lens of that girl’s definition of glory.
When Jesus prays that He would be glorified, He is praying that we would see His wonderfulness and that He would then, in turn, show off the wonderfulness of the Father to us. Now, if I were to pray this, that would be awful. My wonderfulness—if there is any—would not do you any good. It would be an arrogant prayer for me or any of us to pray. So why is it not arrogant for Jesus to pray this?
Because apart from us seeing Christ’s wonderfulness, we have no hope. We must see the wonderfulness of His perfect life. There are many wonderful things in His life to see, not the least of which is His perfect obedience to the Father and His ability to never sin. We must see the glory of His death. It is gruesome and tragic, but we must see the wonderfulness of how loved we are in His giving His life so that we could be saved from our biggest problem, our sin. And we must see the wonderfulness of the resurrection. Even though He was as dead as dead can be, He rose from the grave; and we are given the wonderful promise that because He rose, we will, too, if our faith is in Him.
See this in full wonder: when Jesus prays that we would see His wonderfulness, it is the most loving prayer He could have prayed. Wonder of wonders. May the Lord give us eyes to see the wonder of who He is.
Get truth delivered straight to your inbox.
Sign up to receive daily Bible readings every morning.
2 thoughts on "The Glorified One"
15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
There’s so much in this larger passage. Books could be written on the topics Jesus references and the new questions that they open. I am fascinated by the dialogue from Jesus about his relationship to the Father (from him before creation but one with him). But most of all, I am in awe of the tender pleading and wrestling tone of parts of this conversation, including in the verses about.
Jesus already sees his disciples as “not of the world”. He asks that they be kept from evil and sanctified/set apart. He’s referring to his disciples at this point, but I think this sentiment applies to all believers today. I pray this for myself, my family, and all believers.
There’s a lot to unpack even in this tiny portion. Our “citizenship” has changed already, just by choosing to follow Jesus. Also, God keeps us from evil and sets us apart/sanctifies us — we cannot do that ourselves. This is yet another tearing down of our pride/self-righteousness. We think of “into your hands I commit my spirit” as a statement at the end of human life, but it’s the prayer that we make when we first respond to the Gospel, too.
Please keep us from evil. Set us apart and use us.
I like that word “wonderfulness” as well, thank you for sharing! And thank you Nolan for your comments!
Post Comments (2)