Word of the Month

Glorifying the Father

July 2013

In His intercessory prayer Jesus prayed to His Father: “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17: 4). This is, as it were, a summary of the life of Jesus Christ.

Jesus concentrated on His Father and on the will of His Father. How did He glorify His Father? Let us look at some special situations. Take the temptations of Christ in the wilderness for instance, when Jesus succeeded in resisting the Devil, or when Jesus brought His sacrifice and gave His life for mankind. Through these special deeds He glorified God. Yet surely the words of His intercessory prayer were not only referring to the great and spectacular deeds, but also to all the little things He did.

When did Jesus glorify His Father in little things? We find some accounts of this in Scripture. When He was a boy of twelve years of age, and His parents looked for Him and finally found Him in the temple, He said: “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”  (Luke 2: 49). He glorified His Father through His attitude: I must be in the house of God. We can do the same!

Let us likewise glorify our God. When Jesus glorified His Father, He was Himself, in turn, glorified by God, for example in His resurrection and His ascension. These were the effects of His endeavours to glorify God. If we today seek to glorify God to the very best of our abilities, Jesus and His Father will glorify us the moment we leave this earth and are permitted to be with Him for all eternity. It is therefore important that we glorify our heavenly Father and His Son to the best of our ability.

But now let us come back to the question of how we can glorify God. We can do this in very small things. They do not always have to be spectacular works or deeds that border on the miraculous. Like Jesus, we too can cultivate an attitude of wanting to be near God as often as we have the opportunity. This can occur in the divine services or in our prayers. Thereby we glorify our heavenly Father. Let me give you another example of how Jesus glorified His Father in little things. One day someone came to the Lord and asked Him: “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” The address “Good Teacher” prompted Jesus to answer as follows: “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is God” (cf. Mark 10: 17-18). In other words, He did not want to take the honour for Himself, but rather gave God the glory, even in the smallest matters. Can we not do the same? Whenever we experience something wonderful and magnificent, whenever we experience the help of God, then let us not think of it as our doing or imagine that we have somehow earned it! No! Let us look up to heaven and say: “That is a work of God! He has given us His help and support.”

Allow me to bring up another little incident. A woman who had committed adultery was brought before the Lord. The people were accusing her, but what did Jesus do? He forgave her. He glorified His heavenly Father by granting grace to this woman (cf. John 8: 3-11). We ought to do the same. We also at times have difficulties, for example when there are problems in the congregations or in our family. Perhaps there have been misunderstandings here and there. Again and again I observe that this is not always so easy to resolve. Yet we glorify God if we are always willing to forgive.

When Jesus came into the temple and saw that the people there were conducting business, He was outraged, and threw out the traders and money changers who had been abusing the temple of God for their own purposes (cf. Matthew 21: 12-13). Even at that moment He glorified His Father. He made it clear to the people that it was unacceptable to bring the temple of God down to the level of a common marketplace, a den of thieves—even though it was customary for the Jews to ensure that no Gentile currency should ever enter into the temple district. Nevertheless, the temple of God is holy, and should remain holy. We should not allow any spirit to disturb this holiness in our hearts. Let us glorify God by keeping everything that occurs in the house of God—and everything associated with the divine services—holy. At times, things that oppose the holiness of God come up in our hearts. For example, if we are not satisfied with God’s guidance or if we give room to our own views and opinions—these are all “tables” in our hearts, which we should overturn and throw out, so that holiness can once again enter into our hearts.

As we can see, the endeavour of glorifying God is a task in which we must engage day after day. Let us glorify God by seeking close fellowship with God and His Son in the divine services and in prayer. Let us always be willing to forgive, and to keep holy in our hearts that which is holy. May it be our daily endeavour to glorify our heavenly Father even in the little, everyday things!    

(From a divine service by Chief Apostle Leber)