The problem with glory, like many other religious words, is that it trips off the tongue without our giving it a second thought. If we were asked to define what glory is, then most of us would be hard fixed. And so we say “Glory to you, Lord” or sing “Glory to God in the highest” without always being aware of what we mean. After all, it’s just one of those “God words” like praise, adoration, and alleluia.

In ordinary speech glory is more or less the same as merit. We say that all the glory must go to the scorer of the winning goal, or the whole cast must take the glory for the Oscar award.

This type of glory, some sort of kudos to boast about, is not the type of glory that Jesus is referring to when he asks his Father to glorify him and us. God’s glory is very different.

Jesus is not requiring God to make him some sort of hero. He is asking that the true nature of God’s power be made visible so that people will see how great God is and will realise that all Jesus has said and done is now vindicated. To see God’s glory is to glimpse, even if for only a second, something of the majesty of God, something of God’s faithfulness, dignity, beauty and truth. And it is the Spirit of God that makes us aware of God’s glory.

So when Jesus talks about God glorifying him and us, he is asking that he be vindicated, that people might finally  realise that everything he did and said was performed in the name of God.

In entrusting us to God’s care Jesus asks for the Spirit to come upon us so that we too might share in that glory, so that we might know that the Father is the only true God and that Jesus is the one whom he sent. This knowledge of God’s glory is another way of talking about eternal life. Eternal life has already begun for us even this side of the grave, because we have experienced the power of God and we await the fulfillment of his promises.

Posted in Faith in Focus.

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