Glory is found in mercy

John 17:1-11

The hour has come for the Son to be glorified. He just seems to use the word differently than we do. Our glory days were back when things were better. When life was simpler. When all you had to worry about was the stuff you made look easy. When life seemed pretty doable and everything seemed under control. We were seen as mighty. We were admired. Respected.

The problem with those glory days is you don’t really know that’s what they are until they’re gone. We had problems back then, but todays are bigger. Glory days all worked out, but you’re not sure today will. We remember them as brighter days. A time before suffering. The problem with glory days is that we get so caught up in the power of them we gloss over not just the problems that worked themselves out, but all the sins we committed in the middle. The way we see those days shows how easy it is to be unbothered by what the Lord calls sin as long as it came without consequence to you. And maybe even worse, it leaves with a bad taste in our mouths for the God who would call suffering a blessing.

Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you. The hour has finally come for the Son to be glorified. Apparently that wasn’t when 5000 folks were willing to follow Him days out into the middle of nowhere just to listen to Him talk. Or in feeding all of them with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Or in the water turned into wine that made Jesus the hero of the party. Or in the walking on water. Or in the calming the storm. Or in the healing the desperate and the sick. Or in resisting the devil in the wilderness in a 40 day trial of wills. Jesus wasn’t glorified in making everything look easy. He wasn’t glorified in power. The hour where the Son of God was glorified was about the third hour, as the sun was blotted out from the sky, as He hung from the cross to be mocked by His enemies. Not in strength, but weakness. Not in being admired, but humiliated. Not in the things the world respects and we sinners covet, but as He was despised and we esteemed Him not. When He was stricken, smitten, and afflicted for you. There, He won for you eternal life. There He reveals something of God we’d never otherwise see. Because that’s what glory really means.

Glory is a loaded word in the bible. It doesn’t just mean cool stuff. When the bible stays glory, it’s a word for God’s presence. It means God is actually there. The glory of the Lord is the presence of the Lord. So when angel choirs sang “glory to God in the highest” to shepherds, it was because God was present on earth, laying in a manger. When the glory of the Lord dwelt on Sinai and a cloud covered it and Moses entered the cloud, it was to talk to God who was present there. Where God locates Himself, His glory shines. God can work everywhere and anywhere, but that His glory shines in certain places means these are where He works with purpose for you.

The Son was glorified on the cross, and the word glory takes new shape. This is where God wants to be present, not just everywhere, but for you, anywhere you find yourself. Not just in power, but in mercy. This is where the fullness of His will is revealed. Look at the Son of God suffer for you. He bears your sins. He bears the things you did in the name of your glory days. He bears your covetousness for days gone by. He bears your weakness today. And He wins for you a victory that none of these things can rob from you.

It changes how we see the weaknesses and darker days we wish we could go back in time to hide from. The glory rested on Sinai and a cloud of darkness concealed the Lord. Moses went up on the mountain to talk to God. So the closer Moses went into the darkness, the closer he came to God. The hour of glory was revealed in the Son, suffering for you on the cross. Jesus prays, “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” The presence of God is found on the cross. So the closer we come to suffering, the closer we come to Him. God doesn’t reveal Himself in power, but mercy. Mercy isn’t given to folks who don’t need it. Glory doesn’t exist apart from crosses, He hangs on them for you and with you.

So the Son does not pray for the might of the world. He prays for you, who suffer in this life. He prays for you, who sin and cause suffering to others. He prays for those given to Him, the baptized. He gives us words of truth so we can pray too. Learn from Him how to do it. We pray like we already belong to the Father. It’s even in the first two words of the prayer He teaches us. Our Father. Even in darkness. He cares for us as a dear Father cares for His dear children. He brings us out of it. Jesus isn’t afraid to go into the darkness if that’s where you are. It’s His to bring you out of it. He isn’t unwilling to be present on the cross to save you. Here He manifests God’s name. He manifests God’s glory. He saves sinners. He shows mercy to you.

He prays, “keep them in Your name.” and the glory is revealed again where God’s name was given to you. You are baptized. You wear God’s name. You bear His glory. You are baptized into His glory, into His cross, but also into His resurrection. Don’t look back to the days you had no problems. Look right into the dark of today, and then look at the cross and remember your baptism. Know the God who makes Himself present in darkness, who bears it unto death, and who rises again on the other side is with you now and evermore.

Glory is found in mercy

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