“I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do.”
This text is Jesus’ last and longest prayer in the Gospel according to John. It takes place just before his arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection. He begins this prayerful reflection with recollection, naming the things he did to lift up the name of God. From this prayer, we can discern that one of Jesus’ primary goals in life was to glorify God. If you notice, Jesus was always pointing back to the empowering, transforming work of God when anyone commended him. Jesus’ life was about reflecting the love, compassion, and grace of God.
To glorify means to “acknowledge and reveal the majesty and splendor of another by one’s actions.” Each action that Jesus did revealed something more about the character of God. The words Jesus said weren’t the only source of glory for God. The most striking and meaningful part of Jesus’ earthly ministry was the actions he took in welcoming outcasts, touching the sick, and caring for the overlooked. By one’s actions is the catch. We can pay lip service to God, saying that we give glory to God although our actions otherwise may not reflect it.
We often get caught “going through the motions” of our faith, getting trapped in the rhythm of religion rather than the rhythms of grace. Somewhere along the way, we may have gotten distracted and lost sight of our calling to bring glory to God. An integral part of our journey to new life is to reflect on the things that we give glory. What are you glorifying with your actions? What actions can you take on during this Lenten journey that will reveal the majesty and splendor of God? How can you better communicate the character of God through your actions?
Free us, O God, from our obsession with ourselves long enough to recognize you in our midst. Empower us to walk the way of Jesus Christ as we learn to reveal more about you in everything we do. Draw us out beyond our circles of care toward others, just as Jesus did, so that we can glorify you. Amen.