‘Last Supper Lessons’ Meditations: 22. Glorifying God
Jn 15:8 “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
We may quite often quote the ‘first and greatest commandment’, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Mt 22:37) and I have even been asked, how do you do this? Well, perhaps rather than focus on my emotions, which talk about ‘love’ often reverts to, instead consider what we think about God and how we respond in respect of what we think about him. Moses on Mount Sinai focused on God’s honour (Ex 32:11-14); Joshua did the same later on. Wanting to exalt the God who had revealed Himself to you through His unique Son, demonstrating His love for us, wanting to honour and glorify Him, THAT is a demonstration of love for Him. This, says Jesus, is what ‘bearing fruit’ will do.
This fruitfulness we spoke of yesterday – letting him bring about through you his purposes, when this comes from heaven, from Jesus seated at the right hand of his Father, then it will always bring glory to the Father – people will find Him, be blessed by Him, guided by Him, and empowered by Him – THROUGH YOU. That is the incredible wonder of this business of abiding and being fruitful, this is what real disciples do, listening to him, being guided by him, responding to him, and then achieving the things he wants (Jn 14:12). Hallelujah!
Now the word ‘glory’ often refers to the incredible brightness that accompanies God (e.g. Ex 16:10, 24:16 etc.), but it also very simply means – as here – fame or honour that evokes praise and worship. God has provided various means of His glory being revealed to mankind. For example, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psa 19:1, Rom 1:20) For the person with a heart open to the Lord, ‘nature’ reveals the wonder and the beauty of the work of a Creator. David was, I suspect, responding to an incredible night sky where there was no light pollution, but the same thing applies to nature at large.
But now Jesus says we who are his disciples have the capability of bringing honour to the Lord by our ‘fruitfulness’. A while ago I painted a vision of ‘church’: “A spiritual community of God’s people that is alive with the presence and power and activity of God by His Spirit, where life and vitality, where fellowship and friendship, where power and authority, pour through the congregation, through this potentially wonderful ‘body of Christ’, bringing constant life transformations, with conversions, deliverances and healings being a regular feature of their life. Joy will be there – and honour to our Lord, the head of the body.”