Over the last week or two, I’ve been taking some time out to study John’s Gospel in more depth. My particular concern and focus has been to get a better handle on the relationship that exists between Jesus and the Father.
This morning I was looking at John Chapter 7.10-24. This section narrates the doctrinal head-to-head between Jesus and the Jews, both the masses and their masters. The debate took place in the precincts of the Temple. Christ had come in cognito, resisting the pressure of his relatives. Now, constrained by the duties of His office, He stands in God’s House to declare divine doctrine in order to decimate human tradition.
What is apparent, throughout this account, is the commitment of the Son to the glory of His Father. This, in fact, is the thing, above all, that distinguishes Jesus Christ clearly from His Judean teachers and hearers. The central section of the passage is found in the statement recounted by John in Chapter 7 Verse 18:
“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is true, and no unrighteousness is in him” (NKJV).
This portion of the 4th Gospel raises many searching questions that we need to regularly answer as professors, lecturers, ministers, elders, deacons, members, adherents, or covenant children:
What Matters Most To Me – My Own Personal Kudos, Reputation, Prestige, Honor OR The Honor, Praise and Glory of God?
By way of reply to the question posed by Jesus through His beloved disciple John, let me make a number of points: my aim is to stress the benefits of fruitful meditation on and consideration of the challenge this passage faces us with:
If what matters most to you is the Glory of God then the following facts flow from this passage (no doubt there are many others):
You will (according to the measure of grace and faith granted in Christ) be…..
enabled to BE TIMELY v14
enabled to TEACH TRUTHFULLY v15-16
enabled to RECEIVE CHRIST v17a
**enabled **to DISCERN ERROR v17b
enabled to ENDURE SLANDER v20
enabled to RESPOND KINDLY v21
enabled to DISCUSS THEOLOGY v22
enabled to EXPOSE TRADITION v23
enabled to JUDGE RIGHTLY v24
….Of course, on the other hand, if you are self-seeking, or man-pleasing, you are going, as His disciple, to be seriously deficient or defective, in your character, walk, and service of the Gospel. None of these things are possible while you are motivated by carnal, anthropocentric, thinking.
You also need to remember that, whenever you are bent on the Glory of God, every help will be given to those who ask, seek and knock. The Father, in the Son, by the Spirit of Grace, will reward you passion for conformity to His Son: your heart will be aligned to, and constrained by, His most holy, pleasing and perfect, will. The Jesus who sought God’s glory, and never wearied or deviated from doing so, is a cascading fountain of God-glorifying life, from whom you may obtain abundant grace.
As you seek His power to concentrate your Christianity on God’s glory, expect to see the overflow of His wisdom being worked out in your life. Of course it means you’ll divide opinion (v12), make theologians scratch their heads (v15), collide head-on with tradition (21), and be called a child of the devil (v20) – nobody ever claimed that seeking God’s glory was easy! But, as by the work of the God-glorifying Spirit, in the Grace of the Gospel, faith leads you into ever-closer communion, your relationship with the Father, will be revealed through the Son: your desire to seek God first will be evident in your life, as your mouth and manner are filled with the truth of the Gospel like Jesus.
God grant us grace each day to be God’s Glory Seekers more and more.
Andrew Kerr is Pastor of Knockbracken in Belfast – Husband of Hazel, Dad to Rebekah, Paul and Andrew, Lover of Skiing, Walker of Lucy (our Bernese Mountain Dog), with a Passion for OT – in Deep Need of Grace. Connect with Andrew via gentlereformation.com