Jesus is teaching us that glory comes when we surrender ourselves—our decisions, our futures, our hopes, and most of all, our daily living to God.
As we start this new year of 2022, may we be reminded by our guest blog writer, Marc Papai, that only in surrendering everything to our Lord – our grief, worries, fears, hurts, hope, and future – will the door of our glory be open. Christ is waiting and is eager to walk with each of us through this beautiful threshold of our hearts.
How do we glorify God? What does ‘glorify’ mean? It means to lift up in praise, to lift up in honor. So how does Jesus glorify the Father? By honoring the Father’s will. And what does that mean for Jesus? It meant to go willingly to His own death, in humble obedience. How does the Father glorify the Son? How does He lift up the Son up in honor? By lifting up His beloved Son on the cross for all the world to see, and to honor the Son by drawing others by that death into the circle of God’s love. That’s the startling way the Father and Son glorify each other.
It is so astonishing that these words of glory and honor are mixed with the brutal reality of Calvary: God hanging naked, on a wooden cross, in public on a hill, struggling for breath until He could not lift Himself up any longer, killed by suffocation. But by being lifted up on that cross for us and for the world, Jesus glorifies His Father by reconciling us and the created world to the Father forever. “Remember,” Jesus says, “that I love you, Father.”
It’s a profound mystery, isn’t it? To God’s people, glory doesn’t come from achieving a lot of stuff, or of being well known, or of being better than someone else. No. Jesus teaches us that true glory comes from submission and surrender. It is an invitation to the very heart of the gospel – that the way to true life for us comes just as it did for Jesus: by offering ourselves to death. Maybe not a martyr’s physical death, but more likely by a 1,000 little deaths, day by day as we learn to say “no” to ourselves and “yes” to God’s will.
But let me be clear here, too, because I don’t want you to misunderstand me. Like Jesus, we are made for glory, we too are to be praised and honored, and we should affirm this boldly, freely and gladly. We should not be afraid of this longing, because God made us this way. This is not sinful, this longing for glory. Some of us are so convinced that seeking glory is just plain wrong, and we put ourselves down and deny what God has given us. Don’t do that! You are made for glory – the trouble comes not from wanting glory, but wanting it on our own terms, in our own way, and on our own schedule. Jesus is teaching us that glory comes when we surrender ourselves – our decisions, our futures, our hopes, and most of all, our daily living to God.
Married to Pam and has three children, all married, with four grandchildren and counting. Growing up in Ohio, Marc came to follow Jesus in high school, earned a chemical engineering degree from Ohio State, and worked for a consulting company for eight years. Called to serve college students in ministry, he earned a master’s degree in Christian Studies from Regent College in Canada. He began work with InterVarsity in 1987, eventually supervising work in Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. In 2015, he became InterVarsity’s National Director of International Student Ministry, where he continues to serve. His passion is to see international students become disciples and leaders who are sent globally to glorify the Lord Jesus and bring change to His world.