Glory in eternal life

The second of three avenues that Jesus says bring glory is the road to eternal life.

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25)

This eternal life is our hope; the hope of a life of intimacy with the God who loves us. Jesus expressed eternal life in these terms-

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3)

Our anticipation of this intimate relationship with our Lord in heaven inspires us to remain faithful to the end. We don’t want to meet him in the end with the shame of betrayal. So Paul wrote of

endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

This faithfulness to our Lord leads to choices that force a choice between our Lord and those we love, even ourselves. In choosing Jesus, we can look like we hate others, even our own lives. Since God is love, when we look back we see those choices expressing his love and demonstrating our knowledge of him.

This hope is ready to wait for eternal life in glory and it is developed through patient endurance. It is also fulfilled in facing crises. Knowing Jesus’ goodness, we set our hope on the grace he will bring at just the right time, often completely turning the situation around.

So let us, by grace, endure to eternal life!

Living for God’s glory

Jesus explains for us the way he sees glory; the glory of heaven –

Jesus replied, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. [John 12:23]

I notice that this glory differs from the glory he has just received as he entered Jerusalem. He points to three areas that he recognises as true glory.

Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. [John 12:24]

The first area is fruitfulness, a fruitfulness that is gained through giving of ourselves in love at a personal cost.

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. [John 12:24]

The second area is eternal life which Jesus defines as knowing himself and the Father in John 17:3. There is glory in the depth of our relationship with Jesus.

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me. [John 12:26]

The third area is receiving the Father’s honour, an honour reserved for those who serve him.

The glory of the world is dependent on the recognition of other people and so requires us to show off. Jesus’ glory is based on choices and the evaluation of our Lord, who sees everything.

Whose glory then are you living for?

Glory

What is glory? How was Jesus glorified? One time was his entry into Jerusalem.

 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna!’  ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’  ‘Blessed is the king of Israel!’ [John 12:12-13]

The crowd honour Jesus acknowledging his identity. He has achieved iconic status in their lives.

Do we glorify God through a passionate and single hearted focus on Jesus?

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ ‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’ [Luke 19:39-40]

The second indication is Jesus’ character in challenging circumstances. He neither ignores, nor attacks his accusers, but affirms truth with humility.

Do we respond to trying circumstances with grace?

Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. [John 12:17-18]

The third part of glory comes through what Jesus has done –raising Lazarus from death. The Father honours those who do his will.

Do we serve Jesus through doing his will?

Jesus replied, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. [John 12:23]

Yet Jesus points to a greater glory to come- his death on the cross.

 

Over the next weeks I plan to explore each of these three areas of glory.

All about Jesus?

“It’s all about you Jesus …” It is easy to sing the song, but how real is this for us? Jesus presents the issue in terms of a choice between loving him and loving ourselves.

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25NIV)

The focus of this self love shifts as we develop. Early on, Jesus exposes actions. Maybe he points to our disrespecting others. We love our lives when we take because we can. It looks like we hate our lives when we don’t take what we could, yet this is out of love for Jesus.

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me. John 12:24-26

Later we might realise that we are living this ‘Christian life’ for our own ends. Love for ourselves pops up as we seek our own ends in a Christian way. Hating our own life comes with the surrender of our aims. We ask the question who am I serving really?

Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. (John 12:24NIV)

Growth requires we face the death God sets before us. Jesus promises a fruitful outcome. Can we trust him for it? It may come from unexpected directions and take unexpected forms!