What drives you in life? What’s your highest priority? For some the answer to those questions might be tied to work, while for others it may possibly be family life, or friendships. The list could go on and on. Of course, how we answer those questions reveals a great deal about what we think is most important.
Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus has made many references to his ‘hour’. Everything in Jesus’ life has been moving towards this hour, and now, in John chapter 12, the hour finally arrives. The ‘hour’ is the hour of Jesus’ death. Why was this hour so important to Jesus? In a very real way this hour was troubling to him, so much so that there’s a sense in which he would have liked to have been delivered from it. The pain, humiliation, and self sacrifice of the cross were daunting to face. A moment’s reflection and it’s not difficult to understand why Jesus found it so troubling. However, there was something even more important to Jesus than being delivered from the horrors of crucifixion. Something drove Jesus’ life and shaped his decision – there was a priority by which all others were set. ‘Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name’ (John 12: 27-28). To bring glory to his father’s name meant more to Jesus than life itself. As Jesus obeyed his father and went to the cross, he brought glory to God by revealing his holy character. There God’s hatred toward sin was revealed. There the ruler of this was defeated. There the grace, mercy and love of God were on display.
As followers of Jesus, we too are called to lay down our lives and live for the glory of God. But, in practice, what does that look like for us? Actually, at a basic level it’s really quite simply. Just as Jesus displayed God’s glory in obeying his father, even to the point of death, we too bring glory to God by listening to his word and following what he says no matter the cost. Let’s encourage one another to live for God’s glory this week by listening to his word and obeying what it says.