Jesus sought glory from the Father. Listen to his words in John 8:54: ‘If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me.’ Here are three ways in which the Father glorified his Son.
First, there was the voice from heaven at his baptism, when in great joy the Father declared from heaven that he was well-pleased with the life that his Son had lived for thirty years in Nazareth. In the presence of the greatest of the Old Testament prophets (John the Baptist), the Father made known that the One who pleased him completely was his only Son.
Second, the Father glorified the Son when he vindicated him by raising him from the dead. This was great honour given to Jesus when he was declared to be the Son of God with power by his resurrection. He had committed himself into his Father’s hands on the cross, anticipating that he would experience this vindication. What a vindication it was when he was announced as the conqueror of death, the devil and sin.
Third, the Father glorified the Son by exalting him to his right hand, to sit there until all his enemies are made his footstool. The Father gave to his Son the highest place that heaven can give and before him are yet to bow every creature that has ever lived (human, angelic and demonic).
Yet Jesus’ words here point to a glorification that was to happen immediately. Jesus was referring to the glory that he received from the Father on the cross. It was there that the Father lifted him up in glory, it was there that the Son glorified the Father.
In what ways did the Father give glory to Jesus on the cross? One way was by entrusting to him the work of redemption. The weaker Jesus became, the more the Father entrusted to him. It never entered the Father’s mind that his Son would fail.
Another way that the Father gave glory to Jesus on the cross was by placing him on a pedestal from which he could draw all the nations to himself. Although he was abandoned, he never became unattractive on Calvary, either to the heart of his Father or to the hosts of heaven or to the millions of sinners who have since gone to the cross for mercy.
Glorification for Jesus began at the lowest of all places. It was the simultaneously the depth of his humiliation and the crown of his achievements.