Jesus says in these verses that the Father was glorified in and by the life of his Son. In what ways did Jesus do this? Here are five suggestions.
The first way in which Jesus brought honour to God the Father was by agreeing to come into the world to save sinners. When we think of God, his glory can be described as the combined display of all his attributes. Imagine the Father and the Son in heaven thinking about the fact that humans had sinned and are under God’s judgement. If sinners had only been judged, would the fullness of God’s glory have been revealed? I don’t think so, because his saving love would not have been displayed. But in order for that love to be revealed, the Son would have to agree to become the Saviour and be born into this world.
The second way in which Jesus brought glory to God was by living a perfect life. What defines all humans is that their lives fall short of the glory of God. No matter who they are, no matter their gifts and accomplishments, they come short of God’s standard of beauty, and therefore fail to give him glory. But Jesus always lived a balanced, beautiful life and continually, moment by moment, he brought great glory to God as his perfect life fully satisfied the great desires of the Father.
A third way in which Jesus brought glory to God was by performing actions that caused people to praise God. ‘As he was drawing near – already on the way down the Mount of Olives – the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen’ (Luke 19:37). ‘And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”’ (Mark 2:12). When he healed the disabled lady in the synagogue, Luke says that ‘immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God’ (Luke 13:13). Everything Jesus said to others and did for others caused praise to rise to God, even if others found fault.
The fourth way in which Jesus brought glory to God was by going to the cross and suffering there. Going there was the climax of his obedience, the proof that he loved the Father and desired to honour his will. He stated this desire in Gethsemane when he said, ‘Not my will, but yours be done.’
The fifth way in which Jesus brings glory to God is by his activities as the exalted Christ. Jesus in heaven today still brings glory to the Father by fulfilling the heavenly mandate to gather in his people from the nations, by protecting each of them as they travel through the dangerous scenes of earth, and by presenting them faultless before the throne of God at the end. When that presentation takes place, the cry will echo round heaven that Jesus has truly glorified the Father.