What would happen if Will Roberts was glorified? What would that look like? What would it look like if all my dreams were fulfilled and everyone knew exactly who Will Roberts was? To answer that question let me tell you about my dream for an ideal wedding.
First, for my bachelor party I would not be raucous but ridiculous because I have a ridiculous side. One of my friends, for his bachelor party, rented Sumo Suits, which are giant cushioned suits that make you look like Japanese Sumo wrestlers, and we fought each other in the best man’s back yard. It involved much awkwardness, falling over, and not being able to get up. I would one up this event by having a Sumo suit wrestling match in a bounce house. Because what could be more glorious and ridiculous than grown men jumping around, ramming into each other, and falling down, in a bounce house?
For my wedding, I would have a full church service, where Christ is the center, followed by laying on of hands and prayer by our family and friends, sealed by communion. And for the wedding reception I would have a live 1950’s Swing Dance band, with a big dance floor, catered by Chick Fil A. The Bridal Bouquet and Bridal Garter would not go to any random woman or man who could catch it. Instead, it would go to the woman and man who could make the best puns in a pun competition. Maybe we could fit a light saber duel in the wedding somewhere. But that would be stretching it.
Now I am not saying any of that is going to happen I know my wedding wouldn’t be about me. I am just saying that if my wedding was about me, if there were an event where the glory of Will Roberts were on display to the world, if, if Will Robert’s quirky character were on display for the world to see, that is what it would look like.
What does it mean to glorify something? When we use the word “glory” or when we say something is “glorious” we mean that it is evident for all to see. We mean that the character of something or someone is apparent and made known. The American Flag is nicknamed “old glory” because it symbolizes what we are proud of about our nation. Indeed, the Boy scouts that we host in our church have put up a new flag on our flag pole which I am told is from the USS. Ford because President Ford was an Eagle Scout.
We raise the American Flag upon the flag pole, because we want to bring front and center what is great about our nation. We remember pivotal moments, the sacrifice of soldiers, and the trials that have forged our nation. When our team wins the Super Bowl, the World Series, the World Cup, we put on our team’s jersey and go celebrate in the streets to say that our team is awesome and we want to glorify them.
Many Christians know the Lord’s Prayer from the book of Matthew. We pray it every Sunday. “Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name”. And we will talk about this prayer in two weeks. But perhaps that prayer should be described as the Disciple’s Prayer. It is the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray. But here, in John chapter 17, we have a lesser known prayer, The Lord’s Prayer for us. Right before Jesus was to be crucified, Jesus gave this passionate prayer of intercession for himself, his disciples, and the church to come. This prayer can be divided into two parts.
- Jesus’ Prayer for Himself
- Jesus’ Prayer for Us, His disciples.
First, Jesus’ prays for Himself. Jesus prayer for himself is this, “ Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.” Jesus’ prayer is that the Father may make His glory, His name, his reputation, His character, know through His Son Jesus. How is Jesus glorified in the Gospel of John? Well in John chapter 12 he tells us. He says when I am lifted up I will draw all people to myself. He is not talking about his resurrection, because not everyone got to see him raised from the dead. He is not talking about his ascension because not everyone got to see him ascend into heaven. He is talking about his crucifixion. And he wasn’t lifted that high. Only a couple of feet off the ground. But Jesus is saying that when people see me suffering for those I love it will draw all people to me. For no greater love than a man has than this to lay his life down for his friends. Now you may not think that watching a guy get crucified is a super encouraging message. It may not sound appealing. And I came up with a perfect analogy to help you understand this.
I think that Jesus is like chicken and waffles. Now my parents are from the North. And chicken and waffles were not a big thing for us. Now I like chicken. And I like waffles. But who would put the two together? Who would guess that chicken and waffles together would be good? But Pat Hazard took me to Sandfiddler Cafe and I discovered that Chicken and Waffles are actually glorious. And that is how Jesus is. Who would have thought that we would be worshiping a guy who was crucified two thousand years ago? But John tells us that the meaning of life is Jesus. That all things were created by Him. And the book of Hebrews tells us that all things are sustained by the power of His Word. Our very atoms are sustained by Jesus. I know that doesn’t sound like it makes any sense. It is like chicken and waffles. You would never think those things would go good together. But it actually pretty amazing. And that is the way Jesus is. And the Lord says taste and see that the Lord is good. Because He is good.
So Jesus says for his first prayer is for Him to be glorified. And he is glorified as His suffering for those whom He loves is made known.
The second part of Jesus’ prayer is for us, those who follow him. Jesus prayer for us is three fold.
- That we may be protected from the Evil One
- That we may be sanctified
- That we may be one.
Jesus says he will not keep us from the World. We are in the world but not of the world. We will endure trouble in this life and no amount of prayer can protect us from every form of trouble. But he does pray that we will be protected from the Evil One. Here, Jesus High Priestly Prayer, as it is known in John, has something in common with the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew and in Luke. In two of the Gospels Jesus tells us to pray that we be delivered from the Evil One. The Evil One is a real spiritual force in this world. And I pray as Jesus prayed that if the Evil One’s darkness be over your life that it be lifted and you be delivered in Jesus name. For greater is He who is in us than He who is in the world (1 John 4:4)
Second, Jesus prays that we be sanctified in His Word. Through the study of His Word. That is not just coming to worship. That is coming to Bible Study. It is gathering together in your homes and eating His Word. For man does not live by waffles and chicken alone, actually by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Also, we must pray to have the heart of Christ. That we may have the heart of compassion that Jesus had to suffer for those whom he loved. Because we can use the Bible to hurt people so badly and we don’t want to do that.
Finally, Jesus prays that we may be one. Now I would say that most churches are not known for their ability to get along, for their ability to be one. In fact a conference I went to recently taught that churches are just like every other organization and we must learn how to deal with conflict in churches. And that is true. But today’s scripture says that is not how it has to be. We can be one.. In a previous sermon on Ephesians 4 I described how Paul laid out certain attitudes that bring Unity. These attitudes include humility, gentleness, long suffering, and love. I would refer you to that sermon to learn more about these attitudes. And you may say to yourself, “Pastor Will how is that possible? That sounds a lot like Jesus and I am not Jesus. I can’t try hard enough to do that.” But that is the point of the Reformation. It is not about trying. He has established good works for us to walk in. And instead of trying what we should do is gaze upon the glory of Jesus Christ and be transformed by His glory. And we will be one. If we lift Jesus high upon the cross we shall be one. Elsewhere in the book of Matthew Jesus says this to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” (Matthew 16:24).
I know that doesn’t necessarily sound super encouraging. But there is a difference between the Gospel of Happiness and the Gospel of Joy. For there is a deep and abiding joy in Jesus. When we lift him high on the cross, when we dig deep, and we suffer for those whom we love, we shall find that we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. So Lord Jesus would you glorify yourself in our lives today? So that we may be one even as you are one.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen