Father Teach US to Glorify Your Name
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28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
28 “Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” (Jn. 12:28 NKJ)
There is a peanut cartoon where Charlie Brown sees a bunch of kids talking. He walks up to them and says, “why are you talking about me?” One of the girls responds, “We weren’t talking about you .” Charlie says, “Yes you were. I know you were.” Another girls yells at him, “We weren’t talking about you, Charlie.” The kids storm away. At this point Charlie mutters to himself, “Why does no one ever talk about me?”
Our name, our reputation, is very important to us. What others think about us matters immensely.
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, (Prov. 22:1 NKJ)
The old proverb is “stick and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Yet the fact is that when people say bad things about us, it often hurts a lot more than if we got hit with sticks or rocks.
God’s name is important to him too. In fact it is the most important thing to Him. It is so important that the first two commandments teach us that we ought to hold God’s name as sacred and guard it. It is so important that it is also the very first thing that Jesus teaches us to pray for in the Lord’s Prayer. “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” More than anything else God’s will for us is this that we know who He is and that we treasure and honor His name.
for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. (Exod. 20:7 NKJ)
Yet the reason God is jealous of His name, is very different from the reason that we get angry when others say bad things about us. Our hurt and anger usually comes from a misplaced sense of pride. But God’s desire to protect his name is because it is God’s name that brings salvation to sinners
there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12 NKJ)
For this reason also Jesus insisted that God’s name be honored.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey and all the people sang, “hosanna in the highest,” the Pharisees told Jesus, “tell your disciples to be silent.” The Pharisees must have thought they finally had the upper hand. They probably thought it would be arrogant for Jesus to encourage men in this way to praise him.
Yet Jesus will not rebuke his disciples. He does this not out of pride but because he rode to die for the sins of all people and in love for sinners He insists that His name will be proclaimed because in that name salvation is given to men.
That God’s name should be known and glorified is the first two commandments. It is the first thing that Jesus teaches us to pray for. And it is the first order of business for Jesus on Holy Week. Jesus enters triumphant into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He overturns the money tables in the temple. He prayer here to His Father. All these things were done so that God’s name would be glorified.
This ought to be of primary importance among us also, that we learn: 1. How God’s glorifies His name, and 2. How we might make sure to honor and glorified it also
- God glorifies His name through humility and love
People primary seek to glorify our own names over others. Our desire is always to seek to prove that we are better, stronger, smarter, faster, braver. We fight. We argue. We sing. We throw balls all in an attempt to put out name above others.
4 There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. (Gen 6:4 )
This is exactly how people acted in the years leading up to the flood. They were great men, mighty men, smart men, men of renown the scriptures says. That is men whose names were famous all over the earth, men like Alexander the great, or Caesar, or Hercules, or King Arthur. Men who did such great deeds that everyone knew their names.
And so also we are tempted to think, yeah wow, those are great people. Yet God does not say this of them to praise them. But to show how evil they were:
5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Gen. 6:5 NKJ)
They made a name for themselves, yes, but they did it by crushing others under their feet. By proving how much better they were. They did so by showing their strength.
In contrast to this God’s name is glorified primarily not by showing off his strength but through humble service and love. What did we read in our epistle reading?
He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, (Phil. 2:8-9 NKJ)
There are times when God shows his great strength and power. One example is in our gospel reading, men hear His voice from heaven, or when Elijah called the fire from heaven. But although God does sometimes “roll his sleeve back” and show his muscle His purpose is always to save his people. Ultimately his Name is glorified through His mercy and goodness.
- He has given us that name, this is a great privilege and honor nevertheless it is a thing we must guard carefully
God has given to us His name, and he does not want us to ruin or tint it. The same God who is so concerned about keeping his name holy that He puts it as the first two commandments and the first petition of the Lord’s prayer. This God gives His name to us.
When I was little we had many fishing poles on the wall of our garage. We could take any of them and go fishing at the lake across the street. We could take any one except one. Near the top of the wall was an expensive fly fishing rod. We all knew if we touched that pole we were in big trouble. It was precious to my father.
One of the things most important to our God is his name
8 I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images. (Isa. 42:8 NKJ)
Yet he does not stop us for using it. He takes it down off the high shelf and hands it to us. It is our great privilege and blessing that we hold His name in our hands. Yet because we hold this name in our hands we must walk carefully so as not to break this.
Therefore when we pray, ‘hallowed be thy name,” as we do every Sunday and as Jesus does in this scripture, we ought to recognize and consider these two things. 1. The primary reason for glorifying God’s name is to bring Salvation to all men, 2. God’s name is primarily glorified through humble love.
Christ exemplified all of this throughout the entirety of His life, but we see how well He especially exemplified this on Palm Sunday. He rode into Jerusalem in humility to die in service of sinners. But he also insist that God’s name be glorified and salvation proclaimed through it. We pray that He would teach us to live the same way.