“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. (NIV)
I know people, and probably you do as well, that love to talk. They love the sound of their own voices. They want everyone to know that they know a lot or at least that they are ‘in the know’ of everyone else’s business. The Bible says that because God is God and we are no out, we should make words few (Ecc. 5:2). Using our words to build up our own reputation as if we can heal or save, but we can’t. But when God speaks, He can live up to His own words. His words draw attention to Him as the Supreme healer and the only Savior of the world.
When Jesus cries out, “Father, glorify your name!” it was not for Him, but for those around Him and they are still for us today. Why was it necessary for the Father to send out His voice from the Heavens? Was it was not enough for Jesus to glorify the Father? The Father spoke from the vastness of the Heavenlies, yet in the language of those near Christ. Some thought it was an angel speaking. Some thought it was only thunder. The voice from Heaven was powerful in both sound and word. And this is not the only time that the Father did this. He also spoke from Heaven when Jesus was baptized. He said, “This is my Son, whom I love. With Him, I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
We might not think it was necessary for God to audibly speak, but we must remember the times. Jesus was not what the people were expecting. They believed the Messiah would be a military leader and Jesus was not that. The experts in religion accused Jesus of being under the power of the devil. The people weren’t sure who He was. They had been taught one thing their whole life, but Jesus was not like the stories they had heard about the Messiah. To those who believed in Jesus as the Messiah, they would have believed Jesus was the Son of God by His own words. For those who had already decided that Jesus was not the Messiah, nothing would have convinced them. But some people were truly seeking the truth. Their eyes and hearts were open. For them, to hear Jesus say He was the Son of God might not have been enough. But then to hear a voice from Heaven affirming Jesus put an end to their confusion. The voice of God from Heaven sealed the deal.
When Jesus died and rose again while claiming to be the Son of God, it was all the evidence needed to exalt Christ. Now, we don’t need a voice from Heaven because we have the testimony of the early disciples who saw Jesus risen from the dead. And we have the Holy Spirit to bear witness with our spirit. But back then, they needed more.
To some degree, things are like they were then. For those who have already decided that Jesus is Lord, they don’t need more evidence. For those who have no doubt that Jesus is not god, it will take a miracle for them to change. But for those truly seeking the truth about God, our words about the Lord are essential. We must use our words to glorify Christ.
If a person lives a good life, morally and ethically, there is value in that. However, a good life does not necessarily glorify God. At the same time, if a person speaks about God all the time while their life is a mess, God is not glorified. Think about it. If I say to you, “Come and follow Jesus like me,” but then you see that I am overwhelmed with broken relationships, depression, suicidal thoughts, addictions, and bitterness, why would you want what I claim to have? God is glorified by the man or woman who lives a holy, prosperous, peaceful, loving life while giving God praise with their lips. Living a good, holy life is very beneficial to the one living it, but to help others, we need to use our words. People need to know that our faith in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit give us the strength to maintain holiness even when we are challenged, depressed, angry, tempted. If we don’t testify about Christ as the source of our life, even if we live a holy life, we will be glorified, not Him. People will think we are all that and a bag of chips. But if we will acknowledge our Lord, He will receive all the glory.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths. (KJV)