As He contemplated His impending trial and execution, Jesus prayed to His Heavenly Father: “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you” (John 17:1). Later the same night He prayed again, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39). These two prayers remind us of, “the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that would follow” (1 Pet. 1:11). In God’s Divine plan, suffering always precedes glory.
Jesus knew the suffering that He would endure as a perfect sacrifice for sin (2 Cor. 5:21), and in the words of the Hebrews writer He, “despised the shame,” that He would soon endure (Heb. 12:2). Thus, His two prayers immediately prior to the cross demonstrate two concerns: first, a desire to glorify God by accomplishing His will, and second, a desire to explore any other possible solution to satisfy God’s justice: “Let this cup pass from me.” However, since no other avenue for our justification was possible, Jesus obediently submitted to His Father’s will. Now that His suffering is finished, consider several ways in which Christ is glorified in the cross.
At the cross, He became the only solution to sin. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16). The sacrifice of Jesus is the ONLY solution to the problem of sin: “He takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). God reconciled us to Himself through the body and blood of Christ (Col. 1:20-22). It was impossible for the blood of mere bulls and goats to take away sin (Heb. 10:4). Moral law-keeping is good, but the keeping of the law could never undo the effects of even one sin (Jas. 2:10-11). The fact that Jesus prayed, “Let this cup pass,” and yet still went to the cross forever confirms that there is but one solution to the problem of sin: the blood of Christ (Rev. 1:5).
At the cross, He demonstrated perfect obedience. Jesus always did His Father’s will, no matter what: “I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29). He had taught His disciples to pray, “May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10), and so in the Garden He prayed, “Not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39). Jesus was utterly without sin: “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.” He was, “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15b). Jesus epitomized His own instruction to the church in the book of Revelation: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). A disciple of Jesus who desires the glory of God will do what Christ did: make God’s will the priority in all the choices and decisions of life, even if those choices might result in suffering or death (Phil. 1:21).
At the cross, He paid an infinite debt. Jesus prayed, “If it is possible…” (Matt. 26:39). He came to redeem us from the wages of sin, and in so doing Jesus paid a debt that we could NEVER pay (1 Pet. 1:18-20; Rom. 6:23). He came to rescue us from what He describes as, “everlasting punishment” (Matt. 25:46). The reason hell is eternal in nature is because anything less than eternal punishment would mean that WE could somehow satisfy God’s justice by serving a merely temporary sentence. If we could satisfy God’s justice by either being annihilated or by “serving time” to pay for our transgressions in hell, then Christ died in vain. His death on the cross validates the reality and eternal nature of hell (Matt. 25:30, 41, 46).
At the cross, He modeled full trust in God. What a great comfort to know that our Heavenly Father wants to hear from us continually (1 Thess. 5:17). Of greater consolation still is the knowledge that He desires us to cast all our cares upon Him (1 Pet. 5:7). Jesus Christ could face the cross confidently and obediently because He had already poured out His heart and soul to God in prayer (cf. Phil. 4:6-7). The Hebrews writer comments on the prayerfulness of Jesus as well:
Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered (Heb. 5:7-8).
God is able and willing to remove some difficulties from life, but many other difficulties must be endured with the strength and grace He provides (2 Cor. 12:7-10). No matter the trial, God bids us to cast our concerns and cares upon Him.
Thank God for Jesus Christ, who is glorified by the work He accomplished at the cross.