“Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge.”
“A man in every sin aims to set up his own will as his rule, and his own glory as the end of his actions, against the will and glory of God; and could a sinner attain his end, God would be destroyed.”
In one of the most confrontational and straight forward dialogues Jesus had with His arch opposition, the
Pharisees, He spoke plainly of God the Father’s desire for the Son’s glory. This issue is developed in the context of the contrast of their origin and Jesus’ origin. They had claimed right to God on the basis of their descendent from Abraham (Jn. 8:39), while Jesus would argue that Abraham looked forward to His day and saw it and was glad. (Jn. 8:56) Jesus would conclude the discourse with a divine self-disclosure; “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (Jn. 8:58) Set in the midst of this dialogue is our verse cited; “Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge.” These two verses considered together present a strong statement for the divinity of Christ. Certainly, Jesus’ statement; “I am” was an indisputable self-declaration of His equality with God, which would have been clearly understood by every Jew in the audience. This was a direct reference to God’s self-declaration to Moses when he asked God whom he should tell the children of Israel has sent him; “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14) So, Christ’s belief in Himself to be equal with God meant more than merely, of equal power, intellect or wisdom, this equality was one of essence and being in all His character, nature, and attributes. He could not have stated it more clearly if He had said; “I am God.”
But an area of Jesus’ equality with God that is often overlooked is stated clearly in Jesus’ statement regarding the Father’s desire for the glory of the Son. That God, the Father seeks the glory of the Son is to say that He seeks His own glory. That Jesus had noted that this was the case prior to His incarnation, is seen in Jn. 17:1; “…Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You,” and v. 5; “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” Here Jesus anticipates the expression of the Father’s glory to achieve its fullness in the Father glorifying Him. Secondly, Jesus clearly notes that the glory He is about to receive is equivalent with the glory that He enjoyed pre-existent to the world with the Father. That this concept of the divinity of Christ on a level of equality that is unqualified or unquantified is clearly set forth by the statement the Apostle Paul makes to the church at Colossae; “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him(Col. 1:19)“For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.”(Col. 2:9) And the writer of Hebrews brings to bear the force of this doctrine when he states; “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”(Heb. 1:2-3). Add to this that God had declared to the prophet Isaiah; “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images,”(Isa. 42:8) makes clear that the Father’s seeking the glory of Jesus was to act on behalf of His own glory.
There are some cosmic ramifications for this doctrine that are reflected in Stephen Charnock’s statement quoted above. To put it in the vernacular, as long as we assert ourselves as independent self-sovereigns, we are attacking the very glory and essence of God. This is the teaching of both atheism and countless cults that masquerade as churches of Jesus Christ. As Charnock points out to sin is to claim our own sovereignty and divinity, and we all know that’s not true.
The Rev. Ray Druckenmiller is the Pastor at Manning Community Church.