The Hour

"Father, the hour has come; glorify You Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life." John 17:1-2

Magnifying requires focusing one's passion upon something or someone, with an intensity that goes beyond a passing interest. Focusing a powerful telephoto lens on an object must be done with a steady hand and a willingness to discard widening the focus to include anything or anyone else. For the object of the photographer to be magnified, some things must be excluded from the frame of the picture. The more powerful the lens, the steadier the hand must be. The tighter the focus, the clearer the picture will be.

Glorifying, on the other hands, is what happens to a person, cause or object when it comes into the circle of influence of a greater person, cause or object. Glory comes from a close association, with someone or something greater, and gives off a reflection that leaves a mark or an afterglow on those who are touched by it. Glory seekers are driven by a passion to be well known. They desire to shine brighter, by turning the light of glory, that belongs to someone else, on their own name.

"Stolen valor" is a term applied to those who claim medals that don't belong to them, in order to be thought more highly of than they deserve. It is against the law, and it is pathetic. Seeking glory and stealing glory are not same thing as reflecting glory.

Reflecting glory and seeking glory are two different things. Reflectors on a bicycle give off an appearance of light, but it is an illusion. They are not the source of light. They just reflect in the dark, the light that comes from another source. This is the mission of a reflector, and it provides a life-saving service.

Jesus was a reflector of God's light to a dark world. He asserted He was The Light, but He held no delusions that He was The Source. Satan robbed glory from God and was expelled from Heaven, and remains on mission to send people to hell. Jesus gave glory to God, and He was sent to earth to draw people to Heaven. Glory seekers eventually get confused about the true source of The Light. By stealing glory from The Source, they end up reflecting very little glory on God, and taking credit for what little bit He has done through them.

Celebrity stalkers seek to have their picture taken with someone whose popular image is more highly regarded than their own. Their expectation is that close association with popular people will raise their popularity in the eyes of others. This is like drinking salt water to quench a raging thirst.

A person who climbs a great mountain has their picture taken on the pinnacle of the highest peak. There is no value added to their life, by having a snapshot taken of them making camp at the base of the mountain.

A person who has no sense of direction in life often ties themselves to a cause that gives their life meaning and purpose. What they do not find within themselves, they seek to have provided by joining in on something that will add value to their lives or notoriety to their name.

Jesus reflected the love of God to those who were living in the dark and in need of a way out of it. When He said He was The Light, He knew His Father was The Source of The Light of The Gospel, and He was The Reflector. Jesus didn't invent God's love. He reflected God's love. God is love, and those who fall under the influence of His love will reflect The Source, not a pale version of what they have to offer in and of themselves.

"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ that you have sent." v. 3

Eternal life is in knowing God, not as a doctrinal concept, but as a constant companion. Jesus is the point of connection with The Source. Praying is how Jesus maintained his position as a reflector of God's glory and avoided the trap of becoming merely a glory seeker. Reflecting the glory of God was His mission. Those who follow Him are wise to do the same.

Prayerless people reflect very little glory on God. Prayerlessness feeds the gnawing hunger for self-glorification that hounds those who are called to be on mission for God's glory. They get close enough to Him to make a name for themselves, but they fail to get close enough to Him make a difference in the world. Jesus knew the difference. His followers should follow His lead.

"I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do." v. 4

How did He do that? There were so many things left undone, and so many places He had never been. How could Jesus make such a statement? The answer is found in His understanding of His mission. With every breath He took and every step He made, Jesus reflected God's glory. He never sought to take credit for what God did through Him.

Every word of praise Jesus received, He reflected to God. Every word of criticism Jesus received, He directed to God. He took offense at what people said about God, not that it was said to Him. His heart was not worn on his sleeve. He refused to confuse His preferences with His mission. Remember how He prayed, "Not My will, but Thy will be done." His mission was not about Him. It was about God. Prayer kept Him in the right position with God, as a reflector. When the hour came, He was empowered Him to accomplish His mission for God. His disciples would be wise to do the same. The hour is late.