27 “My soul is troubled. What should I say? ‘Father, keep me from having to go through with this’? No. This is the very reason I have come to this point in my life. 28 Father, bring glory to your name!” Then a voice came from heaven. It said, “I have brought glory to my name. I will bring glory to it again.” 29 The crowd there heard the voice. Some said it was thunder. Others said an angel had spoken to Jesus. 30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now it is time for the world to be judged. Now the prince of this world will be thrown out. 32 And I am going to be lifted up from the earth. When I am, I will bring all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show them how he was going to die. 34 The crowd spoke up. “The Law tells us that the Messiah will remain forever,” they said. “So how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?” 35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light. Do this before darkness catches up with you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 While you have the light, believe in it. Then you can become children of light.” When Jesus had finished speaking, he left and hid from them.
As I read this section of scripture, the glaring theme here is also one of the most important concepts that can ever be answered – What did Christ really come to earth for?
I have myself explored this question at various stages in my life. Was it to give us an example of how to live, or to teach us wisdom from heaven? He certainly did those things, but was it the main reason?
Did he come to perform miracles; to get the lame to walk, and to bring sight to the blind?
Did he come to bring about repentance amongst the generations who lived in his time?
Was he a man, or God, or bits of each, or somehow fully both? This passage suggests that he prayed that he would bring glory to the Father, but how?
If you are reading this, you will likely know that the answer, the true answer is that Christ died in our place, taking the punishment that we deserved for our sin. In doing this, we who trust and believe in Christ can be in a place of right standing with God.
This passage, and others in the gospels, suggest that Christ knew that this was his mission – to die for the sins of the world. He certainly executed it perfectly and he positioned himself along the way to ensure that his mission would not just be a moment in time, but that the news of his success – vital for the salvation of the world – would spread across the entire earth.
But all of this, while wonderful to think about and understand is only part of the deal for me. Yes, God loves me for who I am and in spite of my sin, but he also, out of that love calls me into a responsibility to be part of Christ’s mission!
It isn’t always clear to me how I am to act day-to-day, how much sleep I should get and how many hours I need to be spending doing certain tasks etc, but one thing is clear – I have a responsibility to make sure that the successful mission of Christ reaches further and further into the lives of everyone around me, so that this world can be truly changed by His amazing grace.
Father, help me to never lose sight of the mission that we are on together.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware