I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. (John 17:4)
Because we were created by God for God, we exist that God might be glorified in us. And because everything we do is to be an act of worship, we can be sure that there are countless ways of giving God glory. We find one of those ways rooted in today’s passage, which is part of our Lord Jesus Christ’s High Priestly Prayer. Let’s take a look at how this is so.
Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. Every moment of every day, Jesus was focused on His mission of being the Savior of the world. And He knew that by fulfilling His mission and finishing the work His Father in heaven had given Him, Jesus was bringing glory to God.
Here is a phrase from the business world that will help crystallize the truth of this passage: Begin with the end in mind. Jesus knew exactly what He was here to do, and He would let nothing keep Him from accomplishing it.
What is true for Jesus is true for His disciples. We bring glory to God when we are busily engaged in finishing the work God has given us to do. As I often tell the members of our congregation, I don’t know if God has called you to be a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker, but I do know this: every disciple has been called to advance the cause of the Kingdom of Christ, and we are to do that right where God has planted us. From the boardroom to the family room, we are called by God to demonstrate the truths of the Gospel to a watching world.
Now, let me caution you with this truth: none of us will do this as Jesus did. Jesus brought glory to God by finishing His work perfectly. You and I do it all imperfectly. Yet, God takes our imperfect work and sanctifies it and ultimately perfects it. Knowing this truth frees us to finish the work, knowing that our work will be marked by flaws and failure along the way. Many Christians are paralyzed by fear of imperfection or failure, which keeps them from doing much for God. But the true disciple of Christ knows perfection will only come on the other side of the grave. In this life, the goal is simply progress.
So . . . how are you progressing in giving God glory by finishing the work He has given you to do? Let me encourage you with one final point from today’s passage. When Jesus uttered the words in our verse today, we anticipate the cry of victory from the cross: “It is finished!” (John 19:30). Knowing that Jesus finished His work for you should be all the motivation and inspiration you need to finish your work for Him.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!