Monday, December 13, 2010

The Honor of Jesus

"God has highly exalted him..."

Phip. 2:9

The honor of men is nothing in comparison to the honor God gives. Jesus did not covet and would not accept honors that men bestow. “I do not receive honor from men,” he said (Jn. 5:41). Even when people wanted to take Jesus by force and make him their king, he refused and withdrew from them to a mountain alone (Jn. 6:15). He did not come to gain earthly honor; he came to do the will of his heavenly Father (Heb. 10:7). And as a result of his single-minded pursuit of honor from God, God “highly exalted him, and has given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phip. 2:9-11).

Jesus even refused to honor himself. He said, “If I honor myself, my honor is nothing; it is my Father who honors me, whom you say that He is your God” (Jn. 8:54). Jesus was wise. He understood that no honor is worth having unless it comes from God.

In fact, he warned men that seeking and receiving honor from any other source will result in spiritual confusion. He told them (Jn. 5:44), “How can you believe, who receive honor one from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes only from God?” Fallen men are so blind to the things of God that they often do not recognize God’s honor when it is given to one standing among them; and they can badly misunderstand what is being done when someone is truly honoring God. Men have been known to go so far as to accuse someone of madness, or even demon-possession, when he is, in fact, honoring God. They did that to Jesus, and in reply, Jesus said, “I am not demon-possessed! I am honoring my Father, and you are dishonoring me” (Jn. 8:49).

Jesus loved God (Jn. 14:31; Ps. 91:14-16) and pleased Him because he desired only the honor that comes from God. He was even willing to suffer unjustly and die in order to please God. In response, God gave everything to Jesus (Jn. 3:35) and revealed Himself completely to Jesus (Jn. 5:20).

Everybody who hears from the true God comes to Jesus for mercy (Jn. 6:45), and nobody can come to the real Jesus unless they do hear from God (Jn. 6:44). Perhaps the most astonishing honor that the Father has given to Jesus is His requirement now that all people everywhere honor the Son just as they honor the Father (Jn. 5:23). Consequently, no one will be saved from eternal damnation who fails to honor the Son as God. But everyone who loves Jesus will be loved by God, and Jesus said that God will come to that person and live within his heart (Jn. 14:21-23; 16:27). Consequently, there is no hope of eternal life but through Jesus (Acts 4:12). This is the honor that God has bestowed upon Jesus, and there is no greater honor than that which the Father has shown to His Son.