Father Glorify Your Name

John 12:28       “Father, glorify Thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

Some people have come to believe wrongly that when the Bible refers to God ‘glorifying His Name’, that it refers to some strange situation in which God proclaims His own greatness to Himself. This unbiblical idea is bizarre; and has been a stumbling block to some unbelievers who, having believed that God spends His time praising Himself, consider such a being to be the epitome of arrogance.

The verb “to glorify” means to bring glory or honour to someone or something. While we may express the glory of something by speaking its praise, we do not bring honour to it or show its honour simply by speaking. Only when we act in such a manner as to make or show that thing honourable, do we succeed at glorifying it.

When God acts, or when He speaks His word, He displays His glory. When God created the cosmos, He demonstrated His magnificent power and unsurpassed knowledge and inventiveness. This act brought honour to His Name; God was glorified by His creative act.

Every time God proclaims a prophecy of what will come to pass, or how the affairs of men will be made to work into His plan for His creation, God demonstrates that They know all things and have power over all aspects of the universe, bringing honour to Their Name. God is glorified when He reveals His knowledge of the “end from the beginning”.

Shortly before His death, Jesus prayed the Father that He should glorify His own name. The Father replied, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” [1]At no point in all the record of Jesus’ time on earth is there an instance of God the Father proclaiming His own greatness. Yet He declared that He had already glorified His name, and would do so again in the context of what would soon transpire. If He did not speak His own praises, how then did God the Father glorify His name?

On the day that God sent Gabriel to announce to a man named John that Messiah was coming, God displayed Themselves worthy of honour. When He miraculously created a new human body in a young virgin’s womb, God revealed His glory.

When the almighty, sovereign Lord of all the universe came to dwell in human flesh to work their purpose in redeeming lost humanity, God displayed Their magnificent love, bringing honour to Their name.

When the righteous King submitted His body to a criminal’s death in order to cover the sentence of humanity’s wickedness, the unmatched mercy of God brought glory to His name.

When Jesus Christ was raised from the dead as God had declared to His prophets centuries before, God’s absolute and awesome power showed Them worthy of all honour and praise.

And when God offered His full and free forgiveness for every one of man’s transgressions, based solely and completely on Christ’s payment of our debt, offering Christ’s righteousness as the covering for our unrighteousness to everyone who will receive Him in faith, God’s unfathomable grace brought unparalleled glory to His wonderful Name.

Each time the LORD God displays an aspect of Their nature which is exclusive to Themselves, God demonstrates His honour, giving glory to Their Name.

When a saint of Christ lives the life of Christ on earth, the Name of God is glorified – shown honourable before men by our deeds.

And each time a lost sinner responds to Christ’s call to turn from sin and receive Him and His covering of their sins, almighty God is glorified as the dead man is raised to eternal life in and through the living Christ.

Jesus’ prayer to the Father to glorify His name was in the context of Christ’s impending execution. The preceding verses starting with v 23, read, “And Jesus answered them, saying, ‘The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified. Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He who loves his life shall lose it, and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to eternal life.

If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me, and where I am there shall My servant also be. If anyone serves Me, him will My father honour.

Now is My soul troubled, and what shall I say: Father save Me from this hour? But for this cause I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your Name.’

Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.’”

Rather than beg for release from the task before Him, Christ called upon the Father to bring glory to His own Name through Christ’s fulfilment of His ministry. Jesus continued to speak of judgement, of His death, and of redemption through the next few chapters of John’s book. The entire focus of His comments is the salvation worked for men by God through His own provision for man’s rebellion. God has glorified His name and will continue to do so by His wonderful exercise of love, mercy, and grace toward His rebellious creation, showing Himself to be superior in all excellent qualities, and worthy of all honour and praise.

It is good for us to speak God’s praise, and to “tell of His wonderful works”, but God’s Name is glorified before all creation by His very life and deeds, worked in His power and in His people.


[1] John 12:28         “Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”