I have defined Honour in my first book “What on Earth is Glory” as the recognition and response to the glory in another.
Honour begins and ends with Jesus. When Jesus died, he honoured you, me, and all of mankind.
Jesus died not because we were worthless, but because from heaven’s perspective we were worth Him!
Extraordinary as this may seem, it is the truth. Heaven saw in each of us our glory. However evil our lives, heaven saw our ‘made in the image glory’, our potential to reveal, reflect, and point to the glory of the one who made us in His image. He died not just for restoration of relationship with the Father and eternal life but so that we could have our full glory carrying potential redeemed.
We also see the recognition of glory in ‘the least’ recorded in Matthew 25. Jesus will come with the greatest display of visible glory imaginable and point to the unseen glory in the least.
But not just in his death, and return, but in his life Jesus created for us all a pathway of honour.
1.He Honoured Family: In Luke 2:51 we read that Jesus “continued in subjection” to his family. Isn’t this extraordinary, he would I am sure have seen weaknesses and inconsistencies in his parents, yet he subjected himself to their care, oversight and guidance. Even as he took his final breaths of this earthly life on the cross, he made sure that his mother was to be taken care of. “Mother behold your son, son behold your mother.” (John 19:26)
Our lesson of honour: We have been placed in families, both natural, relational, and spiritual. We may see weaknesses and inconsistencies, but there is a place for honour. So too for those of us who in some way lead ‘families’ we must take our role seriously and realise that we are modelling our heavenly father and must live lives in subjection to those who may be less than perfect too.
2. He Honoured God, His Father: It was of course the purpose of his mission, to reveal the father. There are so many references of how but none speaks louder to me than: John 5:19. “he can only do what he sees His father doing.”
Our lesson of honour: There is no greater act of honour for all of mankind than to honour God. In the beautiful Westminster Catechism we read that the chief end of man is to worship/enjoy God forever. More recently the Lords prayer translated in the Passion translation reads: “May the glory of your name (Father God) be the centre on which our lives turn.” (Matt 6:10) Our assignment is to learn to see what the Father is doing and to do it too.
3. He Honoured Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit rested on Jesus, guided Him and spoke to Him and through Him. They are equal; members of the trinity and yet we see this beautiful co-labouring and honour. Jesus was clear that the Holy Spirit could not come if He did not leave. This adds to honouring us in His death by saying that the plans of the father would be incomplete if the Holy Spirit were prevented from coming and he had to leave for that to happen.
Our lesson of honour: It is easy to become complacent about Him who lives in us. The one who led Jesus, instructed Jesus, guided Jesus, lives in us. We have access to power, boldness, adoption, truth, wisdom, and fellowship with Him. How then shall we live, with this great treasure within. As Jesus honoured the Holy Spirit, so must we.
4. He Honoured the Law: Sometimes in extraordinary ways, even when religious leaders tried to trick him, Jesus answered in ways which met the requirements of the laws of heaven and earth. None more so than in the story of the woman caught in adultery. The law required for stones to be cast. Jesus gave permission for the law to be fulfilled, but saw no stones cast, and the greater law of love and compassion demonstrated in the most beautiful of ways. We see this again in his reply regarding taxes: “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
Our lesson of honour: There may be times when we are called to override earths laws, perhaps in the smuggling of bibles as has been the case in the past. But this must be within the primary lens of life, honouring those in authority and the laws which they have made. There will be a tension of living with ‘heaven’ inside of us while walking on earth, but Jesus modelled the greatest of examples.
5. He Honoured Faith: We are members of the Christian Faith and yet sometimes walking in faith can be our greatest challenge. We should be comforted in knowing that Abraham, known as the father of faith did not actually find the city which he, by faith was looking for. Faith is a journey, a heart condition, and one which Jesus said he would look for when he returns. He honours faith, the evidence of it, rather than the size or outcome of it.
Our lesson of honour: What does a life of faith mean to us. To measure our success by outcomes will miss the great assignment of ‘obedience to faith’. We are to walk by faith and not by sight. We are to continually stand in front of impossible circumstances and believe that we will see them change by the power of His name. It is the life of faith.
6. He Honoured History: The genealogy which Jesus must have talked to his disciples about, and which is recorded in the gospels, gives us great insight into his value for those who had gone before. As of course does his knowledge of and reference to the Old Testament scriptures. Jesus does not filter out those who were flawed in some way, he honoured his entire family line.
Our lesson of honour: We cannot afford to dismiss those who have gone before us, to learn from their lessons, even though their lives may have been deeply scarred and flawed is a key to passing the baton to the next generation. Jesus will be known for all eternity as ‘the son of David’, in other words the son of an adulteress murderer, his example is our signpost.
7. He Honoured the broken: In allowing his feet to be washed by a ‘sinful’ woman using her her hair (her glory) and her tears (her repentance & perhaps shame) he modelled for us all how to honour the broken. His story telling and demonstration of power always included the least, the broken, the sinners, and the most needy too, however they were viewed by his ‘critics.’ Henry Nouwen called Jesus the ‘wounded healer’, a beautiful title and utterly true.
Our lesson of honour: Sometimes in life the blessings, prophetic words, and encouragements may come in forms that are easy to reject. Jesus recognised the heart and knew that in him alone hearts can be fully healed and restored. We carry the same spirit and should see with the same eyes too and be willing to receive from unlikely carriers of glory.
8. He Honoured Kings, Rulers, & Leaders: Jesus did not choose to fight back against the leaders who were falsely accusing him. It must have been a remarkable scene that first Easter. But it was not an isolated incident, it was a lifestyle, although fully God, he submitted as man to the authorities around Him.
Our lesson of honour : It is very tempting to dishonour rulers and leaders, especially those that we disagree with or have not voted for, but that is not an option. The bible is clear in that we are to honour those in authority, pray for them, and even further that their appointment is established by God. (Romans 13:1). When Paul wrote to the Romans, instructing that they honour authority he was writing to Christians under one of the greatest oppressive leaders of all time.
9. He Honoured those who would come after Him: In one of the most extraordinary verses in the bible we read that Jesus, who had demonstrated miracles which have never been seen in one mans life before or since, said that we who go after him would see greater works. (John 14:12) Jesus honoured us as being able to see the greater works, impossible though that may seem, and unworthy as we may feel, he sent us to do ‘the more’.
Our lesson of honour: There is an invitation for us to live lives which honour ‘ the more’. Hunger for spiritual and supernatural breakthrough is a key to seeing the greater works which Jesus prophecied and promised.As we pursue the more, we honour the one who prophecied that we would.
10. He Honoured Children: As we all know, Jesus said, ‘let the children come to me.’ This beautiful picture of honour carries so much more than just the recognition of children. It is a reference to being childlike, of coming to Jesus without the filters of adulthood and life’s woes.
Our lesson of honour: I love the phrase that ‘there is no junior Holy Spirit,’ recognising that there is no limit to what children can do and that I add they do it from childlikeness. But perhaps a greater invitation to us is to be childlike in our worship and adoration of Jesus and carrying of the Holy Spirit. We are invited to honour children and learn to be childlike and as we do, to learn how to host the Holy Spirit as children do.
These simple examples of honour in the life of Jesus lead us to a life of honour and honour brings life. Jesus lived and died in total honour and the life which he ‘won’ is eternal life for him and all of us.
Anything which has a glory, points to, or reveals His (God’s) glory is worthy of honour. And what is more, honour is how we grow from glory to glory. 2 Cor 3:18.
Proverbs states that before honour, comes humility. It is of course the mark of Jesus, the humble servant, no life was ever humbled like His and no life has ever honoured like his.
May it be true of us, that we are known for humility and consequently for honour.
If we want to grow from glory to glory, then we must learn honour, which is preceded by humility, and the reward is long, full, abundant, and eternal life!