“Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me.” (Galatians 1:21-24)
In the three readings from this past Sunday’s lectionary we see one common connection: people giving glory to the Lord. The widow of Zarephath gave glory to the Lord for the action of His righteous servant Elijah who raised her son from death. She, though a pagan, came to faith in Almighty God, again showing the power of the Lord who has worked a miraculous change in an individual. Her son was raised from physical death, while she was raised from spiritual death.
No doubt the mother who lost her son in the town of Nain gave thanks and glory to God for Jesus. Certainly all those people who witnessed Jesus’ resurrection of a dead man glorified God. Great fear came upon them although the word fear does not carry the same meaning as we think. The fear they experienced was not dread or hiding but respect and awe that a great prophet on the order of Elijah had appeared.
Paul openly mentions the glory of God at the end of the passage from Galatians 1. The churches and believers gave glory to God because of the great change that the Lord had worked in Paul. He had persecuted the church of Jesus Christ with great passion and zeal. Yet the Lord drew him out of that lifestyle and legalistic mindset while using his zeal to proclaim the truth of the gospel of Jesus. A similar great change occurs in many of those who come to faith in Christ or experience a spiritual awakening in later life. This is a great miracle and cause for glorifying the Lord who has such power to cleanse the worst sinners and work His righteousness in them. We believers should give glory to God for He still works through human servants to change even the most stubborn sinful hearts.