Part 70 - John 17:1
Chapter 17 is the final prayer of Jesus. It was the custom in those days to record a final prayer like this of notable people and John followed that practice, presumably gathering the recollections of the disciples of what Jesus actually said – they often prayed aloud in those days.
Jesus begins by praying for himself, saying “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.”What a strange thing to say! He was expecting to die the next day the most excruciating and demeaning of deaths by crucifixion. We think of glory as receiving praise and honour, even adoration and worship. Jesus was asking God the Father to glorify him that rather different way. How amazing! What could he possibly have been thinking? The way he worded his request it certainly refers to that terrible next day. A very few verses later he does say, “now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began” and there he is looking forward to when he returns to heaven and sits down at the right hand of the Father, receiving the honour and glory of that position. But not here – here he sees glory in what was about to happen in his death in the next 24 hours and then 3 days later in his resurrection.
Jesus was taking the long view, which in view of the torture he knew he was about to have to endure is quite amazing. He knew, as the disciples didn’t, that his tomorrow, his hour as he called it, was going to be the most glorious day in the history of the world. He, God, was about to die for the salvation of mankind. His tomorrow would be the dividing point of history. Up to that day nobody had had anything more than hope that the Lord God would accept them. From that tomorrow onwards those who turned to him in humility and faith would begin to understand that they would be accepted in his name, on the basis of his sacrificial work on the Cross. Then a few days later they would learn that they had the Holy Spirit of God, his replacement, actively involved in their lives, directing their course through life, supporting them in all the many problems that the human condition brings, challenging and empowering them.
So there was glory ahead, even if it looked a rather strange glory at first sight. Indeed, it was because the followers he left behind recognized that glory that they started to worship him and it was because they found themselves irresistibly worshipping him that they began to realise that he was no less than God walking this earth as well as being a man.
That was his matchless glory. This is his matchless glory for us. We only need a small bit of that glory to come into our lives, to illuminate us, to be deeply blessed.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your prayer, for your constancy, your endurance of all the physical pain and spiritual pain that lay so closely ahead of you as you prayed. Thank you that your glory was for us.
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