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John 17:1-5, NIV 1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
January 21, 2012Now is the time. Before anything else happened, Jesus raised his eyes toward heaven and prayed. John is the only one to record or make reference to this prayer. It is printed in its entirety in 26 verses. Throughout the prayer, Jesus addressed God as Father, Holy Father, and Righteous Father.
The needs and requests of Jesus are few. Actually he asks just one thing for himself. "Glorify me." Why? "So that I may glorify you." To glorify means to adorn or to make beautiful. Or to add a further dimension, William Evans wrote: "Glorify means to make someone beautiful in the eyes of another."
Ironically, glorify is consistently associated with the death of Jesus in John's gospel. Jesus' death on the cross was a horrible and gruesome event which I would never want to witness. Yet Jesus wants us to see the beauty of God when we look toward the cross. Only one thing would make the cross beautiful--and that would be love. The love of Jesus that compelled him to give his life for us, and the ever-new and never-dying love of the sinner for his or her Savior.
Just as love involves suffering, so does glory involve suffering. The cross of Christ is a symbol of suffering; yet also of triumph. His great humiliation was also his great exultation. In John 12:32 we heard Jesus say, "But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." Another quote from Evans--"As we can never see the rainbow except through falling raindrops, so there are visions of God that we can never see save through our falling tears."
In this prayer Jesus clearly defines what eternal life is. First, it is given; it is a gift. The authority to give this gift was given to Jesus from God. Jesus was gifted to give us eternal life. And this is eternal life--that we may know our Father God and Jesus whom he sent to grant us life through his sufferings.
Jesus indicated in this prayer that he was accustomed to glory. Because he was present with Father God, sharing his glory, before the world was created. Then, being sent from God, "the word became flesh and dwelt among us." For three years he taught, he preached, he healed and did the works of God.
And now the time has come to complete the work he was sent to do. He had glorified God (made God beautiful) in life, now he must glorify God (make God beautiful) in death. "Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds."
John 17:6-9 , NIV 6 "I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gaveme and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them."
January 22, 2012 Jesus is praying, talking with his Father in heaven. The word "gave" is repeated over and over again. Everything Jesus had or was, he obtained from his Father. His disciples, the words he spoke, the authority to teach and heal people from every type of disease; all this came from God. In like manner, eternal life is given to those who believe God sent Jesus into the world. God is a giver.
Words reveal who we are. Words also reveal who God is and show the world what God is like. God is the giver who loved the people of this world so much that he sent his son so that all who believed and received him would have eternal life. God is a lover.
Jesus gave the disciples the words God had given to him. These words were meant to be taken seriously, to be obeyed and followed as principles for daily living. Like a light along the pathway, these words will help us avoid pitfalls and stumbling blocks. Like a strong rope, they provide a means for us to scale the barriers. Like a well-drawn map, they show us the best way to get where we need to go. The words of God instruct and we are wise to obey. Jesus was a revealer of the truth about God..
It's our job to accept the Giver, the Lover, the Revealer. Those who obey, those who live confidently in the truths which Jesus revealed, those who know with certainty that Jesus was sent from God and completed his mission--these are the kind of people Jesus prayed for on the night of his betrayal and arrest. These are the people most on his mind when he was about to depart this earth.