17 June 2021

“Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You.(v1)

I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave Me to do. And now, Father, glorify Me in your own presence with the glory that I had with You before the world existed (vv. 4,5).

All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them (v10).

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. The glory that You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You have given Me, may be with Me where I am, to see my glory that You have given Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world (vv. 20-24).

When the Son asked the Father to glorify him so that He, the Son, may glorify the Father, what was the Lord Jesus asking essentially? This request was made following the declaration that “the hour has come”. Jesus was obviously referring to the hour of His impending death at the cross, the hour for which He has come into the world to fulfil. It seems hard to understand how the suffering and death at the cross can be associated with glorifying Jesus and in turn glorifying the Father.

When Jesus died on the cross, as a ‘substitution’ for sinners, as a propitiation to meet the wrath of God against sin, He destroyed the work of the devil and broke the power of sin; He also ushered in God’s new kingdom and humanity for those who believe, transferring them from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, effecting forgiveness and reconciliation with God for believers, and granting them the privilege of being adopted as children of God in God’s family, with Jesus as the eldest brother and the new Master (in contrast to the bondage by sin and the evil one).

At the cross, Jesus the perfect God-man, ‘absorbed’ all the malice, all the onslaught of the devil and his minions, in obedience to the Father, and paid in full, and beyond, the penalty of sin, accomplishing victory, not just in finishing the work the Father had given Him but also conquering death and being resurrected (for death has no hold on Him) and becoming the first fruits for all those who are His who would follow in His victory and resurrection.

It is no wonder that the Son is glorified by the Father at the cross. and the Son also glorified the Father in accomplishing the task entrusted to Him, in full obedience to the Father, and in doing the will of the Father even in the face of pain, agony and the prospect of carrying the sin of the world and being ‘separated’ at that point from the Father with whom He has eternal fellowship of love and joy. We can hence see God’s glory demonstrated in the midst of suffering, pain and apparent defeat in the eyes of the world and even before the forces of darkness; but in fact, the greatest victory was achieved because Jesus, the ‘perfect man’ (who is the paradigm and example for us to emulate), did not fail to do the will of the Father and did not choose His own will which is much more pleasant and doable.

Notice that the Father is glorified when Jesus accomplished the work the Father assigned to Him, and simultaneously, the Father glorified Him with the glory He had with the Father before the world existed – here clearly is the indication that Jesus is divine and He was with the Father as ‘God’ before the creation of the world, and this also points to the fact that the Son is highly exalted in glory when He was lifted up and seated at the right hand of the Father with all ‘things’ under His feet, following His resurrection.

Note also that Jesus told the Father in His prayer that the glory the Father have given Him has also been given to His followers (the immediate apostles and subsequent believers) so that they may be one even as Jesus and His Father are one, Jesus in His believers and the Father in Jesus, so that the world may know that Jesus was sent by the Father and that the Father loved the believers in the same manner He loved His Son. We see here the pointer to the Trinity and the circle of love within the three Persons of the Godhead, and the wondrous reality that all those who are believers and belong to Jesus are also sharing His glory and ‘invited’ to join in this divine circle of love within the Trinity! This is in line with the request made by the Son that those who belong to Him and are given to Him may be with Him where He is to behold His glory. The prayer of the Lord Jesus certainly gives us the privilege to have some insights into what ‘glory’ means and what truly matters to the triune God and also the wondrous grace, mercy and love of the Godhead.

“All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which You have given Me, they may be one, even as we are one” (vv 10-12).

Notice that the Lord Jesus said that He is glorified in His disciples, in all those who belong to Him. How is it that Christ is glorified in His followers? Jesus had said earlier that if His followers love one another just as He love them, then all people will know that they are His disciples. In His prayer, Jesus asked the Father to keep His disciples in the Father’s name and in HIs name, such that they may be one, united, even as the Father and the Son are one, united. Their loving one another and their oneness and unity glorify the Lord Jesus – they point to the fact that they are His disciples and their love and unity bring glory to the Master! People not only can recognise that they are the Lord’s disciples; they also can see the character, love and life of the Lord in them; they see too the reflection of their unity in the unity of the Father and the Son. It is a unity of love, a unity of holiness, a unity which is in fact divine – made possible only because God is at work, and this has been effected by the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit.

It reminds us that it is not possible, by our own efforts, to achieve unity among ourselves; unity is a reality God achieves in us because He puts us in Jesus, and as Jesus is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, we are united if we are one in the triune God in the same manner as Jesus is one with the Father and the Spirit. Unity is in our relationship with God and with one another. If we are not one in the triune God, we cannot be one with one another in the truest sense of the word. Our unity with one another depends on our oneness with God individually and corporately. So called believers who are estranged from
God and are at odds with Him cannot be one with those who are faithful true disciples of the Lord! A superficial external ‘oneness’ with one another is not true unity – it is just like a white-washed wall which looks ugly and patchy without the paint. If believers do not share oneness in the truth of God and oneness in the character and life of God, there can be no true unity, only external semblance of being agreeable.

“I do not ask that You that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth, Your word is truth” (vv1-17).

Here we see that if we are genuine disciples of the Lord, we are in reality not of this world – just as the Lord Jesus is not of the world. We are citizens of heaven – we are in the world but not of the world. Can this be said to be true of us as Christians? Are believers no different from those of the world; are believers so caught up with the love of the world that their lives do not reflect the life and character of the Lord Jesus?

Jesus also indicates in His prayer that we are to remain in the world – it means there is a task to be accomplished by us believers in this world, a work to be done for the Lord. We are also made aware in His prayer that spiritual warfare is real and that we need the Lord God to keep us from the evil one, for our enemy would seek to hinder us in our work for God and our walk in God. We need to depend on God for protection and for the enabling to fight the spiritual war – we cannot do it on our own. In this war, we are to be sanctified in the truth; it points to the essentials of holiness and truth in our lives individually and together. Truth and holiness belong to God Himself; HIs people must necessarily be people of the truth and people who are holy, set apart for Him.

We see in the prayer of the Lord Jesus certain aspects of the truth and principles we need to be aware of as His people, and to nurture in our lives as His disciples. The prayer not only reveals the heart of the Lord Jesus; it also emphasises what is truly significant and precious in His heart. We must not miss this in any way as we prayerfully consider the prayer of our Lord Jesus.