Reading John 17, I’ve always felt there are depths of riches to be mined here than far surpass our abilities (mine to be sure!). In fact, so much so sometimes this chapter can be intimidating. But as I’m reading through John during Lent season for my personal devotions, I’m trying not to shy away from it. And as this is God’s Word, I know by His Spirit’s help, He makes His Word plain for my understanding and my upbuilding.
Glory is the theme of this chapter. The glory of the Father and the Son, the glory the share with One another, and that they now share with us. Yes, us! What a thought! One of the amazing things about this chapter is here is a rare opportunity to hear Jesus praying. And what praying! Here is intimate, rapturous delight rooted in Jesus’ personal circumstances. Here is Jesus expressing his desires, convictions, concerns–all before the Father. He models for us how to pray.
Well, a few thoughts on John 17, a bit of scratching the surface:
1. The glory of the Son is directly linked with the glory of the Father. The two are not in any competition. In fact, the Son’s mission and delight is to glorify the Father. But the Father is only glorified through His Son, Jesus. Specifically, (somehow) the Father will be glorified by what’s about to happen in “the hour”: the scandalous death of Jesus, then the triumph of his resurrection and ascension.
Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
2. Jesus’ glory consists in his amazing authority to grant life to whom he wills. The author of life delights to give life to those who believe. Notice how Jesus thinks of eternal life, not in terms of quantity or as escape from the fate of death all humans share. No, eternal life is New Testament code word for something far deeper.
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Erik Raymond insightfully notes:
Eternal life is not simply the quantity (how long) but also the quality of the life (how good).
3. Jesus’ glory is tied to his future glory, forever (as always) with the Father, in a relationship of perfect harmony, unity, will. “Now, I am coming to you.”
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
So much of the prayer (vv. 6-13) is Jesus anticipating the glory of being in the presence of the Father. So much mystery here!
4. The Triune God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit shares His glory with us. Hear Jesus praying for us (me and you). How amazing!
- We share his glory as He sanctifies us in the truth; His Word is truth. We are sanctified by the Word He’s given us.
- We share his glory when we share in His suffering. While enduring hatred and strife (“the world has hated them”), we are kept from the evil one!
- We share in his glory by knowing His love, the very love that Father, Son and Holy Spirit share. God’s love shed into our hearts is the personal way we experience the glory of the Triune God. Do you know the love of Jesus?
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. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.