John 17:1–8, 20–26comment (0)
January 9, 2014
By Dale Younce
Related Scripture: John 17:1–8, 20–26
Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
John 17:1–8, 20–26
What does it mean to “glorify God” or to “glorify Jesus”? Perhaps many Christians have not carefully considered this question. Other Christians may have come to understand that their ultimate reason for existence — and for their salvation — is to honor Jesus. Today’s study can help adults learn why they are to honor Jesus.
Honor Jesus for Completing God’s Work (1–5)
This lesson brings us to what is known as “The High Priestly Prayer” of Jesus. It is one of the two prayers He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. In this prayer, He intercedes for His own; it is a glimpse of His present ministry in heaven where He prays for His people (Heb. 7:25).
Jesus marked out five spiritual truths. (1) His supreme desire was to glorify and to honor God the Father. The hour when He would pay for our sin had arrived and He was looking ahead to His death on the cross and beyond that to His resurrection. All creation would see the love of God displayed as Jesus died a vicarious, substitutionary, redemptive death for us. (2) Jesus exercises supreme authority in the universe in order to give eternal life to those who trust Him. It brings great glory to God when ungodly people trust Christ and then demonstrate the character of Christ in their daily lives. (3) Jesus defined eternal life as knowing God personally, not just facts about Him but living in personal relationship with Him through faith in Jesus. (4) He had accomplished all the work God the Father had given Him to do. He had glorified the Father by His sinless life, by His miracles and teaching, by His death and resurrection. He had finished the work of salvation the Father had given Him. (5) Jesus requested a return to the pre-incarnate glory of His Deity. During His earthly life, the glory of His Deity was veiled. People saw only a man; angels saw Deity veiled by human flesh. Jesus requested the visible evidence of His glory in heaven be restored.
Honor Jesus Through Obedience (6–8)
Jesus focused His attention upon the disciples. He described them as men belonging to the Father and given to Him by God. They had lived by what Jesus taught and had come to understand clearly that God the Father had sent Jesus. This meant Jesus affirmed the genuine faith of His men. We honor Jesus as we accept and obey what He taught as the divine instruction that it is.
Honor Jesus Through Unity (20–23)
Jesus’ interest extended beyond the 12; He prayed for the whole Church throughout all the ages. The prayer was for unity among believers. In one sense this prayer has already been answered. The Church is an organic unity, making all believers one in Christ since the Church is one Body (1 Cor. 12:12–13). The moment a sinner trusts Christ, that sinner is immediately placed into the Body of Christ. Believers also are united in the common eternal life shared by all who trust Christ. The unity for which Jesus prayed was not some cookie-
cutter uniformity of thought and action but a spiritual unity based on the person and work of Jesus. The unity that exists between the Father and the Son is the unity that is to exist between the Lord and the believer. Such a oneness of spirit looks beyond the elements of our first birth — race, color, abilities, national origin, etc. — and builds our fellowship on the essentials of our new birth.
Honor Jesus Now and Forever (24–26)
Jesus expressed to the Father His desire that all believers will one day be with Him in heaven and will experience the everlasting love that characterizes the Triune God. As believers, we can be sure that we are able to honor Jesus not only now but also when we go to be with Him forever in heaven.