Jesus must have already been exhausted. I know, he still had the trial, beatings, and crucifixion to endure, but as we start this seventeenth chapter of John’s gospel today, I just sense a huge sigh in the heart of my Lord. We’ve spent weeks pouring over these last conversations between Jesus and his disciples, hearing their questions and seeing how Jesus patiently responds. I’ve said it before; without the Holy Spirit, they just weren’t getting it, but now the time for talking was over.
The Time Has Come
With arrest coming just on the other side of an olive grove, Jesus had one more thing to do–pray for his disciples and us. Today, we’ll look at how that begins:
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.John 17:1-5
Which words strike you in this passage? I see three:
- Eternal Life
As he lifts his head and looks toward heaven, Jesus addresses his prayer to his Father…our Father…God. He’s revealing the relationship that not only he has, which is the foundational basis for all other relationships, but that his disciples would have in prayer, as they would begin to model their prayers after their teacher’s post-resurrection.
What did he ask of the Father? To glorify the Son through the work he was about to accomplish, and then to again glorify him by restoring him into the presence of the Father, as he has always been before the incarnation.
The glory of God is a two-way act: God glorifies the Son, as the Son has glorified the Father in all he’s done. We’ve seen in other passages, that we have a part of that glory as well. Amazing, isn’t it?
The third word or phrase in this passage that is so important is eternal life. Christ had received the authority from God the Father to give eternal life to human beings. Not only would those who believed in Christ be able to pray directly to God the Father; not only would they be able to receive glory as they give God glory, but through faith in Christ, they are awarded eternal life.
If you have any question about what that means, Jesus leaves no room for doubt:
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Yes, it means living for eternity, but the only way we’re able to live for eternity is because we know God and Jesus Christ. By becoming one with God through Christ, our nature is changed from that which is mortal to that which is eternal…because God is eternal.
Because eternal life is to know God and Christ, it is not a future event, but one that begins this moment, here on earth, and lasts throughout our time in this life, but also into the next….forever!
It was time for Jesus to lay it all out before God and his disciples, because everything was soon to change. If you think this part of the prayer is powerful, just wait…it gets, maybe not better, but much more personal. Till then, lift your prayers to the Father, live for his glory, and rest in the assurance of a life of knowing him for eternity. Christ has made all that possible.
Grace and Peace