He’s drawing his prayer to a close. They’ve listened to him pour out his heart in their last hours together, and now his disciples (and in consequence us as well) have been ushered into the Holy of holies by being privy to an intensely powerful and emotional prayer between the Son of God and God the Father.
Though you’re reading this after Easter 2021, I’m writing it the week before—Holy Week, and the weight of that knowledge makes these final words of John 17, all the more poignant and relevant. I trust that no matter when you read these words, they will pierce your soul in love:
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.John 17:24-26 (NIV)
As soon as he would stand up and cross the Kidron Valley, it was all over. He knew it. He’d prepared for it. He came for it. Still, he wants to make one final request of the Father:
Let them see my glory.
He wanted us to witness what Moses had to hide his face from. Jesus would reveal the glory of God through his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. Those who heard that prayer would see it all.
Remember, though, that Jesus is not just praying for those disciples around him in that moment, but for all who would come to believe on him in the future—that includes us. We get glimpses of that glory in worship, reading his Word, and in prayer. He’s revealed his glory through us to others too, but there is glory yet to come, and not even the disciples have seen that.
It’s the glory of the returning King.
John would get a glimpse of what that glory would be:
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.Revelations 21:22-27
At his time of greatest agony in anticipation of his suffering to come, he prayed that you and I would see his glory, the glory that nations will walk in and kings will bring their splendor to. This is the glory for all whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Jesus is the Lamb of God. All praise and glory are due him. Glory to his name.
Grace and Peace