June 17, 2013
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
Glorify Thy Son
“Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son,
that Thy Son may also glorify Thee.”
The Lord Jesus rarely ‘asked’ for anything from His Father. This very same night, He gave thanks for the bread and the cup. He thanked God for what they stand for: His body given and His blood shed. He had prayed for Peter that his faith would not falter. Later, He would ask forgiveness for others when impaled to the cross.
But here, at the beginning of what has been called His High Priestly prayer, He asks the Father to glorify Him. For any mortal to request that God glorify him would be totally out of place. But this is the Son speaking to the Father. In verse 5 He will speak of the glory which He had with the Father before the world came into being. So He has an inherent right to ask. As Son, glory belonged to Him.
As the only perfect Man Who had completed the work He had been given to do, He had a moral right to ask for glory. If there had been any defect in His service, any blight on His motives, then the request would not have been appropriate. But He had finished the work He had been given to do (v 4).
But there is something more here that, once again, reveals something of the beauty of the Son. He is asking for glory that He, in turn, might glorify the Father. What, exactly, is He asking? He is asking for resurrection glory. He is asking that He might be raised to the right hand of the Father, that through His work, He might be able to impart eternal life to all those whom the Father had given Him. And in what way would that glorify the Father? As a result of the eternal life He would bestow, men would come to know the only true God (v 3). In His life on earth, He had revealed the heart of God to men. Now in His resurrection, He would continue to do the same.
Eternally, He has always been the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His Person (Heb 1:3). In incarnation, He continued to reveal God, but in a clearer fuller manner (John 1:18; Heb 1:1). Now in resurrection, ascension, and exaltation, He will continue to reveal the Father to His own. His glorification had in view the ability to continue to glorify the Father.
He is the selfless Christ, even in John 17.
1. “Jesus lifted up His eyes into (Newberry margin) heaven.” (v 1) What is implied by the fact that He lifted up His eyes into, and not just toward, heaven?
2. How many times did the Lord pray and speak to His Father on His final night and day on earth?
3. In verses 1-3 the Lord Jesus speaks to His Father in the third person. In verse 4 and on He speaks in the first person. Any thought on why this is so?