The True Lord’s Prayer, Jesus, Mission and Glory

In part 2 of The True Lord's Prayer, we learn that Jesus' prayer was about the success of the mission he was giving to His disciples

By Published on March 15, 2015

DAVID SINCERBOX — In the true Lord’s Prayer of John 17, the Lord begins by praying for Himself (John 17:1-5), but only in the sense of His now pending completion of His early mission and the commissioning of His disciples to carry on after His death. This mission involves, at its heart, the glory of God. The words “glory,” “glorified” and “glorify” appear 5 times in this prayer (twice in 17:1, once in 17:4, and twice in 17:5). This prayer, as mentioned, is mission-centered.

This is evident from verses 2-3: “. . . you have given Him [Jesus] authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

This is also evident in verse 17:18: “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them [the disciples] into the world.”

Jesus, by lifting His eyes to heaven in verse 17:1 is putting His whole attention on God His Father and is modeling, as G. L. Borchert states in New American Commentary: John 12-21, “. . . how to honor and glorify God through consistent obedience to the will of the Father.”

Jesus also modeled in this prayer that through His glorification His disciples, too, would be glorified, not in the same sense that the Son would be glorified, but in the sense that they would be agents of God’s glory in mission and restoration. Jesus not only prayed for the eleven disciples present, but also prayed for all future disciples including you and me. Jesus would glorify God the Father through His sacrificial work on the cross.

This was to be done on behalf of those who would know him, His work, His atonement and His resurrection, and would then honor Him as recognizing that he had all authority over them. By glorifying God in this way, Jesus, in turn, would soon be glorified on earth as he was soon to be glorified in heaven.

The Greek word for “glory” has as its basic idea the same as that of the Hebrew word for glory. G. Kittel, G. Friedrich, and G. W. Bromiley, in their Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, give the meaning of the Hebrew word from which the Greek word comes: “The Hebrew term kāḇôḏ has the root sense of something weighty which gives importance, e.g., wealth (Gen. 13:2; 31:1) or honor (Gen. 45:13) . . . In relation to God it denotes that which makes God impressive. Since God is invisible, it necessarily carries a reference to His self-manifestation.”

Even to this day in certain Mediterranean cultures it is customary to refer to someone who commands respect as being “weighty.” Light became associated with the word glory probably because heavy, flammable objects such as piles of fabric have a tendency over time to combust and give off light and heat.

Jesus, who calls God His Father, states, “ . . . the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you” (17:1). “Hour” means that Jesus’ Passover ministry of being our Passover lamb for sin was soon to take place and the events leading to His crucifixion were now going to begin. This hour was to be more than a mere span in time; it was to be the crucial point of all history. The paradox of Jesus’ glorification was that of crucifixion — the ignominious death of a common criminal would bring Him glory.

 


NEXT STEPS

How closely do your prayers match Jesus’ prayer here? Are you concerned with the Father’s glory, with the growth and maturity of other believers, with restoring the creation? See if you can incorporate some of these things next time you speak with the Father.

Originally published in The Colson Center: Christian Worldview Journal, September 2, 2014


Re-published with permission of The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview

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