To The Glory of God
I just read the most amazing prayer. It’s the 17th chapter of the Book of John. Anyone with eyes to see, and with ears to hear, can read this prayer and be blessed. I suggest that we each read this prayer several times from many different translations to get its full effect. It’s often said that to draw all the spiritual food from a portion of scripture, we should read it three times from three translations.
Here is an example of the differences in translations. Sometimes the differences are very small, sometimes larger. This is verse 2:
As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast Given Him (KJV).
Even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life (NAS).
For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him (NIV).
What are the key words in these verses that we should pick up on? They are flesh, mankind, and people. These three words denote the same thing, yet each with a slight difference in meaning.
The flesh is the nature of man apart from divine influence, therefore prone to sin and apposed to God (Unger’s Bible Dictionary).
Mankind is human beings collectively without reference to gender; humankind (Webster’s Dictionary).
People is persons indefinitely or collectively (as individuals), persons in general (Webster’s Dictionary).
So - we have the flesh, mankind, and people. All basically mean the same thing, but each has a subtle difference. By reading this in three translations we get a broader view of what this verse means to us. In this case, the primary message in the verse is that God gave Jesus the power and authority to give eternal life to every human who seeks His salvation.
After Jesus told the apostles about being in the Vine, about people hating Him, about His rejection to come, and about the work the Holy Spirit would do through them (John chapters 15 and 16), He prayed. Jesus begins by, watch this!, praying for HIMSELF! So many denominations operating today are training people not to pray for themselves. They say it’s selfish to put yourself first, or even second. They teach that we are to pray for others, and hope they pray for us. That’s not what Jesus is teaching. He prays for Himself first.
Prayer brings us into closeness with the Spirit. It opens the doors for power to flow through us. Praying for ourselves gives us the strength to pray for others. The Lord’s Prayer does not exclude me, but includes me. It says, “Give us this day our daily bread.” If we were not supposed to include ourselves, it would say, “Give them this day their daily bread.”
Hannah prayed with such distress of heart for a child that Eli the priest thought she was drunk
(I Samuel 1:10). Seeing her longing, and her faith in God, Eli joined her in prayer, and the follwing year Hannah had her son.
Psalm 34:17 assures us that it is right to pray for ourselves. The righteous, and we have been made the righteousness of God, cry out, and He hears them, and delivers them out of all their troubles. If you are not praying for you, how will God be able to reveal His great love for you?
There is a good example of private prayer for self in Matthew 7:7-10. It speaks of a son asking His Father for his needs. By birth it is the son’s right to approach the Father and make requests We see again the reference to asking for bread. Bread of life is what we must seek (John 6:35).
In John 1:17 Jesus first acknowledges God as His Father. He then goes on to ask God to glorify Him. To be glorified is to be made glorious, or honorable, or to cause to appear so. The glorification Jesus was looking for was the ability to suffer on the cross, that God would indeed forgive Him for the sins of the world He was carrying there, and that He would resurrect Him. Only by His resurrection could Jesus complete His sacrifice, and become Savior. His main concern was not for Himself, but so the Father would be glorified by it.
Jesus wanted to be glorified so God could be glorified. We are glorified so Jesus can be glorified. But all of this is for one purpose; that God’s perfection can be known through Jesus, and Jesus’ perfection can be known through us. Let’s look at Romans 8:30. Those of us in Christ are also glorified. Read also John 17:22.
John 17:2 shows us that because Jesus was always in God’s will (John 5:30), God gave Him authority over all mankind (John 3:35). He has been given the power to judge (John 5:26,27), to save (Matthew 18:11), and to grant eternal life (John 5:21). Only Jesus can ever have this authority.
John 17:3. We know God because Jesus revealed Him to us (Matthew 11:27). The knowing here is a deep personal relationship with Christ that affords us a deep relationship with God. We can only come to the Father by the Son. (John 14:6). Coming to the Son is what determines what kind of eternity we will have. We get to choose heaven or hell.
Jesus glorified God on the earth by maintaining His perfection, His sin-freeness. He honored God with His entire life. Although the “finished work” spoken of in John 17:4 is the cross, which has not happened yet, He knows it soon will, and so glory has already been given the Father because of it.
To understand verse five, let’s read Philippians 2:5-11.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of all men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I think that sums it up well. Jesus who is God, gave up His position in heaven, humbled Himself and came here as a servant, was sold to the cross for the price of a slave (thirty pieces of silver), he died the death of a thief on the cross, and He suffered shame and separation from God for our sakes. It was because of His great love and sacrifice that God exalted Him to His right hand. Jesus certainly deserves to be glorified, and to sit at the right hand of God, His Father and ours, in His right place as the second person of the Trinity.
He was God before the earth was formed, and He is God today. Because of His position, and because of His commitment to completing the work of God, every knee will one day bow before Him, and every tongue will confess His holiness and perfection. They will call Him Lord. And He and the Father will receive the glory.