John 17 v1-5 “After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”
Jesus knew that in the next few hours he would be the only sacrifice for the sin of our lives. He knew the time of fulfilling the prophecies, types and symbols, the time for ultimate triumph over Satan was here. Having just announced that, “I have overcome the world” he now knows. This hour was sanctioned in the depths of eternity. God’s redemptive hour. You can almost hear the drum rolls in heaven, the angels holding their breath, maybe this is the silence of heaven as Jesus looks up from the earth and speaks. “Father this is the hour that I came for, this is what we talked about, the time has come.”
His teaching, His works of compassion, His works of power, were all secondary to this.
The central point of his life was not living but giving it away.
Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
There is no way we will ever understand fully the glory of God this side of heaven.
In its simplistic form it is to see His beauty by way of God’s actions and by His character and nature.
Therefore, Jesus says, “Beautify my life, that I, here on public show, can beautify you.”
He sees these next few hours, his dark night of the soul, as the start of the events of glorification.
“In this human weakness, humiliation, torture, pain and agony of the cross, let your glory be seen in me that I may glorify/beautify you.”
Suffering is the place in which glorification takes place. The suffering of the cross.
I heard a wonderful testimony yesterday. At the end of an online sermon the preacher prayed a prayer centred on the cross and resurrection of Jesus. One hour later someone far away from the town it was broadcast wrote to that preacher to say they had joined in that prayer and after a lifetime of years had come back to God. Yesterday the despairing were given hope, the guilty were forgiven, those in bondage were freed and the hurting were healed. It happened because of the suffering of Christ. It brings glory.
There is a work on earth that we need to finish and it will involve our pain and suffering. We will struggle and it won’t be easy. Whatever you get paid for is not the work I am talking about. If you are retired from the work then it isn’t the work I am talking about. If you are wondering about what kind of work you might do then it isn’t the work I am talking about. We are all in the work as followers of Jesus. The work of doing what the Father asks of us. The work of every day rising to be the best disciple of Christ we can be. Richard, the Bishop of Chichester died in 1253 having only been a priest for 10 years. He lived a difficult life under the oppression of King Henry III. He ended up spending nearly 2 years walking barefoot throughout his diocese, can you imagine that? He wrote this prayer which sums up the work we are all called into until we die:
Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits Thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly and follow thee more nearly, day by day.
Today, your loved one may have left you. You may feel alone for all kinds of reasons. But you are still here and the work is still to be done. Know Him. Love Him. Follow Him. Today. Finish the work. Bring Him glory on your earth. For tomorrow there is a glory to come.
Jesus is saying, “I can’t wait to get home.” There is a glory in heaven that Moses longed for and partially saw; that Isaiah saw in the Temple and that John would see in his Revelation, “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.” (21:23)
Those who are with Jesus in heaven right now are in the fullness of that glory! We will experience that ourselves but for now, here on earth, we finish the work and bring glory to Him who suffered for us.