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Bible Commentaries

William Barclay's Daily Study Bible
John 17

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-26

Chapter 17

THE GLORY OF THE CROSS (John 17:1-5)

17:1-5 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify the Son that the Son may glorify you. Glorify him, just as you gave him authority over mankind, that he may give eternal life to every one whom you have given to him. It is eternal life to know you, who are the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, whom you sent. I have glorified you upon earth, because I have finished the work which you gave me to do; and now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory which I had with you before the world began."

For Jesus life had a climax, and that was the Cross. To him the Cross was the glory of life and the way to the glory of eternity. "The hour has come," he said, "for the Son of Man to be glorified" (John 12:23). What did Jesus mean when he repeatedly spoke of the Cross as his glory and his glorification? There is more than one answer to that question.

(i) It is one of the facts of history that again and again it was in death that the great ones found their glory. It was when they died, and how they died, which showed people what and who they really were. They may have been misunderstood, undervalued, condemned as criminals in their lives, but their deaths showed their true place in the scheme of things.

Abraham Lincoln had his enemies during his lifetime; but even those who had criticized him saw his greatness when he died. Someone came out of the room where Lincoln lay, after the assassin's shot had killed him, saying: "Now he belongs to the ages." Stanton, his war minister, who had always regarded Lincoln as crude and uncouth and who had taken no pains to conceal his contempt, looked down at his dead body with tears in his eyes. "There lies," he said, "the greatest ruler of men the world has ever seen."

Joan of Arc was burned as a witch and a heretic by the English. Amidst the crowd there was an Englishman who had sworn to add a faggot to the fire. "Would that my soul," he said, "were where the soul of that woman is!" One of the secretaries of the King of England left the scene saying: "We are all lost because we have burned a saint."

When Montrose was executed, he was taken down the High Street of Edinburgh to the Mercat Cross. His enemies had encouraged the crowd to revile him and had actually provided them with ammunition to fling at him, but not one voice was raised to curse and not one hand was lifted. He had on his finest clothes, with ribbons on his shoes and fine white gloves on his hands. James Frazer, an eyewitness, said: "He stept along the street with so great state, and there appeared in his countenance so much beauty, majesty and gravity as amazed the beholder, and many of his enemies did acknowledge him to be the bravest subject in the world, and in him a gallantry that braced all that crowd." John Nicoll, the notary public, thought him more like a bridegroom than a criminal. An Englishman in the crowd, a government agent, wrote back to his superiors: "It is absolutely certain that he hath overcome more men by his death, in Scotland, than he would have done if he had lived. For I never saw a more sweeter carriage in a man in all my life."

Again and again a martyr's majesty has appeared in death. It was so with Jesus, for even the centurion at the foot of the Cross was left saying: "Truly this was the Son of God" (Matthew 27:54). The Cross was the glory of Jesus because he was never more majestic than in his death. The Cross was his glory because its magnet drew men to him in a way that even his life had never done--and it is so yet.

THE GLORY OF THE CROSS (John 17:1-5 continued)

(ii) Further, the Cross was the glory of Jesus because it was the completion of his work. "I have accomplished the work," he said, "which You gave me to do." For him to have stopped short of the Cross would have been to leave his task uncompleted. Why should that be so? Jesus had come into this world to tell men about the love of God and to show it to them. If he had stopped short of the Cross, it would have been to say that God's love said: "Thus far and no farther." By going to the Cross Jesus showed that there was nothing that the love of God was not prepared to do and suffer for men, that there was literally no limit to it.

H. L. Gee tells of a war incident from Bristol. Attached to one of the Air Raid Precautions Stations there was a boy messenger called Derek Bellfall. He was sent with a message to another station on his bicycle. On his way back a bomb mortally wounded him. When they found him, he was still conscious. His last whispered words were: "Messenger Bellfall reporting--I have delivered my message."

A famous painting from the First World War showed an engineer fixing a field telephone line. He had just completed the line so that an essential message might come through, when he was shot. The picture shows him in the moment of death, and beneath it there is the one word, "Through!" He had given his life, that the message might get through.

That is exactly what Jesus did. He completed his task; he brought God's love to men. For him that meant the Cross; and the Cross was his glory because he finished the work God gave him to do; he made men for ever certain of God's love.

(iii) There is another question--how did the Cross glorify God? The only way to glorify God is to obey him. A child brings honour to his parents when he brings them obedience. A citizen brings honour to his country when he obeys it. A scholar brings honour to his teacher when he obeys his master's teaching. Jesus brought glory and honour to God by his perfect obedience to him. The gospel story makes it quite clear that Jesus could have escaped the Cross. Humanly speaking, he could have turned back and need never have gone to Jerusalem. As we look at Jesus in the last days, we are bound to say: "See how he loved God! See to what lengths his obedience would go!" He glorified God on the Cross by rendering the perfect obedience of perfect love.

(iv) But there is still more. Jesus prayed to God to glorify him and to glorify himself. The Cross was not the end. There was the Resurrection to follow. This was the vindication of Jesus. It was the proof that men could do their worst, and that Jesus could still triumph. It was as if God pointed at the Cross and said: "That is what men think of my Son," and then pointed at the resurrection and said: "That is what I think of my Son." The Cross was the worst that men could do to Jesus; but not all their worst could conquer him. The glory of the resurrection obliterated the shame of the Cross.

(v) For Jesus the Cross was the way back. "Glorify me," he prayed, "with the glory which I had before the world began." He was like a knight who left the king's court to perform some perilous and awful deed, and who, having performed it, came home in triumph to enjoy the victor's glory. Jesus came from God, and returned to him. The exploit between his coming forth and his going back was the Cross. For him, therefore, it was the gateway to glory; and, if he had refused to pass through it, there would have been no glory for him to enter into. For Jesus the Cross was his return to God.

ETERNAL LIFE (John 17:1-5 continued)

There is another important thought in this passage, for it contains the great New Testament definition of eternal life. It is eternal life to know God and to know Jesus Christ whom he has sent. Let us remind ourselves of what eternal means. In Greek it is aionios (Greek #166). This word has to do, not so much with duration of life, for life which went on for ever would not necessarily be a boon. Its main meaning is quality of life. There is only one person to whom the word aionios (Greek #166) can properly be applied, and that is God. Eternal life is, therefore, nothing other than the life of God. To possess it, to enter into it, is to experience here and now something of the splendour, and the majesty, and the joy, and the peace, and the holiness which are characteristic of the life of God.

To know God is a characteristic thought of the Old Testament. Wisdom is "a tree of life to those who lay hold of her" (Proverbs 3:18). "To know thy power," said the writer of Wisdom, "is the root of immortality" (Wisdom of Solomon 5:3). "By knowledge are the righteous delivered" (Proverbs 11:9). Habbakuk's dream of the golden age is that "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God" (Habakkuk 2:14). Hosea hears God's voice saying to him: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). A Rabbinic exposition asks what is the smallest section of scripture on which all the essentials of the law hang? It answers, Proverbs 3:6, which literally means: "Know him, and he shall direct thy paths." Again there was a Rabbinic exposition which said that Amos had reduced all the many commandments of the Law to one, when he said: "Seek me, and live" (Amos 5:4), for seeking God means seeking to know him. The Jewish teachers had long insisted that to know God is necessary to true life. What then does it mean to know God?

(i) Undoubtedly there is an element of intellectual knowledge. It means, at least in part, to know what God is like; and to know that does make the most tremendous difference to life. Take two examples. Heathen peoples in primitive countries believe in a horde of gods. Every tree, brook, hill, mountain, river, stone has its gods and its spirit; all these spirits are hostile to man; and primitive people are haunted by the gods; living in perpetual fear of offending one of them. Missionaries tell us that it is almost impossible to understand the sheer wave of relief which comes to these people when they discover that there is only one God. This new knowledge makes all the difference in the world. Further, it makes a tremendous difference to know that God is not stern and cruel, but love.

We know these things; but we could never have known them unless Jesus had come to tell them. We enter into a new life, we share something of the life of God himself, when, through the work of Jesus, we discover what God is like. It is eternal life to know what God is like.

(ii) But there is something else. The Old Testament regularly uses know for sexual knowledge. "Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived, and bore Cain" (Genesis 4:1). Now the knowledge of husband and wife is the most intimate there can be. Husband and wife are no longer two; they are one flesh. The sexual act itself is not the important thing; the important thing is the intimacy of heart and mind and soul which in true love precede that act. To know God is therefore not merely to have intellectual knowledge of him; it is to have an intimate personal relationship with him, which is like the nearest and dearest relationship in life. Once again, without Jesus such intimacy with God would have been unthinkable and impossible. It is Jesus who taught men that God is not remote and unapproachable, but the Father whose name and nature are love.

To know God is to know what he is like, and to be on the most intimate terms of friendship with him; and neither of these things is possible without Jesus Christ.

THE WORK OF JESUS (John 17:6-8)

17:6-8 "I have shown forth your name to the men whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they realize that everything you gave me comes from you, because I gave to them the words you gave to me, and they received them, and they truly know that I came forth from you, and they believe that you sent me."

Jesus gives us a definition of the work that he did. He says to God: "I have shown forth your name."

There are two great ideas here, both of which would be quite clear to those who heard this saying for the first time.

(i) There is an idea which is an essential and characteristic idea of the Old Testament. In the Old Testament name is used in a very special way. It does not mean simply the name by which a person is called; it means the whole character of the person in so far as it can be known. The Psalmist says: "Those who know thy name put their trust in thee" (Psalms 9:10). Clearly that does not mean that those who know what God is called will trust him; it means that those who know what God is like, those who know his character and nature will be glad to put their trust in him.

The psalmist says: "Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the Lord our God" (Psalms 20:7). This means that he can trust God because he knows what he is like. The Psalmist says: "I will ten of thy name to my brethren" (Psalms 22:22). This was a psalm which the Jews believed to be a prophecy of the Messiah and of the work that he would do; and it means that the Messiah's work would be to declare to his fellow-men what God is like. It is the vision of Isaiah that in the new age, "My people shall know my name" (Isaiah 52:6). That is to say that in the golden days men will know fully and truly what God is like.

So when Jesus says: "I have shown forth your name," he is saying: "I have enabled men to see what the real nature of God is like." It is in fact another way of saying: "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). It is Jesus' supreme claim that in him men see the mind, the character, the heart of God.

(ii) But there is another idea here. In later times when the Jews spoke of the name of God they meant the sacred four-letter symbol, the tetragrammaton as it is called, IHWH. That name was held to be so sacred that it was never pronounced, except by the High Priest when he went into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement.

These four letters stand for the name Yahweh (Hebrew #3068 and Hebrew #3069). We usually speak about Jehovah and the change in the vowels is due to the fact that the vowels of Jehovah are those of Adonai (Hebrew #136), which means "Lord." In the Hebrew alphabet there were no vowels at all. Later the vowel sounds were shown by little signs put above and below the consonants. The four letters Y-H-W-H were so sacred that the vowels of 'Adonai were put below them, so that when the reader came to IHWH he would read, not Yahweh, but 'Adonai. That is to say, in the time of Jesus the name of God was so sacred that ordinary people were not even supposed to know it, far less to speak it. God was the remote, invisible king, whose name was not for ordinary men to speak. So Jesus is saying: "I have told you God's name; that name which is so sacred can be spoken now because of what I have done. I have brought the remote, invisible God so close that even the simplest people can speak to him and take his name upon their lips."

It is Jesus' great claim that he showed to men the true nature and the true character of God; and that he brought him so close that the humblest Christian can take his unutterable name upon his lips.

THE MEANING OF DISCIPLESHIP (John 17:6-8 continued)

This passage also sheds an illuminating light on the meaning of discipleship.

(i) Discipleship is based on the realization that Jesus came forth from God. The disciple is essentially a person who has realized that Jesus is God's ambassador, and that in his words we hear God's voice, and in his deeds we see God's action. The disciple is one who sees God in Jesus and is aware that no one in all the universe is one with God as Jesus is.

(ii) Discipleship issues in obedience. The disciple is one who keeps God's word as he hears it in Jesus. He is one who has accepted the mastery of Jesus. So long as we wish to do what we like, we cannot be disciples; discipleship involves submission.

(iii) Discipleship is something which is destined. Jesus' men were given to him by God. In God's plan they were destined for discipleship. That does not mean that God destined some men to be disciples and some to refuse discipleship. Think of it this way. A parent dreams great dreams for his son; he works out a future for him; but the son can refuse that future and go his own way. A teacher thinks out a great future for a student; he sees that he has it in him to do great work for God and man; but the student can lazily or selfishly refuse the offered task. If we love someone we are always dreaming of his future and planning for greatness; but the dream and the plan can be frustrated. The Pharisees believed in fate, but they also believed in free-will. One of their great sayings was: "Everything is decreed except the fear of God." God has his plan, his dream, his destiny for every man; and our tremendous responsibility is that we can accept or reject it. As someone has said: "Fate is what we are compelled to do; destiny is what we are meant to do."

There is throughout this whole passage, and indeed throughout this whole chapter, a ringing confidence about the future in the voice of Jesus. He was with his men, the men God had given him; he thanked God for them; and he never doubted that they would carry on the work he had given them to do. Let us remember who and what they were. A great commentator said: "Eleven Galilaean peasants after three years' labour! But it is enough for Jesus, for in these eleven he beholds the pledge of the continuance of God's work upon earth." When Jesus left this world; he did not seem to have great grounds for hope. He seemed to have achieved so little and to have won so few, and it was the great and the orthodox and the religious of the day who had turned against him. But Jesus had that confidence which springs from God. He was not afraid of small beginnings. He was not pessimistic about the future. He seemed to say: "I have won only eleven very ordinary men; but give me these eleven ordinary men and I will change the world."

Jesus had two things--belief in God and belief in men. It is one of the most uplifting things in the world to think that Jesus put his trust in men like ourselves. We too must never be daunted by human weakness or by the small beginning. We too must go forward with confident belief in God and in men. Then we will never be pessimists, because with these two beliefs the possibilities of life are infinite.

JESUS' PRAYER FOR HIS DISCIPLES (John 17:9-19)

17:9-19 "It is for them that I pray. It is not for the world that I pray, but for those whom you have given me because they are yours. All that I have is yours, and all that you have is mine. And through them glory has been given to me. I am no longer in the world and they are no longer in the world, and I go to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you gave to me, that they may be one, as we are one. When I was with them I kept them in your name, which you gave to me. I guarded them and none of them went lost, except the one who was destined to be lost--and this happened that the scriptures might be fulfilled. And now I come to you. I am saying these things while I am still in the world that they may have my joy completed in themselves. I gave them your word, and the world hated then, because they are not of the world. I do not ask that you should take them out of the world, but that you should preserve them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Consecrate them by the truth; your word is truth. As you send me into the world, I send them into the world. And for their sakes I consecrate myself, that they too may be consecrated by the truth."

Here is a passage close-packed with truths so great that we can grasp only fragments of them.

First of all, it tells us something about the disciple of Jesus.

(i) The disciple is given to Jesus by God. What does that mean? It means that the Spirit of God moves our hearts to respond to the appeal of Jesus.

(ii) Through the disciple, glory has come to Jesus. The patient whom he has cured brings honour to a doctor; the scholar whom he has taught brings honour to the teacher; the athlete whom he has trained brings honour to his trainer. The men whom Jesus has redeemed bring honour to him. The bad man made good is the honour of Jesus.

(iii) The disciple is the man who is commissioned to a task. As God sent out Jesus, so Jesus sends out his disciples. Here is the explanation of a puzzling thing in this passage. Jesus begins by saying that he does not pray for the world; and yet he came because God so loved the world. But, as we have seen, in John's gospel the world stands for "human society organizing itself without God." What Jesus does for the world is to send out his disciples into it, in order to lead it back to God and to make it aware of God. He prays for his men in order that they may be such as to win the world for him.

Further, this passage tells us that Jesus offered his men two things.

(i) He offered them his joy. All he was saying to them was designed to bring them joy.

(ii) He also offered them warning. He told them that they were different from the world, and that they could not expect anything else but hatred from it. Their values and standards were different from the world's. But there is a joy in battling against the storm and struggling against the tide; it is by facing the hostility of the world that we enter into the Christian joy.

Still further, in this passage Jesus makes the greatest claim he ever made. He prays to God and says: "All that I have is yours, and all that you have is mine." The first part of that sentence is natural and easy to understand, for all things belong to God, and again and again Jesus had said so. But the second part of this sentence is the astonishing claim--"All that you have is mine." Luther said: "This no creature can say with reference to God." Never did Jesus so vividly lay down his oneness with God. He is so one with him that he exercises his very power and prerogatives.

JESUS' PRAYER FOR HIS DISCIPLES (John 17:9-19 continued)

The great interest of this passage is that it tells us of the things for which Jesus prayed for his disciples.

(i) The first essential is to note that Jesus did not pray that his disciples should be taken out of this world. He never prayed that they might find escape; he prayed that they might find victory. The kind of Christianity which buries itself in a monastery or a convent would not have seemed Christianity to Jesus at all. The kind of Christianity which finds its essence in prayer and meditation and in a life withdrawn from the world, would have seemed to him a sadly truncated version of the faith he died to bring. He insisted that it was in the rough and tumble of life that a man must live out his Christianity.

Of course there is need of prayer and meditation and quiet times, when we shut the door upon the world to be alone with God, but all these things are not the end of life, but means to the end; and the end is to demonstrate the Christian life in the ordinary work of the world. Christianity was never meant to withdraw a man from life, but to equip him better for it. It does not offer us release from problems, but a way to solve them. It does not offer us an easy peace, but a triumphant warfare. It does not offer us a life in which troubles are escaped and evaded, but a life in which troubles are faced and conquered. However much it may be true that the Christian is not of the world, it remains true that it is within the world that his Christianity must be lived out. He must never desire to abandon the world, but always desire to win it.

(ii) Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples. Where there are divisions, where there is exclusiveness, where there is competition between the Churches, the cause of Christianity is harmed and the prayer of Jesus frustrated. The gospel cannot truly be preached in any congregation which is not one united band of brothers. The world cannot be evangelized by competing Churches. Jesus prayed that his disciples might be as fully one as he and the Father are one; and there is no prayer of his which has been so hindered from being answered by individual Christians and by the Churches than this.

(iii) Jesus prayed that God would protect his disciples from the attacks of the Evil One. The Bible is not a speculative book; it does not discuss the origin of evil; but it is quite certain that in this world there is a power of evil which is in opposition to the power of God. It is uplifting to feel that God is the sentinel who stands over our lives to guard us from the assaults of evil. The fact that we fall so often is due to the fact that we try to meet life in our own strength and forget to seek the help and to remember the presence of our protecting God.

(iv) Jesus prayed that his disciples might be consecrated by the truth. The word for to consecrate is hagiazein (Greek #37) which comes from the adjective hagios (Greek #40). In the King James Version hagios (Greek #40) is usually translated "holy" but its basic meaning is "different" or "separate." So then hagiazein (Greek #37) has two ideas in it.

(a) It means to set apart for a special task. When God called Jeremiah, he said to him: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:5). Even before his birth God had set Jeremiah apart for a special task. When God was instituting the priesthood in Israel he told Moses to ordain the sons of Aaron and to consecrate them that they might serve in the office of the priests (Exodus 28:41). Aaron's sons were to be set apart for a special office and a special duty.

(b) But hagiazein (Greek #37) means not only to set apart for some special office and task, it also means to equip a man with the qualities of mind and heart and character which are necessary for that task. If a man is to serve God, he must have something of God's goodness and God's wisdom in him. He who would serve the holy God must himself be holy too. And so God does not only choose a man for his special service, and set him apart for it, he also equips a man with the qualities he needs to carry it out.

We must always remember that God has chosen us out and dedicated us for his special service. That special service is that we should love and obey him and should bring others to do the same. And God has not left us to carry out that great task in our own strength, but out of his grace he fits us for our task, if we place our lives in his hands.

A GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE (John 17:20-21)

17:20-21 "It is not only for these that I pray, but also for those who are going to believe in their word of testimony to me. And my prayer is that they may all be one, even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, so that they may be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me."

Gradually in this section Jesus' prayer has been going out to the ends of the earth. First, he prayed for himself as the Cross faced him. Second, he prayed for his disciples, and for God's keeping power for them. Now his prayers take a sweep into the distant future, and he prays for those who in distant lands and far-off ages will also enter the Christian faith.

Here two great characteristics of Jesus are full displayed. First, we see his complete faith and his radiant certainty. At that moment his followers were few, but even with the Cross facing him, his confidence was unshaken, and he was praying for those who would come to believe in his name. This passage should be specially precious to us, for it is Jesus' prayer for us. Second, we see his confidence in his men. He knew that they did not fully understand him; he knew that in a very short time they were going to abandon him in his hour of sorest need. Yet to these very same men h& looked with complete confidence to spread his name throughout the world. Jesus never lost his faith in God or his confidence in men.

What was his prayer for the Church which was to be? It was that all its members would be one as he and his Father are one. What was that unity for which Jesus prayed? It was not a unity of administration or organization; it was not in any sense an ecclesiastical unity. It was a unity of personal relationship. We have already seen that the union between Jesus and God was one of love and obedience. It was a unity of love for which Jesus prayed, a unity in which men loved each other because they loved him, a unity based entirely on the relationship between heart and heart.

Christians will never organize their Churches all in the same way. They will never worship God all in the same way. They will never even all believe precisely the same things. But Christian unity transcends all these differences and joins men together in love. The cause of Christian unity at the present time, and indeed all through history, has been injured and hindered, because men loved their own ecclesiastical organizations, their own creeds, their own ritual, more than they loved each other. If we really loved each other and really loved Christ, no Church would exclude any man who was Christ's disciple. Only love implanted in men's hearts by God can tear down the barriers which they have erected between each other and between their Churches.

Further, as Jesus saw it and prayed for it, it was to be precisely that unity which convinced the world of the truth of Christianity and of the place of Christ. It is more natural for men to be divided than to be united. It is more human for men to fly apart than to come together. Real unity between all Christians would be a "supernatural fact which would require a supernatural explanation." It is the tragic fact that it is just that united front that the Church has never shown to men. Faced by the disunity of Christians, the world cannot see the supreme value of the Christian faith. It is our individual duty to demonstrate that unity of love with our fellow men which is the answer to Christ's prayer. The rank and file of the Churches can do and must do what the leaders of the Church refuse officially to do.

THE GIFT AND THE PROMISE OF GLORY (John 17:22-26)

17:22-26 "And I have given them the glory which you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I am in them, and you are in me, so that their unity with us and with each other may stand consummated and complete. I pray for this that the world may realize that you sent me, and that you loved them as you loved me. Father, it is my will that those whom you have given me should be with me where I am going, that they may see my glory which you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world did not know you, but I knew you, and these realized that you sent me. I have told them what you are like, and I will go on telling them, that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and that I may be in them."

Bengel, an old commentator, exclaimed as he began to comment on this passage: "O how great is the Christians' glory!" And indeed it is.

First, Jesus said that he had given his disciples the glory which his Father had given him. We must fully understand what that means. What was the glory of Jesus? There were three ways in which he talked of it.

(a) The Cross was his glory. Jesus did not speak of being crucified; he spoke of being glorified. Therefore, first and foremost, a Christian's glory is the cross that he must bear. It is an honour to suffer for Jesus Christ. We must never think of our cross as our penalty; we must think of it as our glory. The harder the task a knight was given, the greater he considered its glory. The harder the task we give a student, or a craftsman, or a surgeon, the more we honour him. In effect, we say that we believe that nobody but he could attempt that task at all. So when it is hard to be a Christian, we must regard it as our glory given to us by God.

(b) Jesus' perfect obedience to the will of God was his glory. We find our glory, not in doing as we like, but in doing as God wills. When we try to do as we like--as many of us have done--we find nothing but sorrow and disaster both for ourselves and for others. We find the real glory of life in doing Gods will; the greater the obedience, the greater the glory.

(c) Jesus' glory lay in the fact that, from his life, men recognized his special relationship with God. They saw that no one could live as he did unless he was uniquely near to God. As with Christ, it is our glory when men see in us the reflection of God.

Second, Jesus said that it was his will that his disciples should see his glory in the heavenly places. It is the Christian's conviction that he will share all the experiences of Christ. If he has to share Christ's Cross, he will also share his glory. "The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we shall also reign with him" (2 Timothy 2:11-12). Here in this world at best we see dimly in a mirror, but then we shall see face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12). The joy we have now is only a faint foretaste of the joy which is to come. It is Christ's promise that if we share his glory and his sufferings on earth, we shall share his glory and his triumph when life on this earth is ended. What greater promise could there be than that?

From this prayer Jesus was to go straight out to the betrayal, the trial and the Cross. He was not to speak to his disciples again. It is a wonderful and a precious thing to remember that before these terrible hours his last words were not of despair but of glory.

-Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT)

 


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Bibliography Information
Barclay, William. "Commentary on John 17:4". "William Barclay's Daily Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dsb/john-17.html. 1956-1959.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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