“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee” (John 17:1).
These words, spoken by the Lord just prior to His crucifixion and most likely in the Upper Room, seem almost to beckon us, the readers, to look “to heaven” with Christ.
Consider the twice-iterated phrase, “thy Son.” All true believers are children of God, by adoption, but Jesus was and is God’s Son in a very special sense. The first chapter of John describes Him as “the only begotten of the Father” (v.14). Jesus, the unique Son of God, was with the Father in the very beginning (v.2), even “before the world was” (John 17:5).
The twenty-six verses of John 17 are sometimes divided into three sections—the first being referred to as Jesus’ prayer for Himself (vs.1–5), but this is insufficient. He asked the Father to “glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.” Jesus, in this first section, sought glory for the Father, too! In fact, this seems to be His primary goal.
“Man’s chief end,” according to The Westminster Shorter Catechism, “is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” The example of Jesus certainly serves as a pattern; we also should have as our primary goal to glorify the Father, but sadly we have failed personally, and in Adam. The cross loomed large for Jesus.
Praise God, His prayer was answered! He was able to rescue men from sin and eternal death on that cross; He was able to sustain the indignity of men there. The Father did glorify the Son, and part of this involved His raising His Son bodily from the grave. The Father also gave “Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9–11). May we so “bow” and so “confess.” PGH