"After Jesus had said this, He looked toward heaven and prayed: 'Father, the hour has come. Glorify your son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those you have given Him.
"'Now this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.'" John 17:1-3 NIV.
Jesus prayed...Now this is prayer!
He prayed many times during His earthly life. Few of His prayers were recorded for us. Some were brief, sentence prayers...sometimes He prayed all night...but this is the only time we have a glimpse into the words of His communion with the Father. This was not the agonising, blood-sweating Gethsemane prayer.
This was quiet fellowship with His Abba, pouring out His heartfelt desires before the whirlwind events that were soon to overtake Him. There would be no opportunity then to share His heart with Daddy in the silence of the night. In the presence of the men He loved most in the world, He mouthed His hopes and dreams for them and for those who would follow them in faith and obedience.
What emotions were packed into those words, 'Father, the hour has come'? The "hour" of His suffering had hung over Him from the moment of His birth. It was His reason for coming. It was the pinnacle of His revelation of the Father's love to a world that would rather not know. It was the final nail in the coffin of His arch enemy and the enemy of all humanity. Did He shiver with anticipation and dread?
The writer to the Hebrews caught the spirit of this moment: "For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2b NIV.
As always, Jesus looked beyond the immediate events to the triumph of God's final purpose for mankind. "Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you." We read these words easily enough without understanding the depth of Jesus' request.
"In the intense pain and suffering I am about to endure; the physical agony of flogging and crucifixion; the emotional pain of rejection, humiliation and betrayal; the searing heat of the devil's rage against me and the utter abandonment I must face when you, Father, also turn your face away from me, give me the strength to be a perfect reflection of you, your love, mercy and grace, so that the whole world will see you mirrored in me."
God the Father gave Him, Jesus -- this God-man who came from heaven to live the ordinary life of an ordinary human being in a hostile world that hated and rejected Him, and a spiritual realm that fired its entire arsenal of weapons at Him -- the authority to give life to all those who believed in Him. Sin had killed them; spiritual death had claimed them and would destroy them forever without His intervention. But they would never rise to new life unless He first died in their place to take the rap for their sin; and His death would accomplish nothing unless He did not deserve it.
"Father glorify your Son...” just four simple words, but a world of desire in them. Once again, Jesus exemplified the heart of a true son. This was not about Him. It was ultimately about the Father...; "that the Son may glorify you." All He wanted, in this whole cross event, was that the wonder of His Father's true nature would be revealed to the world.
In one short sentence Jesus forever defined the nature of eternal life -- knowing the Father and the Son, because they are one. To know the Son is to know the Father; notice -- not know about, but know, implying intimate, personal knowledge and understanding as a husband "knows" his wife. "Adam lay with (knew - yada) his wife and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain." Genesis 4:1 NIV.
That takes time, fellowship, and obedience!
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