John 17 One’ More Thing

Standard
Questions: What is Jesus thinking about during his last hour with the disciples? Why does he pray? For what is he praying? Is “glory” really worth it? Is it enough to make us “one” — Is “love” —
Click “Read More” to pursue answers in the Gospel of John.

Lord, make me a Fountain of your Love.
Draw me into your holy Presence, that I might know you as my Father
And manifest the image of Christ in this world, and the world to come. Amen.

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:

I still remember the first time someone explained to me what “glory” meant. It was during a Bible Study (IVCF or Park Street, I’m not sure which) in the Christian Fellowship room upstairs at the MIT Student Center. I think we actually needed to look it up, since none of us knew exactly what it meant. The definition was something like “extol the best attributes of”, or “manifest something’s character in the best possible way.”
While still rather vague, I have found that definition invaluable as I wrestle with passages like this one. Which is important, as it seems that the demonstration of God’s glory is the (a?) rationale behind our salvation:

As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Though even that is only a small part of Jesus’ mission of glorification:

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

In fact, even the completion of Jesus’ part is just a prelude God’s greater work (and Jesus greater glory).

And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

Pretty mind-boggling. Glory — like shame — is one of those concepts that we moderns either ignore or consider annoying relics of a bygone era (as if “self-interest” is somehow a more honorable motivation than “the pursuit of glory” :-P). Yet Jesus strongly implies that this undergirded his whole relationship with the disciples:

I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received [them], and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

It is quite a heavy burden for them to carry both that manifestation and those words, which may be why he prays for them:

I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we [are]. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

There’s enough material in those few sentences to fill a hundred sermons! The thing that strikes me most, though, is how Jesus considers them “his.” And that somehow this enables them to be filled with joy:

And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

in a world filled with hate:

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

armed only with truth:

Sanctify them through thy truth : thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

And not just “them”, but “us”:

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

It is painfully evident that our failure to be “one” — and act like we are loved — is the biggest excuse given for rejecting Christianity. Conversely, if and when we do start manifesting that love, we have a tremendous opportunity to help the world know the reality of the Good News.
The secret, it seems, is simply to be with — and behold — Jesus:

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

And thus tap into the never-ending love of God:

O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare [it]: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Amen!
Prayer
God, I still can’t quite fathom why you’d entrust your glory to fallible men like us. Lord, show us your glory. Open our eyes to see you, and open our hearts to receive you. Make us one in you, as we cling to your word, that the world may know the depths of your live — in us. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.
About the Title:
Today’s title alludes to the famous Stevenote line.
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