Summary: The Trinty is marked by giving glory away to each other. We are invited into this "glory-giving" relationship through Jesus
John 17:1-5 March 21, 2004
The Glory of Jesus
As we head toward Good Friday and Easter, I have been drawn to Jesus’ prayer in John 17. Jesus has entered Jerusalem triumphantly on Palm Sunday, he has been teaching in the temple and on the streets. What he has been saying and doing has offended the rulers and the people more and more. Jesus and the disciples observe the Passover together in an upper room of a house, quietly away from everyone, Jesus teaches them as they eat together, first in action by washing their feet and calling them to do the same for each other, then through words as he explains what is going to happen and how the Holy Spirit will come, then he teaches them through prayer. He prays for himself, then his disciples, and then all of us who will follow him.
The prayer is a model for us – it was prayed with the disciples listening in, and it teaches us about Jesus and ourselves.
Read or show it.
The reciprocal relationship between the Father and the Son (2a)
2"Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
In this verse there is this beautiful picture of an ever increasing spiral of glory given and received by Jesus and the Father. God the Father gives Jesus glory who then gives it back to the Father, who then gives it to Jesus.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
And the Spirit is there too. Jesus says: “13But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
16"In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me."
- John 16
You cannot speak of the glory of God without understanding the amazing union that there is in the Trinity, with none of the people grasping at glory, but forever giving it to the other.
This picture of this spiral of glory is how we are to interact with God and with each other.
Jesus will pray at the end of the prayer: 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
The unity that we have with each other is supposed to mirror the unity that we see in the God head – not the type of relationship that is marked by competition and jealousy, but one that is marked by honoring the other more that we honour ourselves. We must not grasp at the glory that comes our way, but give it away to each other, but especially give it away to God.
The glory that we see in Christ is so connected to the love that is between the Father and the Son, that unless there is love between us, we will not see the glory.
The glory in God is all about the relationship and unity in the Godhead. A Bible scholar once told me that to glorify means to reflect – when we glorify God, we reflect his character. Children have this mantra in the playground: “look at me, look at me!” As we get older we just find more subtle ways to express that mantra.
A mirror cannot join in the mantra, it can only say “look at Him, look at Him!” This is to be the mantra of the Christian, “Look at Him!” We are to reflect God, and in our relationships with each other, we must not grasp at the glory, but give it away, lifting each other up, not knocking one another down.
1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us