Summary: Jesus asked for His glory to be restored so He could fully exercise His authority. The “glory of God” is the radiance of His splendor. It’s an attribute of His attributes. When Jesus took a sacrificial interest in us, this was the outworking of glory.
“The Outworking of Glory” Pastor Bob Leroe, Cliftondale Congregational Church, Saugus, Massachusetts
“For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is the way to have eternal life: to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent.” (verses 2-3)
After a church service, as the minister was greeting worshippers, one said to him, “Pastor, I appreciated both of your sermons this morning--the one you preached, and the one you prayed.” We benefit from prayers that have substance, like the one before us.
Jesus asked for His glory to be restored so He could fully exercise His authority. The “glory of God” is the radiance of His splendor. It’s an attribute of His attributes. When Jesus took a sacrificial interest in us, this was the outworking of glory.
The word “give” is significant in this prayer; it’s used 17 times. The Father has given the Son authority; the Father gives people to the Son; and the Son gives these people eternal life. Authority, however, is often a matter of perception and concurrence...
When Christian Herter was governor of Massachusetts in the 1930s, he was running hard for a second term in office. One day, after a busy morning of campaigning (and no lunch), he arrived at a church cookout. It was late afternoon and Herter was famished. As he moved down the serving line, he held out his plate to the woman serving chicken. She put a piece on his plate and turned to the next person in line.
"Excuse me," the Governor said, "do you mind if I have another piece of chicken?"
"Sorry," the woman told him. "I’m supposed to give only one piece of chicken to each person."
"But I’m famished," the governor said. (maybe he said “I’m stahvin’!”)
"Sorry," the woman said again. "Only one to a customer."
At that point, the governor decided to throw some weight around…
"Do you know who I am?" he said. "I am the governor of Massachusetts."
"Do you know who I am?" the woman said. "I’m the lady in charge of the chicken. Move along, mister."
Can a policeman give drivers tickets for speeding? Can a school principal suspend students for missing classes? Can a military commander punish soldiers for being AWOL? They can, because they’ve been given authority. And God has authority over us, whether we accept it or not.
What right does Jesus have to be the Messiah? The Gospels reveal His divine authority. By the way, some translations substitute the word “power” for “authority”. Jesus possesses power rightfully held...
> In Matthew 7:29 we’re told that Jesus “taught as One Who had authority.” The OT prophets began their remarks with, “Thus saith the Lord”, but Jesus said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you.” He spoke from His own authority.
> In Matthew 9:6 Jesus claimed the authority to “forgive sins”. The religious leaders considered this blasphemous, and it would be, except that Jesus was authorized to forgive.
> In Matthew 28 Jesus directed His followers to “Go into all the world” (the “Great Commission”). They might have responded, “Who gives you the right to tell us what to do and where to go?” But Jesus prefaced His decree by saying, “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” His words carry weight.
> And throughout the Gospels we find numerous references to Jesus’ fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, the foundation of His authority.
Skeptics may reject divine authority, but that doesn’t change a thing--they might as well deny the law of gravity. They’re still responsible/accountable to God. When people rebel against God they’re practicing self-idolatry, by trusting in self. Because of His authority, Jesus will exercise judgment over all who refuse His salvation. We need not fear what others may do, because Jesus has authority over all people.
The Good News is that we’re authorized salvation. Back in chapter one of John’s Gospel we’re told that, “to all who receive Jesus, to those who believe in His Name, He gives the right to become children of God” (vs 12). Jesus exercised authority even as He hung, seemingly helpless, on the cross. His sacrificial death authorizes our forgiveness. We come to Jesus by faith, which itself is a gift. Until God intervenes, we’re in a state of moral inability and spiritual death. In John 6 Jesus states, “No one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled him” (vss 44 & 65). The Holy Spirit opens our eyes and raises us from eternal death to eternal life.
What is eternal life? Verse 3: “that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent.” In his book Knowing God, J.I. Packer suggests that ignorance of God stems from secular worldviews, skepticism, and spiritual blindness. He then asks: “What were we made for? To know God. What is the most important thing in life to aim for? Knowing God. What is the “eternal life” that Jesus gives? Knowledge of God.” This “knowing” is quite specific; it is not knowledge about some vague, non-specific “Supreme Being” or “Higher Power”. It’s more than mentally accepting the idea of God. The Greek word translated “know” means “to know with experience, an ever-growing knowledge.” This knowledge is not some stirring feeling or vision. It involves understanding the purpose of life. Simply saying, “Jesus died” is talking about history. Saying “Jesus died for me” is salvation! Knowing God means having a connection, a relationship with the Ruler of the universe, Who is revealed in His Son. God-the-Son is the Way to God-the-Father. The eternal life Jesus speaks of refers to Heaven, where we will see God. Hell is truth seen too late.