John 17:20-26 – “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Glory is a term that we don’t come across much in our culture. So to understand Jesus’ prayer in John 17, think of glory in terms of weightiness and majesty. Regarding weightiness, there are people and things in our life that matter most to us—meaning they outweigh other people and things. For the Christian, an example would be that the Bible outweighs all other books and that the relationship with your spouse outweighs all other human relationships.
Regarding majesty, something in us as created beings feels a sense of worshipful awe when we are in the presence of something far bigger and stronger than we are. For example, where we live in the desert of Arizona, when monsoon seasons arrive, massive clouds roll in, rain pours from the sky, and lightning lights up the night. The power and strength of a monsoon cause people to stop what they are doing and stand in awe at its power. Similarly, a few-hour drive north of us is the Grand Canyon. People from around the world travel to see what is basically a very large hole in the ground. Why? When you stand or sit on the edge, you feel incredibly small and insignificant—something surprisingly satisfying to the soul made for the glory of God’s presence.
Jesus prayed that we would see Him in glory. When all is said and done and we are together forever, His prayer will be answered forever and ever. In the meantime, we live for God’s glory until we see the God of glory. Jesus’ prayer reminds us of four great truths about glory:
- Our God is glorious. More powerful, wonderful, joyful, helpful, and incredible is our God than anyone or anything, or everyone and everything!
- Our message is glorious. To have the great honor of telling people about the glorious love and grace of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, is an incredible honor. In a world filled with gory bad news, we get to tell people the good news of Jesus’ glory!
- Our mission is glorious. No matter where we go or what we do, the underlying mission is always the same for the Christian—to bring glory to God because God is glorious and alone worthy of glory. The Christian who eats their meal, washes their dishes, changes their baby, works their job, suffers their grief, forgives their enemy, and evangelizes their neighbor does it all to God’s glory, which is the source of our joy!
- Our future is glorious. One day there will be no more politicians or elections, tears or fears, or fights or funerals. One day, everyone and everything that belongs to Jesus will be together in glory, forever healed, unified, and glorified with Jesus forever.
What does glory have to do with your relationship with Jesus and the way you live your life?