"Our Savior's Triumphant Prayer"
(Delivered Palm Sunday, April 13, 2003 at Bethany Bible Church. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotes are taken from the New King James Version.)
One of my sons is a regular visitor to a very interesting website. It's a site that features, among other things, photos of space sent to earth from the Hubble telescope.
Astronomers once thought that they had a good grasp of what space looked like - but that was because they had been viewing space from the standpoint of the earth's surface. All of that changed when, a few decades ago, they were given a new view of space from the perspective of this marvelous orbiting telescope - a perspective that is much greater than anything researchers ever could have had below the cloudy atmosphere of earth. And now, thanks to the Hubble, a whole publication industry has been born of table-top books that bear witness to the indescribable beauty of deep space. Thanks to the view from the Hubble telescope, scientists now realize how little they really knew about space!
This telescope provides humankind with a view of things that it could not otherwise have; because it is positioned in such a way as to have a perspective above our own, and can thus bear witness to us of something far beyond our field of vision. And I would like to suggest to you that this morning's passage serves us in much the same way. It is a marvelous passage, because it's the prayer of the Lord Jesus to His heavenly Father on the night before He went to the cross for us. In this passage, deity speaks to deity within the earshot of humanity. And in thus praying before us, Jesus - One who possesses a perspective far above our own - bears witness of spiritual truths about His sacrifice on our behalf that we never could have otherwise known.
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I have felt strongly led to this passage this week, because it tells us about something that occurred in the context of the first Palm Sunday. Jesus prayed this prayer shortly after He made His triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem. Many who stood along the road and cheered Him on no doubt thought that they understood the significance of that event. They expected Jesus to come into Jerusalem as a conquering Messiah - the long awaited Christ who would victoriously release His people from their bondage to the Romans, and gloriously establish an earthly kingdom right then and there.
But they were wrong in this expectation. He came to Jerusalem not to conquer Romans, but to die for sinners. And just a few days after His entry into the city, many of these same people were spitting scorn at Him; and crying out, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" He had disappointed them. Viewed from the perspective of their erroneous expectations, Jesus' entry into Jerusalem led to nothing but failure and shame.
And that's why this passage is so important. Jesus prayed this prayer after His last supper with the disciples. It was prayed between the events of the first Palm Sunday and the first Good Friday. And as we listen in to His prayer, we discover that His entry into Jerusalem - and His crucifixion that followed - is something that was much more wonderful and much more vast than we ever could have otherwise imagined.
This prayer occurs in the context of Jesus' long, final discourse with His disciples, as it's recorded for us in the thirteenth through the sixteenth chapters of John's gospel. John devotes more time in his gospel account to this final "dinner" discussion than to any other event in the life of Jesus. And as would be in keeping with a dinner setting, there's great spiritual nourishment for us in these chapters. Jesus had finished His meal and His discourse with them, and they had arisen from dinner and were making their way to the Garden of Gesthemany. And it's then that we read these words:
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You. As You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
There are so many things about this prayer that we could talk about that it's hard to know where to begin. The famous preacher D. Martin Lloyd-Jones preached a series of forty-eight sermons from this prayer alone. The classic commentary on this prayer by the British Pastor Marcus Rainsford takes up forty-one chapters. There's no way we could touch on everything that's in this prayer in just one Sunday's message.
But I'd like for us to look at this prayer this morning from two broad viewpoints. First, I'd like us to consider some of the things Jesus affirms in this prayer; and then I'd like us to consider some of the things He asks for in it. And throughout it all, my hope is that we will be taken up in the wonder of what it all says to us about the true significance of Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday.
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First, let's consider the things Jesus affirms. We can see that Jesus affirms that the events that led to His entry into Jerusalem were of the greatest possible significance and importance. You can see this by the fact that Jesus - the Son of God - begins by saying, "Father, the hour has come" (v. 1).
If you have ever read through John's gospel, you'll recognize that the phrase, "The hour has come", has a familiar ring to it. Way back in the second chapter, Jesus and His mother - along with a few of His disciples - had been invited to a wedding. The wedding party had run out of wine; and Jesus' mother tried to get Him to do something about it. "They have no wine," Mary said to Him. She, of course, knew who He truly was; and perhaps she was trying to get Him to reveal Himself publically as the Messiah before the proper time. Jesus' birth from her was, after all, why she is to be considered "highly favored" and "blessed among women". She was an understandably proud mother. But Jesus said to her (very respectfully and tenderly, we can be sure), "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come" (2:4). Can you see? There was an "hour" coming; but at that point, it had not yet come.
On another occasion, His half-brothers were pressuring Him to make Himself known publically during the Jewish feast of Tabernacles. "Depart from here and go into Judea," they said, "that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show yourself to the world" (7:3-4). The Bible says that they said this because, at that time, they didn't believe in Him. Jesus told them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come" (vv. 6-8). Even in the midst of His public ministry, the "hour" still had not come.
He did, however, eventually go to the feast - incognito, as it were. Everyone was talking about Him; and when He eventually revealed Himself, some sought to take Him. "But," the Bible tells us, "no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come." (v. 30). On another occasion, He was in debate with the Pharisees in the temple. As the Bible says, "These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come" (8:20).
People, it seems, were always trying to either get Jesus to do something to gain honor from the people quickly, or to lay hands upon Him before the right time. Nevertheless, the "hour" - the appointed time - had not yet come. But we find that it was during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, on that first Palm Sunday, that Jesus finally said, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified" (12:23). He said, "Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? OFather, save Me from this hour?' But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name." And then, a voice from heaven came, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again" (12:27-28).
The hour had at last come - the hour of His sacrifice for us on the cross; the hour of the glorification of the name of the Father. And that's why, in this marvelous prayer - just before going to the cross - Jesus began by saying, "Father, the hour has come ..."
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Another thing that Jesus affirms in His prayer is that this great sacrifice He was about to make was intended to bring about eternal life for His people. Jesus prayed, "Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him." And He then goes on to affirm what eternal life is: "And this is eternal life, that they may know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (vv. 1-3).
Look how Jesus describes "eternal life". Many of us would have defined "eternal life" as "existing forever". But duration alone isn't sufficient to define "eternal life". After all - dreadful as it is to say - unending "duration" is also a feature of eternal judgment in the Lake of Fire: "And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever" (Rev. 20:10). Jesus reveals to us here that "eternal life" is much more than just a matter of "duration". It's a matter of "relation"; because eternal life is to know God the Father and Jesus His Son.
The distinguishing feature of eternal life, then, is that it is an unending relationship and fellowship with the Father and with His Son. If you have entered into a relationship with God through faith in His Son, then you are living "eternal life" right now. "Eternal life" in heaven won't involve living a different "life" than you're living now. It will be the same life - only at that time, you will be fully glorified in Christ. The apostle John says elsewhere, "... This is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:11-12). In Christ, we have eternal life right now, as a present possession.
Jesus says that this eternal life is a life that is given to those who have been given to Jesus by the Father. That's why Jesus is going to the cross - so that those whom the Father had given Him may have eternal life. People have, over the centuries, given a variety of different meanings to the death of Jesus on the cross. Some have said that He died only to give us an example of sacrificial devotion. Others have said that He died only so that our hearts might be broken by a vivid demonstration of God's love for us. Still others have said that His death was nothing more than a tragic accident that has no significance at all except as a matter of history. But here, Jesus Himself declares the the tremendous significance of His death. It was to give eternal life to those the Father had given Him. It was to make it possible for those whom God had chosen for Himself to enter into a relationship with Himself and His Son forever! Jesus wanted us to know this; and we would not have known it unless He had affirmed it before us in His prayer.
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Another affirmation that stands out in this prayer is that Jesus' entry into Jerusalem to die on the cross marked the completion of a work that the Father had given Him. This prayer indicates that Jesus' work is done. He says, "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do" (v. 4). During the dinner, Jesus had released Judas to go out and betray Him - setting into motion the events that would lead to His cross. And as soon as Judas left, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately" (John 13:31-32). All that was left was for Jesus to go to the Garden and await His betrayer. And if we were to read on in John's gospel, we would eventually find Jesus speaking these dying words on the cross; "It is finished!" (19:30).
When I read Jesus' affirmation that He had completed His work, I think of the opening words of the letter to the Hebrews. The writer of Hebrews begins by describing Jesus to his Jewish readers:
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being in the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high ... (Heb. 1:-3).
Do you see? After He had "purged our sins", He "sat down". A priest, in the Old Testament, isn't presented to us as "sitting down"; because the priest's work of atoning for sins was always going on. Later in his letter, the writer of Hebrews says that a priest "stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices which can never take away sins." And then, speaking of Jesus, he adds, "But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God ..." (Heb. 10:11-12).
Jesus had completed the work that Someone else had given Him to do. Jesus was not a philosopher or religious innovator who roamed around the world, spreading His own teaching and advancing His own ideas of spirituality. He came to this earth as a Son who was obedient to His Father's will. He spoke what He was commanded by the Father to speak; and He did what the Father commanded Him to do. He said, "... I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things" (8:28). He said, "... I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me" (5:30). He said,
I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day (6:38-40).
Whatever Jesus said or did, He said or did because it was the Father's will. And as you read through His prayer, you see plainly that Jesus affirms that He had completed the work that He was given to do. He speaks, for example, of His ministry of enlightening His disciples as completed. He says, "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me" (vv. 6-8). He declares, "I have manifested ... Now they have known ... and they have received ... and they have believed ..." Jesus had finished the work that was given to Him. "I have given them Your word", He says (v. 14).
He also speaks of the completion of His task of keeping them while He was in the world. He says, "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled" (v. 12). The "son of perdition" is, of course, Judas. Jesus had said early on to His disciples, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" (6:69). And Judas' betrayal of the Savior was, indeed, according to the Scriptures; for as it says in Psalm 41:9; "Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me". None of the others who had been given to Him were lost, though; only Judas, who belonged to the devil.
Jesus had faithfully kept all those who had been given Him by the Father. He will never lose any of those who have been given to Him; but will save them fully. "My sheep hear My voice," He once said, "and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all: and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand" (John 10:27-29).
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All of this reminds me of one other additional affirmation that Jesus makes in His prayer; and that is that this great plan of salvation He has brought about is, ultimately, the gracious and loving plan of the Father.
Many people think of Jesus as our loving Savior, but as His Father as a wrathful God who is nothing but angry toward us. They conceive of it all in their minds as if Jesus where standing between us and His Father, trying desperately to appease His Father's anger and seeking to persuade His Father not to pour out His wrath upon us and destroy us. But as Jesus' wonderful prayer shows us, nothing could be further from the truth. This whole plan of our salvation, from start to finish, is a work of the Father above all else - a work that has been executed and brought to pass by the Son in full accordance with the Father's desire and plan.
Look carefully at the things Jesus says. He said, "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him" (v. 2). Throughout this prayer, you see, Jesus refers to the disciples as those that His Father had given Him (vv. 6, 9, 10, 11, 12). It was the Father who held primary ownership over them; and it was His will to give them to His Son. This great plan of giving them eternal life is the Father's idea. Jesus said to the Father that "eternal life" is "to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (v. 3). He said that His disciples "have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me" (v. 8; see also vv. 21, 23, 25). He called them "those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours" (v. 9).
Do you still doubt that the Father Himself loves us? Then look at what Jesus said near the end of this prayer:
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me (vv. 22-23).
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, one of the great things that Jesus affirms to us in the words of this prayer is that His own Father loves us very, very deeply. In fact, the extent to which He loves those He has given to the Son is the same as His own love for the Son!! Let that sink in!! The Father loves us as much as He loves His Son Jesus!! We would not have dared to believe it, if it weren't for the fact that Jesus Himself affirms it in this prayer!! Put away forever, then, any idea that the Son is concerned with stopping the Father from pouring out His wrath on us. Far from it; we see here that the Father loves us as much as He loves His own precious Son Jesus; and that this great plan of our salvation is an act of His own gracious and loving will for us. "... For the Father Himself loves you", Jesus said (John 16:27).
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So, these are just some of the wonderful things that Jesus affirms in His prayer: (1) that the moment marked by the first Palm Sunday is a moment of great importance - that it is the long awaited "hour" in which the Son is finally glorified; (2) that the long awaited "hour" is intended to bring about "eternal life" for those whom the Father had given Him; (3) that this work that is intended to bring about our eternal life is one that the Son has brought to full completion; and (4) that it is all the master-plan of the Father who loves us as much as He loves His wonderful Son! All these things were in Jesus mind - in fact you, dear brother or sister in Christ, were in His mind - as He rode into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. You would not have known these wonderful things, if you hadn't been given a view of them through the words of Jesus' prayer to His Father.
And so, now let's consider the things Jesus asks the Father in this prayer. It's because of the things Jesus affirmed to true, that we can be sure that the things He now asks will be granted. First, we note that He makes a request concerning Himself. He asks that He now be glorified again with the glory He once shared with the Father. He prays;
Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You. ... I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was (vv. 1-5).
The Bible tells us that the Son of God, the third Person of the Triune Godhead, dwelt in heavenly glory in eternity past. He eternally shared in the full glory of the Godhead with the Father. Paul says, "He [speaking here of the Son in His pre-incarnate glory] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist" (Col. 1:15-17).
But even though He shared glory with the Father throughout eternity past, the Bible also tells us that the Son willingly laid His glory aside in order to come to this earth. The Son of God left His heavenly glory to be conceived in the womb of Mary, and to be born into the human family as our Sin-bearer and Savior. In doing this, the Son never ceased being fully God; but He, "being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:6-8). That was how much He sought us - to stoop down so far as to become one of us. And here we see depths to which He would go in condescension for us - even to "the death of the cross"!
But at the time He prayed this prayer, He was soon to be restored to the glory He shared with the Father. Paul writes, "Therefore God also has highly exulted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11).
So then, Jesus left His glory to be our Savior. And having saved us, His Father is about to restore Him to that glory. And this is what He asks concerning Himself. He is restored to that glory today. But do you realize that He has been restored to that glory in a state that is much different from the state He was in when He had first laid it aside? When He came to this earth, He never stopped being full deity; but in coming into this world, He also assumed full humanity to Himself. In Him, full humanity has been joined forever to full deity; and so now, that Person who sits at the right hand of God - as God - is also a glorified Man!! He possesses two natures - human and divine - unmixed and unmingled, but together in one wonderful Person! And think of it!! ... A Man now sits on the throne of God!! So many false religions teach that a man can somehow "evolve" into godhood. But Jesus, in His prayer, reveals the truth to us - that the eternal God became a Man, without ever ceasing to be God; and now sits forever upon the throne of God, without ever ceasing to be a Man!!
And there's more! Do you realize that Jesus is now so united to us - not only in His humanity, but also in our spiritual union with Him through faith - that He will now not be glorified without us? Imagine that! We know that He already possessed glory before we existed; because He speaks to the Father of "the glory which I had with You before the world was" (v. 5). But now, He said, "I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them" (vv. 9-10). He says, "... The glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one ..." (v. 22). He has now shared His glory with us; and He will see to it that we share that glory with Him forever! I believe that's why He said, "... These things I speak in the world that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves" (v. 13). What a Savior!! What a prospect He has given us!! He doesn't just save us part of the way - He saves us all the way ... and then some!! He saves us all the way up to His own glory!!
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Jesus prays for Himself in verses 1-5. And then, notice that He prays for His disciples in verses 6-19. He prays two things for them in this prayer.
First, He prays that His disciples will be "kept" while still in a hostile environment. He would not save us for such glory; and then allow us to be lost to Himself through our own sinful failures or through the malice of the devil. Jesus said, "Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom you have given Me, that they may be one as we are" (v. 11). He prayed, "I have given them your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one" (vv. 14-15).
Jesus mentions two things that threaten us while He is in glory and we are still upon this earth. The first is the "evil one", that is, the devil. The Bible tells us that he "walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet. 5:8). But Jesus doesn't respond to this by asking that we be taken out of the world. Instead, He says, "I have given them Your word ..." Jesus Himself demonstrated that we are to resist the devil through using the resource of the word of God (Matthew 4:1-11). This is why it's so important that each one of us, as believers, be in the word daily! He gave it for us, and insured its preservation for us, so that we might be "kept". Do you read and study your Bible every day? Do you let it guide your life?
A second thing that threatens us while in this world is our own disunity. Jesus has shared His glory with us that we may be one just as He and His Father are one (v. 22); but when we are at odds with one another - seeking our own glory over one another - we are acting in contradiction to His great purpose for us. Jesus prays for us that we would be kept in His Father's "name" - that is, that we would be kept by the power and authority of His Father. If the church of Jesus Christ had to stay together on the basis of individual Christians' own ability to get along, the church would have ceased to exist long ago. But the power and authority of the Father Himself keeps all of His chosen ones in unity with one another; so that we will, in glory, "be made perfect in one" (v. 23).
Another thing Jesus prays for His disciples while they re in this world is that they would be "sanctified" - that is, "set apart". Jesus said, "They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth" (vv. 16-19).
Jesus came into this world as One who was clearly not of this world. He lived in a way that was distinct from that of this world. He obeyed the will of the Father; in contrast to the world, which is in rebellion against His Father. He lived a righteous life in this world; so that His righteousness could be imparted to those who belong to Him while still living in this world. And now that He is in glory, we are to live the distinct kind of life in this world that He lived. I think here of what Peter said in 1 Peter 3:15; "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear ..." We're to set Christ apart as Lord in our hearts; and then be ready, because the people of this world will want to know why we live such a distinct life. That's what Jesus prays will happen.
And notice again that He points to the word. He says, "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth". What a wonderful affirmation that is about the nature and character of the Bible! We could have a sermon on just that verse alone! We don't need to search around for "truth"; because God's word is truth. It was given to us by God for our sanctification; and Jesus prayed that we would be sanctified by it. Again, how important it is that we feed from the word of God daily!! If Jesus would pray such a thing, then how foolish we would be to neglect God's word!!
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Jesus has prayed for Himself in verses 1-5, then for His disciples in verses 6-19. And now, He prays for us in verses 20-26. Did you know that you are mentioned in the Bible, dear brother or sister? Well, here you are. Jesus says, "I do not pray for these alone [that is, His disciples], but also for those who will believe in Me through their word ... (v. 20). That's you and me. He was thinking of us in this prayer.
What specifically does He pray for us? Two very glorious things. First, He prays that we will fully realize the unity we are destined to forever share together with Him and with His Father. He prays "... that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me" (v. 21).
I say this with all the reverence and humility that I can; but I dare to say - because Jesus Himself prays with great anticipation for it - that we are destined to be joined together with Him in the unity of fellowship with the Triune God!! Now I believe we should be careful in how we say this. Jesus says that we are destined to be one "in" the Father and the Son; not one "with" the Father and the Son. But to be one "in" the Father and Son is as if to say that the Father and the Son - who enjoy glorious unity and fellowship in union with one another - now extend the hand of invitation to us, who are in Christ and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, to enter into eternal fellowship with them and enjoy our unity together in them!! What an unspeakable love this is that's being shown us!!
And second, He prays that, in this glorious eternal fellowship, we will be granted the privilege of forever beholding the glory of Jesus. He said, "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world" (v. 24).
To me, this is the most precious of all the things Jesus prays! Look how much He loves us!! Look at how personal He longs to be toward us!! He "desires" us!! We are the great longing of His heart! He wants us to be with Him where He is - in heavenly glory! And He wants us to behold the glory the Father gave Him - because He has graciously shared the Father's love with us (v. 26), and His own glory with us (v. 22).
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What a prayer this is! Look through it again and again. There are no words of condemnation here for us. He does not pour out His heart to the Father in frustration over us. He does not pray down words of condemnation upon us. All He does is express His deep love for the Father and His deep longing for us. He opens up His mind and His heart to us, and reveals to us His own great longing for the destiny He has prepared for us! These things were on His mind as He rode into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. They were what moved Him to submit Himself to the cruel death of the cross on our behalf. They constitute "the joy that was set before Him" that moved Him to endure "the cross, despising the shame" (Heb. 12:2).
We can easily think we understand God's love for us ... until, that is, we read this prayer. Then we see how deep it really is, and how little we truly knew of it! How grateful we should be for this prayer; for we would never have fully known how deep and how vast Jesus' love for us is unless the divine Son had prayed it to the divine Father in such a way that we could hear it and learn from it. Truly it is a triumphant prayer!
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