The Father’s Relationship to the Son in His Messianic Mission III

The Glorification of the Father in the Son

In John 17:1-5, Jesus prays, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son, in order that the Son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all flesh, in order that to all whom you have given him, he may give eternal life. Now, this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on the earth by finishing the work which you have given me to do. Now, Father, glorify me together with yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world was.”

This prayer absolutely blows me away. In it, we find that the Son’s glorification of the Father is rooted in the Father’s glorification of the Son, and because of this glorious Trinitarian activity, sinners will be given eternal life. 

From verse 1, it is obvious that Jesus’ cross-death, resurrection, and ascension is just ahead. He affirms that ‘his hour’ has come. In John’s Gospel, ‘his hour’ refers not only to the horrible death he is to suffer at calvary, but also to his being raised from the dead and going to be with the Father (2:4; 4:23; 5:25; 7:30; 8:20; esp. 12:23; 13:1). In a sense, Jesus’ hour is a package deal: crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension/glorification. Indeed, Jesus knows this, and prays accordingly, “Father, glorify your Son, in order that the Son may glorify you.”

Here, I was absolutely astounded by the purpose clause. Jesus desires the Father to display the glory of the Son (i.e. himself), for the purpose of the Son glorifying the Father. In other words, the glory of the Father is particularly displayed in the Son when the Son is glorified. What is more, this glory of the Father and the Son is primarily displayed in Jesus’ bloody cross, triumphant resurrection, and glorious ascension. The glory of God’s wrath, his judgement, his righteousness, his holiness, his grace, his mercy, his kindness, his covenant faithfulness and more are all displayed at the cross. The glory of God’s power, his faithfulness, his trustworthiness, his authority, his victory, his salvific purposes and more are all displayed at the resurrection. The glory of God’s might, his sovereignty, his splendor, his strength, his magnificence, and more are all displayed in Jesus’ ascension. That the Son endured his hour–both in suffering the cross and rising from the dead–to display the glory of the Father, absolutely took my breath away.

Moreover, in verse 2, Jesus then compares this glorification of the Son and the Father with his own authority to give salvation to those the Father gave him. The comparison reveals that redemption is directly tied to the Father’s glorification of the Son.

The authority Jesus has “over all flesh” is one given to him by the Father in ‘eternity past’–an authority that is based on his future obedience unto death, and his coming resurrection and ascension to glory. Why such authority was given to the Son becomes clear in the next purpose clause: “in order that to all whom [the Father] has given him, he may give eternal life.” The Father gives the Son authority over all flesh in order that eternal life may be granted to those he has given the Son. Doubtless, Jesus’ prayer is in accord with the Father fulfilling his redemptive purposes in election. That is, what was accomplished in Jesus’ ‘hour’ extends to those the Father has given the Son. This is how God has loved such a dark world (cf. 3:15-16).

What does this mean for us? First, this gives us hope that others in this rebellious world will be saved. The Son will not lose a single person the Father has given to him, and the Father will not ignore the prayers of the Son. Sinners will be brought to faith. This should encourage us to participate in his saving purposes through prayer, missions, and evangelism.

Second, it teaches us that even horrible events, such as the slaughter of the Son of God, are planned by the Father and used to display his glory. Not only did Jesus being put to death not make sense to the disciples, it was a murderous act committed against a perfect human being. From a human perspective, the crucifixion was a bad event. However, agonizing as it may have been for Jesus, he knew it was the will of his infinitely wise Father. Even more, he prays that the Father be glorified in it. Thus, the cross teaches us how to handle suffering and evil. Recently, my wife experienced a miscarriage after twelve weeks of pregnancy. Though Rachel and I were crushed by this loss, the Lord gave us the grace to trust in his sovereign hand. On the way to the emergency room, the Lord continued to remind me that he is my Father, he is wise in all that he does, and he will bring glory to his name, even through the miscarriage. We will suffer difficult circumstances in this world, yet Jesus’ prayer has taught me to trust in the Father’s redemptive purposes, for they will stand.

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2 Responses to “The Father’s Relationship to the Son in His Messianic Mission III”

  1. Ched Says:

    the glory of the Father is particularly displayed in the Son when the Son is glorified.

    I like your insight here. Your reflection regarding your situation is edifying and encouraging.

  2. Samuel L. Says:

    This is very up-to-date info. I think I’ll share it on Twitter.

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