Sermon: Praying for the Glory of God John 17:1-3

Praying for the Glory of God

John 17:1-3

Jesus prays that God would be glorified through the cross and the salvation of His people.

Introduction

From the beginning and throughout our Lord’s mission on earth He demonstrated that He was continually in prayer.

He prayed at His baptism (Luke 3.21), during His first preaching tour (Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16), before choosing the twelve apostles (Luke 6:12-13), before feeding the 5,000 (Matthew: 14:19), after feeding the 5,000 (Matthew 14:23), before feeding the 4,000 (Matthew 15:46), before Peter’s confession of Him as the Christ (Luke 9:18), at the transfiguration (Luke 9:28-29), for some children brought to Him (Matthew 19:13), after the return of the seventy (Luke 10:21), before giving the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:1), before raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41-42), as He faced the reality of the cross (John 12:28), at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:26-27), for Peter (Luke 22:31-32), In Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-42), from the cross (Matthew 27:46; Luke 23: 34, 46), with the disciples He encountered on the Road of Emmaus (Luke 24:30), and at the ascension (Luke 24:50-51). [1]

Of all the prayers of our Lord recorded in the Bible this is the longest and most valuable for us to begin to see the Trinity at work throughout redemptive history. In this prayer, we are taught many deep, mysterious and amazing things. Chapter 17 of John is the recorded prayer of Jesus praying that all His promises would be granted to His followers. He is entrusting the fulfillment of everything to His Father.

What I find so thrilling is that in chapters 13-16 Jesus is making promise after promise to His followers. This will happen, you will be given, etc. and then prays to His Father so that these things will in fact, come to pass. Do you see how sure Jesus was that He and His Father we exactly united that He could tell the disciples something as a promise and then pray that His Father would bring it to pass and it did every time. Every single prayer our Lord offers up to the Father is answered exactly the way Jesus intended. There is complete and perfect unity in the Godhead.

Human Need

Our assurance of everything concerning redemption is sitting on the sure foundation of Jesus’ answered prayer. When we read His promises we can have complete confidence that they are all true. The reason is simply because He made them to us and the Holy Trinity is in complete unity and all work together to carry them out. Are you completely convinced that all of God’s promises will come to pass?

Father, You have Gathered Your people that You may let us hear Your words, so that we may learn to fear You all the days that we live on the earth, and that we may also teach our children…amen

John 17:1–3 (ESV)

17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

  1. The Glory of God in the Cross

Jesus’ first request is that the Father would glorify Him so that He could glorify the Father.

he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,

One theme in John’s Gospel is the glory of our Lord. He speaks of it no less than 42 times throughout his book. Here, John highlights a particular glory that shines forth as Jesus submits to the Father’s will even to the point of going to the cross.
Jesus prayed for glory that would result in the Father’s glory. How does the cross accomplish glory for both the Father and the Son?
John 12:23–32 (ESV)

23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

So, the cross is the means of glory to both the Father and the Son. The Son because through it, He will bear much fruit, show His love for the future world, the ruler of this world is cast out, and Christ will receive glory as He draws all people to himself. The Father receives glory through the Son’s obedience, sinlessness even in the direst of circumstances, as the Son shows His love for the Father.

So, the chief end of man’s salvation is not man’s salvation but the glory of God. Everything Jesus did was to glorify His Father. We too must seek God’s glory in everything we do. Our salvation’s end is the glory of God.

Are you praising God everyday because He has saved you?

  1. The Authority to Give Eternal Life

since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him

Jesus speaks of the fact that because of His supreme sacrifice on the cross that the Father has given Him authority over all flesh. What’s important to note is that the cross has not taken place yet and our Lord speaks of this authority given to Him in the past tense.

What exactly is Jesus speaking about? Because of the supreme obedience of Jesus to the Father’s will, He accomplishes what Adam failed to accomplish. Jesus as the Second Adam becomes the head of the human race… since you have given him authority over all flesh. By divine decree the Father has conferred all sovereignty and power over the human race to the Son. No longer does Adam represent all humanity. In a very real sense Jesus was given this authority at His birth. This is what calling Jesus King of Kings and Lord of Lords means. His universal authority was seen when the Magi came and worshiped Him.

Our Lord has all authority…
Matthew 28:18–20 (ESV)

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus is called the Second or the Last Adam. Through His obedience He accomplished what the first Adam failed to maintain. Throughout Jesus’ ministry He was fulfilling the covenant that Adam failed to keep. Adam was given one condition do not eat of the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam ate and fell. As our covenant head because Adam represented us when he ate it was as if we ate from the tree ourselves.

Romans 5:19 (ESV)

19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

Listen to Charles Spurgeon’s commentary…

Well, then, let us bear in mind the fact that there was, first of all, a covenant made with our father, Adam—not, perhaps, in set terms, but virtually—that if he should do the will of God, he should live; and that, if he did so, we also should live by virtue of his obedience. But, alas! Our great covenant head, Adam the first, could not keep that covenant. He took of the fruit of the tree which he was forbidden to eat, and

so, the covenant of works, which had been made with him, was torn in pieces…But, now, blessed be the name of the Lord, there is a second covenant, made with the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ; and by that covenant, made with Him on behalf of all His people, it was provided that He should Himself perfectly keep the law, and also that He should suffer the penalty due from His people for their breaches of the law; and that, if He did both these things, then all those who were represented in Him should live forever. We rejoice to know that Christ has both kept the law Himself, and paid the penalty that His people had incurred by breaking it. He has rendered both an active and a passive obedience to the law of God; so, now, according to the conditions of the covenant, all those for whom He lived and died inherit, by divine right, all the blessings which Christ, their covenant Representative, has procured on their behalf. [2]

Because our Lord kept the divine covenant of works for us then Jesus, the Second Adam will extend salvation to all the Father gives Him.

So, we see that Jesus has authority over all flesh (humans) then specifically that He will grant salvation to those the Father gives Him. We can say He’s been given all authority and given a people. This is the doctrine of Sovereignty and divine election.

since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him

What Jesus is praying then is that all whom the Father has given Him will be saved. This gift of the Father is that out of the great number of all humanity there is a particular number the Father has given to the Son and in turn the Son extends to these salvation.

The keys to heaven are in Christ’s hands. The salvation of every soul of mankind is at His disposal—J C Ryle

When did God choose the elect? Why did God choose? What was God’s motivation?

Ephesians 1:3–14 (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

We can resist this glorious doctrine but it doesn’t change the fact that it is true, or we can submit to the truth that God the Father gives some of humanity to the Son as a people and all those the Father gives to the Son, the Son gives salvation and eternal life to.

After thinking on God’s amazing love shown in the election of His people to salvation the Apostle Paul writes a very fitting praise to God in Romans 11…

Romans 11:33–36 (ESV)

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

34    “For who has known the mind of the Lord,

or who has been his counselor?”

35    “Or who has given a gift to him

that he might be repaid?”

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Sovereignty of the Father…

Before the foundation of the world, God chose individuals undeserving and unworthy though they are—to be the objects of His saving grace (2 Tim. 1:9). The apostle Paul writes, “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4a). That is to say, He chose His elect by Himself and for Himself—a sovereign choice not based on any foreseen good works or faith on their part. This divine election originated within Himself, by His own gracious choice (Rom. 9:16). For reasons known only to God, He selected whom He would save.

Having chosen His elect, the Father gave them to the Son before time began to be His royal inheritance. This gift was an expression of the Father’s love for the Son (John 6:37, 39; 17:2, 6, 9, 24). These chosen ones were selected for the highest purpose—that they would praise the Son forever and be conformed to His image (Rom. 8:29). The Father then, in eternity past, commissioned the Son to enter the world to purchase the salvation of the elect. Further, the Father directed the Holy Spirit to regenerate these same chosen ones. Thus, their salvation was foreordained and predestined by the sovereign will of God before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:5). The names of the elect were then written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev. 13:8; 17:8). Under the direction of the Father, all three persons of the Godhead irrevocably agreed to execute the salvation of these chosen people. This is the sovereign grace of God the Father in eternity past.

Sovereignty of the Son…

Having long ago received from the Father the individual names of the elect, Jesus Christ came into this world to purchase their salvation. With a singular intent, Christ purposed to die for His true church—those given to Him by the Father in eternity past. He declared, “I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:15). Bound by devotion to His chosen bride, Christ “loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25b).

With this definite design in the cross, Jesus purchased with His own blood all those who were predestined to believe in Him (Acts 20:28). He did not merely make salvation possible. He did not make a hypothetical redemption. Rather, He actually saved. Christ was not shortchanged at Calvary, but acquired all those for whom He paid. Jesus truly secured eternal life for His sheep. Not one for whom He died will ever perish. This is the sovereign grace of God the Son two thousand years ago in His saving death.

Sovereignty of the Holy Spirit…

Moreover, the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit into this world to apply the saving death of Christ to all the elect. As the gospel is proclaimed, the Spirit issues a special inward call to these chosen ones, those elected by the Father and redeemed by the Son. The Spirit powerfully regenerates their spiritually dead souls, raising them from the grave of sin to saving faith in Christ (Eph. 2:5–6). Jesus asserted, “All that the Father gives me will come to me” (John 6:37a). This saving enterprise is unalterably certain because God “draws” (6:44) all these “given ones” to Christ. The Spirit grants them repentance (2 Tim. 2:25) and authors saving faith within them (Phil. 1:292 Peter 1:1).

In this effectual act, the Spirit opens the spiritually blind eyes of the elect to see the truth (2 Cor. 4:6). He opens their deaf ears to hear His voice (John 10:27). He opens their closed hearts to receive the gospel (Acts 16:14). He activates their dead wills to believe the saving message (John 1:13). The Spirit overcomes all resistance and triumphs in the hearts of the elect. This is the sovereign grace of God the Holy Spirit within time.[3]

  1. This Is Eternal Life

And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent

So, we see from this and other passages that Jesus has sovereignty over man’s salvation. Man is not sovereign over salvation, Jesus is. When we say that salvation is of the Lord we mean it entirely. Jesus by His mercy and grace gives His people as a free gift, eternal life. What is eternal life then?
Let’s keep this very simple and precise. Eternal life is to know God. Eternal life is to know Him accurately. Humans were created to know God. The fact that we are created in God’s image, we have the capacity to know Him. Other creatures cannot know God only mankind can.

Jeremiah 9:23–24 (ESV)

23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

I spoke to a man this week who is in probably his last days about his relationship with Jesus Christ. He told me that of all the things he has learned over the years specifically in the realm of theology and doctrine his desire now as he reaches the end is to know Christ more.

Let’s define what is meant here by knowing…
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent

To know in this case is to know accurate truths related to God but also to be in the middle of a deep rooted relationship with God. It is to know Him and to love Him. Jesus says that this is eternal life.

1 John 5:20 (ESV)

20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Humanity can only know God if God equips us with the resources we need to know Him. If God brings us to life spiritually we will then know Him. When we know God we are forever and eternally changed. Eternal life is not something that God adds to our existence.

When we receive eternal life we are entirely different.
A new principle of life comes into us which produces in us a new nature, a new outlook, so much so that having received it, we are able to say with Paul…
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. [4]

Someday after Christ has defeated all His enemies and has assigned the devil and his army to the Lake of Fire and after all of unredeemed humanity is also cast into the Lake of Fire, the entire earth will know and love Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 11:9 (ESV)

   They shall not hurt or destroy

in all my holy mountain;

       for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord

as the waters cover the sea.

Jeremiah 31:34 (ESV)

34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

The only way to know God is to know Him through Jesus Christ.

Application

Jesus’ mission was to ultimately bring glory to the Father. He would obey, even unto death for the glory of God. He would save all whom the Father gave Him as an inheritance, for the glory of God.

Why were we chosen to be His people? This also is for the glory of God.
John 17:10 (ESV)

10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.

We must consider, today how are you bringing glory to God? In what ways can you bring more glory to God?

[1] Macarthur, John volume 2 page 235

[2] Spurgeon Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit vol 43 page 26

[3] Steven Lawson

[4] Martin Lloyd-Jones, Saved in Eternity, 152

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