Sermon: The Glory of God in the Life and Death of Jesus John 17:4-5

The Glory of God in the Life and Death of Jesus

John 17:4-5

Truth Taught- Jesus brought glory to God through His sinless life and sacrificial death.


Jesus on the night before the cross looks back on His life. In this amazing prayer to the Father He recounts the fact that He has spent His entire life bringing glory to God…
One theologian writes, He does not perceive in His life, at this supreme moment, either any evil committed, or even any good omitted. The duty of each hour has been perfectly fulfilled. There has been in this human life which He has now behind Him, not only no spot, but no deficiency.[1]

As we too consider the life of Jesus we are amazed at how He lived every second with one driving passion that never let up and that was to glorify His Father. Even last week as we looked at the opening of Jesus’ high priestly pray He prayed that the Father would receive glory. Our Lord never did any evil and what’s even more amazing is that He also never failed to do good. He did not sin by commission or by omission. His life was perfect and a life God would accept as payment for all His people.

To understand this we must travel back in time, as it were, before there even was time; before there was anything created. Before man existed, God existed. Before anything was made God already knew He would create man, He already knew that the first man would sin and He already determined that He would save those who are His. Salvation for mankind was formed in eternity past. God purposed to save a remnant of mankind and give them to His Son as His possession…His Bride.

This plan was promised and guaranteed by God Himself.

Titus 1:1–3 (ESV)

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

The phrase, before the ages began literally means before time began. So, we see that this amazing plan of God was already set in motion before the first sin was ever born.

This promise is called the Eternal Covenant…
Hebrews 13:20 (ESV)

20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,

There was a promise made before time began that God would save a remnant of fallen humanity and present them to His Son as His Bride. So, it stands to reason that because no people existed then that the promise was made among the members of the Trinity, specifically from the Father to the Son.

So it is this remnant that God will save…
2 Timothy 1:9 (ESV)

who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

There is that same phrase again…before the ages began or before time began.

The Eternal Covenant is God the Father showing His infinite love to the Son. It is a tangible expression of His sovereign and eternal love for His Son. The Father promised His Son a Bride.
Revelation 19:6–8 (ESV)

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,


       For the Lord our God

the Almighty reigns.

   Let us rejoice and exult

and give him the glory,

       for the marriage of the Lamb has come,

and his Bride has made herself ready;

   it was granted her to clothe herself

with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

Jesus has been given a wonderful gift from the Father, His people that is His Bride. The Church literally the called out ones, the remnant of all of mankind, God’s people, the chosen and the elect are presented to the Son as the Father’s gift, just as the Father promised.

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 17:4–5 (ESV)

I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

  1. The Father Gave the Son a…Work to Accomplish in Eternity Past

I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.

In order to receive the gift, the Bride of Christ had to be made ready. It took the Son coming to earth and dying on the cross to make His Bride spotless and pure. He accomplished this work perfectly.

What was the work Jesus accomplished? The work Jesus accomplished is seen as His mission.
Jesus would take on human nature and flesh thereby experiencing all human frailty and do so in every way yet remain without sin.

Galatians 4:4–5 (ESV)

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Jesus would place Himself under the demands of God’s Law, making Himself liable for His own obedience and for the penalty of His people’s sin.

Matthew 5:17–18 (ESV)

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

After securing forgiveness and eternal life for His people, He would send the Holy Spirit to apply this salvation through the new birth into saving faith, through which His people would be saved by divine grace.
Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV)

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Because Jesus came to earth took on flesh lived a perfect life under God’s Law His death can be counted as our death and His life counted as our life. Because Jesus accomplished all God gave Him we are saved.

When was Jesus given this work?

There is biblical evidence that our Lord was given this work in eternity past. In eternity past the members of the Trinity entered into an agreement for the redemption of God’s people. This is known as the Covenant of Redemption.

In our verse we see that Jesus refers to accomplishing the work the Father gave Him to do.
John 4:34 (ESV)

34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.

The Father’s gift is so precious to the Son He was willing to do whatever had to be done in order to receive it.
2. The Son Accomplished the Work the Father Gave Him

I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.

Our Lord brought glory to the Father by accomplishing the work He gave Him to do. Throughout the ministry of Jesus He often spoke of the work.

John 9:4 (ESV)

We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.

What is remarkable is that while Jesus has lived perfectly sinless so far, He includes the greatest challenge, the cross among His finished works before He even went to the cross. I pray we see just how secure our salvation is in Christ. He was so sure of His success that He could pray this before the cross event even took place.

Christ says He has finished that which he most surely knows He will finish[2]

His life to this point was being lived to provide perfect righteousness for us. Now, He would go to the cross to pay the penalty for us.
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.

Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)

   But he was pierced for our transgressions;

he was crushed for our iniquities;

       upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

and with his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:12 (ESV)

12    Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,

and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,

       because he poured out his soul to death

and was numbered with the transgressors;

       yet he bore the sin of many,

and makes intercession for the transgressors.

In order to accomplish this massive feat, Jesus would be required to take on all the sin of all His people. So, the Father’s wrath was poured out on Jesus to the degree that it would have been poured out on all the elect collectively. Every single sin of all those the Father gave the Son had to be paid for through wrath and judgment.

Here’s where we must pause and ask ourselves how do we know Jesus accomplished all that the Father had for Him? How do we know that He lived a perfectly sinless life? How do we know that He always did everything the Father wanted Him to do? How do we know that the cross paid our sin debt?
Romans 1:4 (ESV)

and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

Romans 4:25 (ESV)

25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Romans 8:1 (ESV)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Beloved, the resurrection is proof that Jesus lived a sinless life and proof that the Father was completely pleased with our Lord’s life and death. The resurrection is an event that took place in real time that those who were alive at the time saw firsthand and we have their written accounts as proof. The Father tells the Son well done!!

  1. Accomplishing the Work Brought Glory to the Father

I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.

The Father was perfectly satisfied with the work of Christ. On the cross the Son would display the glory of the Father’s love and grace for sinners. On the cross Jesus would also display the perfect justice of God as God would justly punish sin. So, in one event the cross would show the mercy and grace of God and the justice of God. We praise God and glorify Him as we consider all that He did to save us from our sin.

  1. The Father Gives Glory to the Son Because the Work is Accomplished

And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

After living a life of submission and perfect obedience our Lord is ready to return to heaven to be with the Father. He’s ready to assume the role that He has had from all eternity. His role of exalted status is shown in John 1…
John 1:1–2 (ESV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

We must see that this is the glory Jesus had before the world existed.

Because of His obedience to the Father…a life without sin and a death to win a people, the Father would reward the Son.
Many theologians call this Jesus’ coronation.
Coronation is the official ceremony when a Sovereign King is crowned and declared to be King. We have this given to us in Philippians.

Philippians 2:5–11 (ESV)

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


I want to think through this dynamic with you today. Jesus is God and it is impossible for God to sin. He was also a man and its not impossible for humans to sin. So, how did He do it?
How can we avoid sin in our life? I think our Lord’s thinking and motivation are ways we too can fight against temptation and sin.
To begin with we must understand the massive love He had for the Father. Jesus loved His Father with an intense and infinite love. So when we come to the temptation event, for example, Jesus was not about to listen to the devil’s lies and give in to sin’s false promises why? Because He already had God’s promise. God’s promise is found in Philippians 2:9ff. Jesus would receive everything the devil promised in his lies from God who cannot lie. Jesus would be King of Kings and Lord of Lords on God’s terms and in His timing.
Hebrews 11:24–25 (ESV)

24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.

How will this keep us from sinning? Understand that the pleasures of sin are fleeting. God offers you pleasure and joy in an infinitely greater degree that is not fleeting but eternal. So, rather than trying so hard not to sin remind yourself that whatever this sin promises you it is lying and fleeting. But God promises so much more and the pleasures and joy of following Christ will last for all time.

Next develop a great and unshakable love for the Father through the Son. Just as Jesus was motivated to obedience through love for the Father we too can find motivation against sin through loving God.

Commentaries used:

John Vol 2 Reformed Expository Commentary

John Vol 2 John Macarthur Commentary

[1] Richard D Phillips, Reformed Expository Commentary, 406

[2] Quoted in Ryle’s Expository Thoughts 3:199

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