Read: John 17
“Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.”
Several times, Jesus had mentioned that his time had not yet come. But now, the long-awaited time was finally here. The same cross which was used by the sadistic Romans to provide drawn-out punishment, humiliation and effective crowd-control, would now be used as a platform on which to display the Father’s wrath over sin, his mercy for lowly sinners and the climax of God’s redemption plan.
Jesus was crucified on a cross and made it into a mercy seat; but not only that, God would turn it into a throne. The cross was meant to humiliate and to crucify, but ultimately God used it to exalt and to glorify.
In v.4-5, Jesus says:
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.
Obedience glorifies God – since the desire for genuine obedience is not from us but from Him. I love that Jesus says that he has already “accomplished the work” even before he has gone to the cross. This is not misplaced confidence in himself but a confidence that glorifies God. It places it’s faith in the sovereignty of God and his providence which ensures that we can endure any hardship.
And because Jesus has finished the work, because he has overcome – it is possible for us to “take heart” and to “have peace” (John 16:33). In allowing us to enter into His Heavenly family, we become one of his through which he is glorified. But before Jesus ascends, he pleads our case to the Father.
One thing he asks is for God’s protection: “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” To glorify God, we must learn what it means to be “in the world but not of the world” (v.14).
He continues by asking the Father to sanctify us through His Word – i.e. as we hear, read, study and apply the Word, we would be sanctified. This sanctification is tied to God’s purpose for believers. We learn this purpose as we read Jesus saying, “as you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” We are sanctified for service!
Lastly, Jesus prays, “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 Church glorifies God by abiding in God and being united as one body, with one mission and one Lord.
In the end, the Cross is not about us. It is about God.
John Piper says it so well,
“It horribly skews the meaning of the cross when contemporary prophets of self-esteem say that the cross is a witness to my infinite worth. The biblical perspective is that the cross in a witness to the infinite worth of God’s glory, and a witness to the immensity of the sin of my pride.”
And so this year’s #40daysofthecross is completed. But it is not over because the whole of our Christian walk involves carrying our Cross daily, following Jesus. This Holy Week, I will continue writing because I want to continue seeking God, surveying the beauty of His Cross and the wonder of His Resurrection. Let us listen to His voice as we journey on our Emmaus roads and be faithful His commission to “go”. Let us do all these things but be careful not to keep any glory for ourselves but always
“ad majorem dei gloriam”
Not unto us Lord – but for Your glory alone.
“Whoever does not seek the Cross of Christ does not seek the Glory of God.”
John of the Cross
Playlist: Touch the Sky