Mid-week Bridge 15 May 2024

From John with thanks

We continue the series looking at the prayers of the Lord Jesus.
Last week we learnt of his current ministry – interceding for his people. Today and next week we consider Jesus’ prayer recorded in John 17. Jesus prayed this after speaking to his disciples in the upper room (John 13 – 16) on the eve of his betrayal, arrest and crucifixion.
In this wonderful prayer, Jesus prayed for himself (vv1-5), and then for his disciples and all believers (vv6-26). Today we ponder vv1-5, (please read), in which the focus is on the relationship between the Father and the Son.
Jesus begins, “Father…” There are 21 prayers of Jesus recorded in the gospels, and all but one start “Father…” Jesus has unique and total intimacy with God the Father: “I and the Father are one”: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 10:30; 14:9). 
Jesus prays, “Father, the hour has come.” That is a very significant phrase which recurs several times in John’s gospel (e.g. 2:4, 8:20, 13:1). It is closely connected with the glorifying of Jesus. Earlier, Jesus had said “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified”, and spoke about his life-giving death (12:23-24). Now he prays for the fulfilment of that glory.
Jesus’ deepest concern was for the glory of the Father. As he pondered his approaching suffering and death, he said “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour”? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!
And these words of Jesus’ prayer in John 17 reveal more of how this will happen:
1) Through the gift of life (vv2-3): eternal life.
People may think of “eternal life” as like our present life infinitely extended. And that does not sound appealing! In fact, it sounds frightful, or boring, or both!
But Jesus here tells us what eternal life really is: the life of the Kingdom of God. It is to know God in intimate personal relationship. That is what we are made for. And eternal life is not earned or achieved by us. It is given by God through Jesus Christ.  
The second way in which God is glorified is:
2) Through Jesus’ completion of his God-given work (vv4-5)
Jesus in his prayer here anticipates the fulfilment of his mission through his death and resurrection and exaltation. Earlier in his ministry he said “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (4:34). And on the cross, his last words are “It is finished” (19:30).

As I pray for myself, as you pray for yourself, what are our deepest concerns?
If we seek to follow Jesus, our supreme aim and purpose is the same as his, the glorifying of God.
“It is for God above all things, and not for ourselves, that we were created” (John Calvin).
“The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him for ever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism).   

Prayer: Let my glad heart, while it sings,
            Thee in all proclaim,
            And whate’er the future brings,
            Glorify thy name.