Lenten Reflection - John 17: 1-8 by Brian Whitaker
Event Time: Feb 11 at 12:00 am
17 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with youbefore the world began. 6 “I have revealed you[a] to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.” John 17: 1-8
"Who Prays to be Glorified?"
When I accepted this text for reflection, I'll be honest, I didn't know what I was getting myself into. For me, this is one of the most complicated, paradoxical moments in Jesus' life. This is the point, just before the Crucifixion, that Jesus turns his eyes to the sky and makes a request to God. He asks to be Glorified.
I wrestled with ways to reconcile this idea with other basic themes in his life -- Christian humility, "the last shall be first", "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," and so on. I can't speak for everyone, but I associate being glorified with ego, being put on a pedestal, being separated from others, and so on.
But Jesus asked to be glorified, in a way we never do. None of us turn our eyes to heaven and ask for glory. We fear it. We're afraid of being pretentious, asking for a grace outside our limits, or we're worried, perhaps secretly, that if God DID glorify us, we'd have to follow the path of Jesus -- onto the Cross and beyond.
Jesus did something we won't risk. And he was motivated, not by ego, but by an essential paradox of his life. He asks to be glorified because he's realized that God's glory, made manifest in Christ, is the key to transforming the world. He asks for glory -- not for himself -- but so that the world can live forever.
As Christians, we're obliged to follow Christ's path. Is glorification a key to doing that work? This passage has inspired a few questions -- and maybe they're questions you'll ask yourself, as we spend the next 39 days leading up to the Cross -- and beyond.
Could we ask for glory?
Are we good enough to ask?
What would happen if we asked?
How would the question transform us -- and others?
Would the question bring us into deeper relationship with God?
Could we help save the world if we asked for glory?
Can we ask for glory -- today?