Prayer of the High Priest Part 1

There are different prayers that we pray in our prayer life. There are the intimate prayers that we pray to the Father and to Him only. These are the prayers in which we find solace for our souls, strength for our spirits, and peace between us and our God and Father. Then there is corporate prayer that we pray among the congregation, or in public at events, they are prayers directed to God the Father but have content that is a blessing to those who also hear.

The High Priestly prayer of Jesus to His Father in Heaven was preceded by His comforting teaching in the Upper Room and just prior to His betrayal by Judas. It was a prayer in which Jesus prayed in the company of His eleven disciples where they could hear the words that He spoke. This prayer of Jesus’ must have been even more comfort given to them before the trials of His crucifixion. First Jesus prayed for Himself, then He prayed for His disciples, and Jesus prayed for the future believes. As God’s Word shall endure forever let us remember that this prayer was not only for the benefit of His eleven disciples but for Christians of every age. “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word.” (John 17:20)

The Prayer of Jesus for Himself

“Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” (John 17:1-5)

It might not be fitting that Jesus would ask for the Father to glorify Him. We see gory used several times in this passage and there are some considerations for us to look at which will shed a different light on His purpose. Jesus asked that the Father glorify Him for His hour had come. Jesus did not want glory only for Himself but glory so the Father could be praised. Jesus had to be glorified so that we could glorify the Father through Him. We see that in the second half of the verse, “glorify your Son, that the Son may glorify you.” Jesus wanted to be glorified with the Father. Satan wants glory that he might usurp the position of God. Satan wanted to be as the Most High and this was his downfall, as God is holy. “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14) Satan did not want to share glory but wanted all glory. Jesus wanted glory so that He could exalt the Father.

Jesus as the second person of the Godhead left His home in Heaven and became God incarnate. Jesus set aside His deity and became as a man that He might live amongst man as a man. He was glorified in Heaven and now He was asking the Father to reestablish that glory. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

Jesus did not forsake His deity but added His humanity to His deity. Now that His work on the cross was to be completed Jesus is asking the Father to restore the glory which He had laid aside throughout His mission.

The glory that Jesus would receive was earned by the price of the cross. In addition to His previous glory Jesus was to receive even more glory by the work of His earthly life and ministry. Jesus had glorified the Father by His submission and obedience to His Father’s will. (Verse 4) Along with the Father Jesus was glorified by His work on the cross for the salvation of sinful men. (Verses 2-3) Because of His selflessness work on behalf of sinful man the Father gave Him greater glory. “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)

It is a wonderful picture of the faithfulness of God the Father that Jesus prayed to receive the glory that was rightfully His. “Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped.” (Philippians 2:6) Because of His work on the cross (Philippians 2:7-8) He received even greater glory. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Jesus was the suffering servant (Isaiah 53) and He is the King of Glory. (Psalm 24) As Christians we must keep suffering and glory in their proper perspective. The life of the Christian is not a grim determination which causes us to face constant suffering and sorrow to find our glory later. There is plenty of suffering and plenty of sorrow in any day but the focus is that the Christian life is the abundant life. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) The life of the Christian is filled with peace with God and the joy of salvation in the midst of spiritual evil forces.

There will be trials, suffering, and sorrow in our Christian walk. There are few if any in this world who escape this truth. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4) As a follower of Jesus, a child of God, all of this will work towards our good according to God’s purpose. Our faith will be strengthened and our character will be perfected as we grow into the image of our Lord. And for us there is a crown of life that is everlasting. “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12) If we follow Jesus we cannot fail for in our weakness though Jesus we find our sufficiency. “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Are we as Christians today willing to live for the glory of God as we are to die for it? Jesus instructed His disciples to consider the cost of following Him. “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28) If we are willing, then we will not have the agony of fretting over the future. The Apostle Paul considered the cost and was ready and willing to live or die for the glory of God. “According to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:20)

Is this the commitment that we have made in following Jesus? Have we asked God to glorify Himself through us? If we have, then it could mean suffering or it may mean success. It will probably be a portion of both. This is the commitment that a disciple of Jesus must make. We are to make the unconditional surrender to God and His purpose that will bring glory to Himself and result in our own good. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, August 5, 2016

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