“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,” (John 17:1).
Growing up I learned and memorized a portion of Scripture commonly referred to as The Lord’s Prayer. Recorded in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4, it is a series of statements Jesus gave His disciples instructing them, and eventually all disciples of Jesus, regarding how to pray. It has even been memorably set to music. The prayer is as follows:
“Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:9-13)
Now, not wanting to be overly technical or just plain picky, I should point out that while this portion of Scripture is called The Lord’s Prayer, it is in reality the disciples’ prayer. It is what we are to pray. Since this is so, is there truly a prayer in the Bible we can call The Lord’s Prayer? A specific prayer which originated from the heart and soul of Jesus? Yes, there is and it is found in John 17.
John 17 contains what is commonly called Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer. It is a prayer in which Jesus not only prays for Himself but also for His disciples: then and in the future. It is filled with soaring biblical truth.
We identify Jesus’ words as a prayer in light of John 17:1 which says, ““When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said.” Jesus had just concluded His Upper Room Discourse with His disciples. He then looked to heaven and began to speak a prayer. It should be noted that it is most likely that His disciples heard Him speak this prayer.
John Calvin comments that, “Christ prayed, lifting up His eyes to heaven. It was an indication of uncommon ardor and vehemence; for by this attitude Christ testified that in the affections of His mind, he was rather in heaven than in earth. He looked towards heaven, not as if God’s presence were confined to heaven, for He fills the earth (Jeremiah 23:24), but because it is there chiefly that His majesty is displayed.”
Jesus said, “Father.” This address to God the Father certainly parallels how we should begin our prayers and to whom our prayers should be addressed: to God the Father. In using the term “Father” Jesus was acknowledging, as should we, that God the Father possesses supernatural authority and supreme love and affection for His children.
Jesus then said, “The hour has come.” This is a phrase we have seen many times thus far in John’s Gospel. It occurs as early as John 2:4. It refers to the time of Jesus crucifixion and death on behalf of sinners. (See John 12:23; 13:1). Jesus acknowledged to the Father that this specific time had arrived.
Jesus then prayed, “glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,” In the strongest possible terms, Jesus prays that the Father will honor and praise Him. This is in order that Jesus may in like manner honor and praise the Father. There is a mutual connection between the two.
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “The very event that would glorify the Son was his death. By it, he has received the adoration, worship, and love of millions whose sins he bore. He accepted this path to glory, knowing that by it he would be exalted to the Father. The goal is that the Father may be glorified for his redemptive plan in the Son. So he sought by his own glory the glory of his Father (13:31–32).”
Jesus’ words remind me of the angelic praise declared in the presence of the shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14)
Jesus would certainly bring God the Father glory by His death, burial and resurrection. We ought to pursue the same goal: to glorify God. I Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
May truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!