An Incredible Sacrifice

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
(John 17:1-3)

“To know God without Christ is not to know Him savingly.” -Newton

None of our Lord’s prayers are recorded as fully and as richly as what is often referred to as His “High Priestly Prayer” which begins in our verses for today. It sets forth the wonderful pattern of intercession which Jesus as our great High Priest is ever carrying on for us in heaven. Here we have a prayer offered up by the Lord on an especially interesting occasion–just after the Lords Supper and prior to His betrayal and crucifixion.

Jesus fleshes out what He had taught the disciples in Mathew regarding prayer–He begins with “Father”. A term of endearment; an expression of closeness; a word that conveys freedom of access as well as great expectation.

“The people of God are to model the new heaven and new earth, and by so doing awaken longings for what God will bring to pass.” – Philip Yancey

Jesus also tells us here that His appointed time has arrived–the fullness of time has come. The time for His sacrificial death is upon Him–the final accomplishment of His atonement for all mankind. The hour has arrived and the Sacrifice is ready. We see the redeeming work of Christ–his death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven–bringing both the Father and the Son much glory.

Daniel had prophesized regarding the Lord Jesus’ authority years before:

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)

When we read of the Father giving power to the Son, it is not as a superior giving authority to an inferior, rather it signifies the permanent arrangement in the everlasting Trinity. The intentions and purposes of Jesus’ authority were to lead people to salvation and a restored relationship with God.

Take It to Heart

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.”
-Revelation 11:15 

This knowledge is more than mere head knowledge. This is knowledge that dwells in our hearts and influences our lives! To know something at the heart level will direct our eyes and our tongues and our hands and our feet. We will act on what we truly know and believe. We must know God–His holiness, His purity, His hatred of sin–as well as Christ–His redemption, His love of sinners, and His mediation between God and man. To know God without Christ is to know a consuming fire that will fill us with fear. To know Christ without God is to not truly understand what the Savior has done on our behalf. We will fail to see the meaning of the cross.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)