“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. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 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, NIV)Jesus’ prayer for Himself is that He would surrender to the will of His Father. Ultimately, that’s what prayer is for all of us…an act of surrender. The surrender of our will to His will. I’ve heard it described like this: If I throw out a boat anchor from my boat and catch a hold of the shore and pull, do I pull the shore toward me or do I pull myself towards the shore?
Prayer is not pulling God to my will, but instead, it is aligning my will to the will of God. Jesus prays that He might be glorified in what is to come, which we know is His death, burial and resurrection. When He came to earth, and the word became flesh, he set out on a mission, given to Him by God. Up until this point, He has told His disciples and others following His ministry that the time had not yet come…now is not the time. But here He says, “The time has arrived.”
Jesus came to earth to establish a new covenant community, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, made possible by His sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus will glorify God as He completes His work on earth that His Father has given Him to do. He is obedient unto death…even death on a cross.
But as amazing as the life and testimony of Jesus was, it was just a shadow of His glory. We know this because he prays in verse 5 for his glory to be restored when He is seated at the right hand of His Father. You see, when the word became flesh, He did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but He emptied Himself…of what? Of His glory. The incarnation veiled the glory of God.
He took on the form of bond servant, in the appearance of a man and He humbled Himself to become obedient unto death….even death on a cross. And notice that the disciples were given to Jesus as a part of that mission. They were chosen with a purpose. Their faith was manifested in their obedience to Christ’s words because they believed in His divine mission. What we know of the Messiah has been given to us by His disciples who were inspired by the gift of the Holy Spirit God had promised them - the mission for which Jesus came. Jesus has surrendered to the will of the Father…his disciples are learning to do the same, and so are we.