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John 17:4-5 | "Glorify Me"

[John 17] He Said, "Father"  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Sunday, December 12, 2021. John 17:4-5 | "Glorify Me" In the first prayer of Christ, Jesus prays to the Father relationally as "Son." In this second prayer, Jesus prays personally as "me." What is the difference? The answer is the purpose of Christmas! This sermon reveals a personal prayer, an obedient prayer, and a costly prayer that explains the meaning of "Immanuel" - God with us! This message preaches from John 17:4-5. It is part of a preaching series through John 17, "He Said, 'Father'" The title of this sermon is "Glorify Me."

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I. Reading of Scripture

[ Prayer ]
A reading from John 17:1-5
John 17:1 ESV
1 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 17:2 ESV
2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
John 17:3 ESV
3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
John 17:4 ESV
4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
John 17:5 ESV
5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
This is God’s Word.
[ Say Amen ]


This Christmas season, we are asking the question:
Why did Jesus come?
Why did heaven come down to earth? Why did God become a man? Why was Christ born into the world as a baby, born of a virgin, in Bethlehem?
The simple answer “to save sinners, such as me” is sufficient but not complete.
Why did Jesus come? — It is a Christmas question.
And in search of a more complete answer, we are turning to prayer.
Not just any prayer, but —
The Prayers of CHRISTmas
which are the prayers of Christ Himself.
John 17 is a prayer of Jesus.
So this Christmas, we are moving from incarnation to intercession, completing the circuit of the Christmas story —a story which did not begin on earth with a donkey, a stable and a manger — but a story which began in Heaven before the world was created, as the star, the angelic hosts, and this prayer remind us.
Heaven came to earth - the Word became flesh, so that earth might see “his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1.14).
If we want to learn why Jesus came, we must look at what Jesus prayed.
We can tell a lot about a person by the context, the posture, the address and the content of that person’s prayers.
Listen to how someone prays, and you will see the heart exposed. You will see passions, the will, the motivations and desires.
What do our prayers reveal about us?
What did Jesus’ prayers reveal about Him?
In John’s gospel, Jesus had just finished his “final discourse” - his final message to his disciples before the cross.
In his final words of his final discourse, he spoke about “overcoming the world” as an already accomplished fact by which his followers should take courage.
Then at the beginning of Chapter 17, God’s Word says —
John 17:1 ESV
1 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,
This was the FIRST prayer of Christ —
“glorify your Son”
It was a prayer of anticipation. Jesus did not do anything without prayer. This prayer came as the hour had come for fulfilling what Jesus had longed for and lived for.
It was also a relational petition: God was His Father — not Joseph, but God — the Father, the holy Father, the righteous Father. And He was God’s Son.
In perfect Father-Son relationship, Jesus asks first and preeminently, that the Son be glorified for a purpose - so that the Son may glorify the Father.
Jesus has a purpose for his prayer and a purpose for his coming — and that preeminent purpose is His Father’s glory.
The Father is glorified as the world learns of His steadfast love and faithfulness through the obedience of the Son.
The Father is glorified as the world knows Him, the only true God, through Jesus Christ whom He has sent.

II. The Exhortation

The second prayer of CHRISTmas is like the first.
In verse 1, Jesus prays “glorify your Son.”
In verse 5, we are given the second prayer of Christ:
“glorify me”
Not — “glorify your Son” but “glorify me.”
Both prayers are prayed by and prayed about the same person — Jesus.
But the words shift in a significant way —
In the first prayer, Jesus speaks of Himself relationally as “Son,” but in the second prayer, Jesus speaks of Himself personally as “me.”
Why does Jesus pray “glorify your Son” and then pray “glorify me”? —
What is the difference?
The difference is Christmas! The difference is the incarnation. The difference is Immanuel!
Matthew 1:23 ESV
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Jesus prayed two prayers for glory, one in view of his humanity - He is man, and the other in view of his divinity - He is God.
In the first prayer, “glorify your Son,” Jesus desires that His Father be glorified through His work on earth - as Son.
This is the glory of the Son’s humanity - God becoming man to bring the Father glory on earth.
But in this second prayer, “glorify me,” Jesus desires the glory he had before - the glory he left - in the presence of His Father in Heaven.
This is the glory of the Son’s divinity.
(See Pillar, 557).
Why is this distinction important? Why is this second prayer important?
It reveals to us that Jesus is God - and we are not.
Jesus is God, and we are not.
This prayer “Glorify Me” is a prayer that only Jesus can pray. Yet, it is a prayer that we regularly pray for ourselves, and don’t realize it.
“Glorify me.”
That’s what we really want, in our flesh, isn’t it?
That’s what I really want humanly speaking, isn’t it?
It’s what happens in a prayer meeting when someone begins to pray and makes the prayer all about himself or herself.
“O God, I really need this…I really want that…I really hope for this...”
We make prayer all about my desires, not God’s.
We make the prayer all about what I want, not what God wants.
We begin with me, not with God.
It’s like singing “I exalt me....I exalt me....I exalt me…O Lord.”
Make much of ME. Raise up high — ME. Make great — ME.
We think too highly of ourselves to the point that we seek the glory of ourselves.
We climb the ladders so that WE might be the ones on the top.
We aspire to oversee so that WE might be in control.
We are sinfully predisposed to make much of ourselves and apart from Christ that will never change.
This is sin. One that we are to avoid. One that the apostle Paul wrote about to the church in Corinth [ 1 Corinthians 1.26-29 — ] when he wrote:
1 Corinthians 1:26 ESV
26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
1 Corinthians 1:27 ESV
27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
1 Corinthians 1:28 ESV
28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,
1 Corinthians 1:29 ESV
29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
We, as human beings, have no reason to boast in the presence of God.
Yet Jesus prays here, in verse 5:
John 17:5 ESV
5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
“glorify me in your own presence.”
There is something special about Jesus’ humanity. This is a prayer that only Jesus can pray, for Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and the Scriptures would have us understand therefore, that this means
Jesus IS God.
Yes — the baby in the manger, is the Word that was with God and that was God, in the beginning with God, through whom all things were made, whose light is the light of men, whose light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it (Jn 1.1-5).
Jesus IS God.
Without this second prayer of Christ, “glorify me,” we would lose a powerful statement of Christ’s divinity. A reminder of His eternality. And Jesus is the only one who can pray this prayer.
This is a personal prayer.
This prayer rehearses what Jesus has done and accomplished in direct obedience to His Father’s will.
It is an obedient prayer.
And lastly - with this second prayer of Christ, we receive a sense of the personal loss, the immeasurable cost, of what Jesus gave up to obey His Father and accomplish His Father’s will not just in Heaven, but here on earth.
This is a costly prayer.

III. The Teaching

Look with me again at verse 4. Jesus prays:
John 17:4 ESV
4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
The first word is “I.” And the “I” didn’t come in the opening statement as we often do in our prayers.
We pray like this —
I just want to thank you, God.”
I just want to come before you, God.”
We’ve conditioned our prayers to reflect more of "I” than Him.
But Jesus is not praying egocentric prayers — Self-centered prayers. Prayers that give a nod to His Father but are really about me.
These prayers are addressed TO His Father and are about His Father’s will —
Jesus is praying Theocentric prayers. He is praying to His Father in view of all that His Father has said and done both relationally, and on then, personally.
The “I” wasn’t the first prayer Jesus prayed. But only after beginning with God, does Jesus’ prayer become —

A. A personal prayer (4a).

Jesus prays:
John 17:4 ESV
4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
“I glorified you on earth...”
Even this personal prayer is not about Jesus but about His Father.
“I glorified YOU on earth...”
Did you know, that it is possible to glorify our Heavenly Father on earth?
How do we know? — Because that’s what Jesus did.
We can glorify our Heavenly Father on earth because that’s what Jesus did.
Jesus glorified His Father on earth. How did he do that?
This is where a personal prayer becomes:

B. An obedient prayer (4b).

John 17:4 ESV
4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
“…having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”
Glorifying God on earth means accomplishing the work that God gives us to do.
That’s obedience.
We cannot glorify God without faithful obedience.
It doesn’t matter how many good things my children do, if they do not obey me they are not honoring me.
It doesn’t matter how many good things we do, if we are not obeying our Father in Heaven we are not honoring Him or glorifying Him!
Did you know, that God has prepared good works for us?
Did you know that God saves us so that we can accomplish those works?
Ephesians 2:8 ESV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
Ephesians 2:9 ESV
9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:10 ESV
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
As we are born again, to new life in Christ, we are assigned good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Our lives are not our own!
Our ambitions, our goals in life, our dreams mean nothing if they are not the works God has prepared beforehand for us to walk in.
It’s fine to dream. It’s great to plan. It’s good to set goals. But
It is far better to pray and obey.
That’s what Jesus did. That’s what glorified His Father on earth.
Notice the language again:
John 17:4 ESV
4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
That word “accomplished” is the word “to finish,” “To bring to completion” (LN).
It’s a word that Jesus would speak again two chapters later while hanging on the cross: “It is finished.”
The cross wasn’t the first time he said that.
The saying on the cross was just a repetition of what was already resolved.
Jesus was so resolved, so committed, so determined to follow through with the cross, to fulfill the will of His Father, that He speaks here in His prayer BEFOREHAND, as if the cross is already accomplished.
I wonder if we have such a resolve to obey God?
To stand in the truth, and be obedient to His Word no matter what?
There is a story of a man who wouldn’t tell his wife that he loved her. For years, she wanted to hear that affirmation but he wouldn’t say those words “I love you.”
Finally, the wife asked WHY — Why do you not tell me you love me?
To which the man replied in surprise: I told you once when we were married. I figured I’d let you know if I change my mind.
That’s not a good idea in marriage, but that is a great illustration of the kind of resolve we should have in obedience to God.
“Father - the answer is “YES and AMEN” to whatever your will is, to whatever your Word says. I don’t need to say yes again, because my first YES still stands.
Jesus spoke of what was to come, as already being accomplished.
John 17:4 ESV
4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
This is a personal prayer. This is an obedient prayer.
But it is also —

C. A Costly Prayer (v.5)

This is a costly prayer. Prayer is not cheap. Prayer is not free. Prayer will cost us something.
Look with me at verse 5, as Jesus prays —
John 17:5 ESV
5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
Jesus is praying about what will happen when he returns to His Father in Heaven.
Jesus has asked His Father for glory on earth, and desires the same for His return to Heaven.
“glorify me in your own presence with the glory I had with you...”
A couple of things I want you to see from this prayer.
Jesus asks for this glory when He returns to Heaven.
Jesus doesn’t treat this heavenly glory as a right, an assumption or foregone conclusion.
Jesus doesn’t pray with an entitlement mindset.
“God you owe me this.”
“God I demand this.”
“God I deserve this.”
“God I earned this.”
No! Jesus prayed for this, as He prayed about everything, knowing that He only has what He has because His Father gives it to Him.
So He asks.
But SECOND - notice that
Jesus is not yet in His Father’s own presence.
Jesus is praying for something that is yet to be.
And watch this, church —
Standing between Jesus’ prayer, and the Father’s answer, is what — ?
A cross.
Prayer is costly.
Jesus must go THROUGH the cross to receive the answer to this prayer.
Prayer is costly.
Church, what things must we endure to receive the answer to our prayers? Do we think about that?
We ask for things from God, as if prayer is like shopping. Walking through the store aisles, perusing the merchandise on the shelf.
But we ask for what we want without looking at the price tag.
Prayer is costly.
There is a price to the answer you want.
Sometimes we do not have what we ask for because we aren’t asking for the right reasons.
Sometimes we do not have what we ask for because we are not ready for it and it is not the right time.
For Jesus to be glorified in His Father’s own presence with the glory that He had with the Father before the world existed, meant that Jesus must first go THROUGH the cross.
What must we go through for our prayers to be answered?
Someone once warned: “Don’t pray that God will give you patience. Don’t do that. For you don’t want what God may send you to teach you patience.”
Prayers are costly. And often we won’t know the cost. Because
With God, it isn’t about the cost. It’s about our WILLINGNESS to pay the cost.
If God told us the price we must pay for the answers we pray, many of us would say “NOPE! No, Thank you, God! I’m not interested in paying that. That’s too high. That’s too costly.”
Too many of us are cheap. We don’t want quality, we want a deal.
Yet, Jesus knew the cost of his heavenly glory, he knew what it meant to His Father. JESUS KNEW - and He paid it all. He did what we could not and WOULD not ever do if we knew.
Yesterday, Marianne and I celebrated our 11th Wedding Anniversary. (For us, 11 years is a long time). A lot of life has happened in these 11 years for both of us.)
Last night, we had put our children to bed. Marianne was holding baby Audrey. And I said “It’s hard to imagine what life was like before we knew Addison, Caden and Audrey.” It’s hard to think about life before being married and sharing life together.
We are so blessed with the family we have. But we did not know 11 years ago, what we know now, about the price we have paid over these years, the sacrifices we’ve made, the cost we continue to pay as we invest in the answers to the prayers we have prayed for.
There is a cost for what we ask God for in prayer.
The question is - are we willing to pay that cost?
Southside Baptist Church -
Some of us have been asking God for a healthy church. A biblical church. A growing church. A soul-winning church. A disciple-making church. A missional church. A younger church. A multi-generational church. A future church.
We pray for a future that we want, that we believe God wants.
But are we willing to pay the cost for it?
Are we willing to sacrifice for it?
Are we willing to submit for it?
Are we willing to invest our resources toward it?
I say this in love as your pastor. You need someone to say the truth in love. I hope you receive what I’m saying in love.
I don’t think you are willing!
I think many are too tired, or too content in being led along as you have been for so many years by the same people without any watchfulness or question.
I don’t think you are willing!
And I can’t change our will. It’s not enough that I want something, or that my family wants something, but we all must want the same thing. We all must be on the same side. We all must work together with the same passion and fervency and mission.
We look at other churches, we window shop, we dream, we compare but when it comes time to write the check of obedience, to put feet to our dreams, to commit and return to the Scriptures, to change the way we’ve always done something, to learn something new with humility...
What I am saying today, is that there is a cost for what we are praying for.
And if we aren’t willing to lay down our lives, and submit our wills to follow our Lord and Leader and His Word then we should stop praying for what we are praying for.
Because we aren’t praying in faith, with a readiness and resolve to obey.
We sing — Jesus paid it all ALL TO HIM I OWE.
Not some, not part, but ALL. Do we mean that?
And if we are the true Church, if Jesus is building His Church in Southside Baptist Church - then Jesus must be our Lord and Chief Shepherd. We must follow His Word and Ways.
We must give Jesus our Sundays and our Mondays and our every day.
Someone said:
“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”
To follow Jesus, as a true disciples, as a true follower - means we die.
Luke 9:23 ESV
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Standing betwen Jesus and the answer to His prayer was the cross.
And Church - standing between us and the answer to our prayer is a cross too.
Will we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus?
Jesus prayed —
John 17:5 ESV
5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
Prayer is costly. This prayer reveals what Jesus set aside - for His Father’s glory, and for our salvation.
And this brings us to —

IV. The [Christ] Conclusion

Jesus prayed: “Glorify Me.”
This is the second Prayer of CHRISTmas. The second prayer of Christ.
This is our prayer too. That we might glorify Christ in all that we say and all that we do and thereby bring glory to Our Father in Heaven.
We cannot glorify Christ if we act contrary to Christ.
We cannot be led by Christ if we will not submit to Christ.
Sin makes it impossible for us to follow Christ. Sin makes it impossible for us to pray!
Jesus came into the world, Jesus became a man, so that He might accomplish the work the Father has given Him to do — a work of paying for our sin through death on a cross. Of being buried. And a work of being raised by the power of God, to the glory of God, so that we all might believe in the Son, and receive eternal life by faith, and have a relationship with God in which we too - might pray for His will and His glory.
Hebrews 12:1 ESV
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Hebrews 12:2 ESV
2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
[ 3,917 Words (33 Minutes) ]
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