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08/10/2011 / Test All Things

A Study of John 17:1-5

The Glory of God (John 17:1-5, John 1:14, Psalm 19:1-3, Romans 1:18-20)

John 17:1
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

John 17:2
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

John 17:3
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

John 17:4
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

John 17:5
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

Where do we see the glory of God in this passage?

The glory of God manifests itself as “Victory over sin and Satan.” This is clearly seen in the Gospel of John 1:14, where we read, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

How did the disciples behold the glory of Christ?

Three of the disciples beheld Him on the Mount of Transfiguration, but all of them beheld Him when He died on the cross, and when He was buried and was raised again and ascended into heaven. They beheld Him “full of grace and truth.”

In other words, they beheld Him as being full of the favor of God as they could see by His miracles, and they beheld Him full of the truth of the Word of God as they could hear it by His teaching.

In addition, when we turn to John 17:4 the Lord Jesus said, “I have glorified thee on the earth.”

Does this not mean that the Lord Jesus glorified the Father by being obedient to the task for which He was sent to this earth, and for defeating Satan at the cross?

Indeed, this He did, and this was how He glorified the Father.

When we try to understand the glory of God we should first of all seek it in His victory over sin and Satan. This is a very large victory for God and Christ, for Satan is a big Dragon, as shown in Revelation 12:3. But Christ is the Dragon-slayer, and in this we can rejoice.

Then we also can see the glory of God in sparkle and shine. For example we see Him sparkle and shine on the Mount of Transfiguration, where He appeared with Moses and Elijah. And we see the sparkle and shine when we look at the display of God’s glory in the heavens. It is amazing to me that people can look at all the astronomical wonders, and not see that Almighty God must have created it.

When you find a watch on the ground in a forest, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

Do you think that the components of this watch came together by themselves, or did some watchmaker actually make this watch?

Of course you know that there must have been a watchmaker who made this watch.

And when you look up to the heavens and peer through a high magnification telescope and you see the wonders of this universe which are far more complex than an ordinary watch, would you think that God made all this and then He distanced Himself from all this beauty?

Of course not!

God retains a controlling finger in all of His creation, and then we begin to see the sovereignty of God in all of history. God says in Psalm 19:1-3,

Psalm 19:1<> The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Psalm 19:2
Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

Psalm 19:3
There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

To understand this properly we say that God speaks through His creation, and is showing us the glory of God in all of this. And it is so magnificent that it equals to say in clear language, “This is what God has made. There is a God for sure, and we are not able to deny it. We can see His handiwork everywhere we turn in this creation, from the greatness of this universe to the smallest genes and DNA molecules in living tissues.” God says in Romans 1:18-20,

Romans 1:18
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Romans 1:19
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

Romans 1:20
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

In other words, the glory of God is seen everywhere. Atheists are those who suppress this truth. But God says, “No one has an excuse. All will be judged who are suppressing this truth.”

I Have Glorified Thee on the Earth (John 17:4, Hebrews 1:3, John 4:24, Matthew 9:8, Matthew 11:25, Galatians 4:4, Philippians 2:8)

John 17:4
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

How did the Lord Jesus glorify the Father while He was living on this earth?

He did it first of all in His person. We can see that clearly in the Epistle to the Hebrews, in Hebrews 1:3.

Hebrews 1:3
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

What is God saying here?

Christ is the irradiation of God’s glory.

The Mediator’s relation to the Godhead is like that of the daylight rays to the sun itself.

Apart from Christ the brightness of God’s glory could not be seen by us.

Without Christ, man is in the dark, utterly in the dark concerning God.

It is only in Christ that God is revealed.

All that God is in His nature and character is expressed and manifested, absolutely and perfectly, by His incarnate Son.

It means that all true knowledge of God must come from His approach unto us, for we cannot by “reaching” find Him out.

He upholds all things, both visible and invisible, in heaven and in earth, not only creatures but also all events.

As you know we understand “providence” as the hands of God, which are carrying out what God has decreed in His counsel before the foundation of the world. The man Christ Jesus has received the dignity and the dominion to carry out what God has designed to come to pass. In other words, the whole universe hangs on His arm. His unsearchable wisdom and His boundless power are manifested in governing and directing all the complicated movements of animate and inanimate objects, and He is directing all the rational and irrational beings to the attainment of His own great purposes. And He does this by the word of His power, or by His powerful word. And when He by Himself had purged our sins, He sat down at the right hand of God the Father.

Does God the Father have a right hand?


The Lord Jesus said in John 4:24, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” And so, God the Father does not have a right hand. The reason God dictated it this way in Hebrews 1:3 is to indicate that the Lord Jesus Christ, the man Christ Jesus, received the power from God to be the primary executioner of the providence of God from the time He ascended into heaven. In Him rests all authority in Heaven and in earth, because at the cross He earned the right to be King of kings and Lord of lords.

Then the Lord Jesus glorified the Father in three more ways.

Secondly, He glorified the Father in His miracles. For example, when the Lord Jesus healed the paralytic who was led down through the roof, we read in Matthew 9:8, “But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.”

Thirdly, the Lord Jesus glorified the Father in His words by constantly ascribing all praise to Him. When the Lord Jesus lamented about the unbelief among His own countrymen He said in Matthew 11:25, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”

Fourthly, the Lord Jesus glorified the Father by His holy life. For example, we read in Galatians 4:4, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,” and He was obedient to that law, even to the death of the cross, for we read in Philippians 2:8, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Having said this, how the Lord Jesus glorified the Father, let us now ask ourselves if we have also glorified the Father?

How Have WE Glorified Him? (Ephesians 2:8-9, John 6:29, Ephesians 2:10, Philippians 2:13)

The way in which we glorify God is to declare faithfully His Gospel of salvation by grace alone. Notice that I did not say salvation by faith alone, like so many preachers say today, for that is an expression which can easily be a trap. Salvation is only by grace.

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that (that faith) not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Ephesians 2:9
Not of works, lest any man should boast.

You see, salvation is only by grace, and grace means God’s unmerited favor. And when God has poured His unmerited favor upon us He gives us faith. Faith is the result of salvation, but never the cause of salvation. The cause is always grace. The Lord Jesus said in John 6:29, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” And thus faith is a work of God, and when someone is saved God gives that person the faith which is the work of God. In that way faith is a gift from God, and it is a gift given by grace.

Many people do not want to consider that their view of faith is a work. They say it is just making a decision for Jesus. But making a decision is work. There are many people in this world whose job it is just to make decisions, and they are usually well paid for doing that. Making a decision for Jesus would be something that WE DO, and thus it qualifies to be a work. Look at the sentence structure of Ephesians 2:8. We read there, “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that (that faith) not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

What is not of yourselves?

Is it grace or faith?

It could not refer to grace, because we already know that it is a gift from God, for unmerited favor is a gift from God. And thus it is the faith that is a gift from God. And to make sure that we understand this, God says, “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” And thus no work of any kind will be able to assist us in coming in faith to Christ. Only by the grace of God, as manifested by being Born Again, shall we come to Christ as servants of Christ.

When we are Born Again all our sins are wiped away, because the Lord Jesus Christ has paid for all our sins the full price, which is the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. And even though that payment was made in AD 33, it is being applied at the time that we are Born Again. And beginning at that moment in history everything falls into place. It is important to know if we have been Born Again and we can recognize that when we are driven to do good works. But God says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

In other words: Our good works are not our works. God has foreordained that those works are to be done by us; God prepared those works and we simply should walk in them and through them. To this the words of Philippians 2:13 fully agree, for there we read, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” This we must faithfully declare, for through these works we will glorify the Father. Then we read in John 17:4…

I Have Finished the Work (John 17:4, Hebrews 10:7, Romans 2:28-29, John 4:34, John 19:30, Isaiah 53:12, Isaiah 17:11)

John 17:4
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

Did the Lord Jesus finish His work at the time that He spoke these words while walking from the upper room to the Garden of Gethsemane?

Not by a long shot. When the Lord said this He gave us a proleptical vision.

What is a proleptical vision?

It is a vision of a future event or future task as if that future event or future task already has taken place or has been completed. We cannot have such a proleptical vision for we cannot see into the future. But the Lord Jesus could, for He is the union of God the Son and the man Christ Jesus. He could say in Hebrews 10:7, “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”

The volume of the Book refers to the entire Bible. The Lord Jesus Christ is found in the entire Bible; this is how we should read the Bible. By looking for and finding types and figures for Christ and for the Gospel of Christ we can see the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the Bible.

For example, when we read the Prophecy of Esther in the Old Testament, we read about the affairs of the Jews. This story does not only refer to Old Testament Jews, for then it becomes a carnal story about the generation of the Feast of Lights. But it should also be interpreted with New Testament eyes, and we should see that the meaning of Jews after the cross, as defined in Romans 2:28-29, applies here, so that this story becomes a powerful testimony of the defeat of Satan at the cross, and the completion of the work of Christ at the end of time.

But more so, when we look at the works of Christ, how can we see that Christ finished the work He came to do?

In the event of the salvation of the Samaritans the Lord Jesus said in John 4:34, “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”

In the event of the crucifixion the Lord Jesus said in John 19:30, “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

What was finished?

He still hung on the cross, He was still bleeding from His head and His back and from His hands and His feet, and He still had something to say with a loud voice, “Father, into Thy Hands I comment My Spirit.”

And so, what was finished when He stated “It is finished”?

Was this another proleptical vision?

Most certainly it was not. He finished paying for our sins in His soul, for we must remember that God says in Isaiah 53:12, “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” But now we have to ask:

What Work Was Finished in Us? (Matthew 1:21, Romans 4:25, Romans 5:5, John 13:34-35, Hebrews 11:1, 1 John 5:13)

First of all, what was the work of God that was finished in us?

It was the work that Christ has done for us and within us. It was the work of saving us from our sins and from the consequences of our sins (Matthew 1:21). Before the foundation of the world God the Father chose us and put us in God the Son. Then God the Son united Himself with the man Christ Jesus in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and when He was of age He went to be crucified to pay for the guilt of the sins of all those whom the Father has placed in Him. And thus, we were crucified with Christ, we died with Christ, we were buried with Christ, and we rose from the dead with Christ by reason of the fact that we were in Christ all along, even now.

Then we read in Romans 4:25, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”

What does it mean to be justified?

It means to be declared just, or righteous, in the sight of God. This means that all our sins were no longer an offense in the sight of God. The guilt of our sins was paid for by the Lord Jesus Christ and was taken away when Christ completed His atonement by rising from the dead.

Many years later we came into the world still as enemies of God and totally in the power of sin and Satan. But then when we became Born Again God the Holy Spirit applied the payment that Christ has made on the cross, and took away all our sins, so that we were transformed from servants of Satan to servants of Christ.

And then we read in Romans 5:5 “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

This was the work of God that was finished in us. But the Lord gave us a task to do after He saved us.

Can we see that this prayer of the Lord had also the purpose of stimulating us to love and good works?

The love of God was shed abroad in our hearts in order that we may love Christ more every day, and that we may love one another. This was one of the most urgent commands the Lord Jesus gave us. He said in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

And not only are we to love one another in the church, but we must also love those who are outside the church, for we must bring the Gospel to them. Remember, most people have never heard this Gospel of grace alone, and thus we must pity them, for all the unsaved shall have their part in the lake of fire.

And here is the million dollar question:

How do we know if we have been saved?

How can we be sure?

The Lord desires us to know if we have been saved. This is a basic principle that God lays down in the Bible. For example we read in 1 John 5:13, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

This verse only expresses the urgency to know that we have eternal life. Many people are deceived, thinking that it is something that they have done which determines if they have eternal life. But God tells us in Hebrews 11:1 how we can know for sure.

We read in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

What are the “things hoped for”?

It is the hope that we indeed are the children of God.

What are the things not seen?

They are the promises of God toward those who are His elect, His adopted children, who are the Bride of Christ, who love Him and who love Christ, because He has made us Born Again and has washed us from our sins.

What then is the substance of things hoped for, and likewise what is the evidence of things not seen?

Do you see that the same question is stated twice in this verse?

It is the substance that we are the children of God, and it is the evidence that we are the children of God. Faith is that substance, and faith is that evidence. That is what God says here in Hebrews 11:1. Look how this completely agrees with the context. Hebrews 10:39 says, “But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”

The emphasis is on “them that believe”, because they have received this faith as a gift from God. And see how this fits in with the meaning of Hebrews 11:2, “For by it the elders obtained a good report.”

What is it by which the saints of old received a good report before God?

Faith, which they received as a gift from God. Now look at our own faith and examine if this is something that we received as a gift from God.

Is our faith genuine?

Can we see by our actions and our desires if our love for God and for Christ is greater than our love for this world?

Can we truly say that we love Christ more than our own children?

God will confront us with this test some day, and then we will know for sure. Our faith must not rest on something that we have done, like our baptism, but it must rest entirely on what Christ has done for us and to us. And that is the work that was finished in us.

The Work Which Thou Gavest Me to Do (John 17:4, Daniel 9:24, Romans 4:8, Genesis 3:15)

John 17:4
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

In this study we willnot address all of the works which the Lord Jesus came to do. But there is one remarkable verse which addresses the most important aspects of what the Lord Jesus came to do. We read in Daniel 9:24 about six things that the Lord Jesus came to do:

Daniel 9:24
Seventy weeks (Lit: Seventy sevens) are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

Seventy times seven years is 490 years. From the going forth of the command of king Artaxerxes to Ezra the priest in 458 BC, to the cross in AD 33 is exactly 490 years. Seventy sevens are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city.

Who are the people of God that are siding with Ezra?

They are all the elect, chosen from all nations of the earth, a remnant chosen by grace.

And what holy city is God speaking about?

It is Jerusalem that is above, but it is not the Jerusalem of bricks and mortar there east of the Mediterranean. The holy city is the city of God, the New Jerusalem.

What does it mean “To finish the transgression”?

What transgression does God refer to?

We can point to some heinous transgressions which are really shocking, but that is not what is in view. What is in view is the love of God to forgive us our sins. And there is no sin so great that Christ cannot forgive. And when Christ has atoned for the sins of each one of His elect on the cross, He has really finished our transgressions; they are no more offenses in the sight of God.

And then we read, “To make an end of sins.”

Is this really true?

Is it possible that after Christ atoned for our sins there are no more sins added to our account?

And that is indeed the case, for God says in Romans 4:8, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

Everyone of God’s elect has been blessed in this way. We are of all men the most blessed, for we have become the children of the mightiest King of kings in this universe.

Then we read, “To make reconciliation for iniquity.”

To reconcile means to bring peace to two warring parties. Our iniquity has separated us from God. God became our enemy. But when Christ atoned for our sins our iniquity has been replaced by reconciliation between God and us. We are now at peace with God.

Then we read, “To bring in everlasting righteousness.” Now that Christ atoned for our sins God declared us righteous in His sight, and this righteousness is forever; we can never lose it.

Then we read, “To seal up the vision and prophecy.”

What visions and prophecy is God referring to?

He is referring to all of them. All the Old Testament visions and prophecies concerning Christ’s death have been fulfilled at the cross of Christ, for they were all pointing to Christ and to His atoning work on the cross.

And then we read at the end of Daniel 9:24, “To anoint the most Holy.”

The most Holy is the Messiah who has been promised since Genesis 3:15. He is the Holy One of Israel. He is the anointed one, and the word Christ means “the anointed one.” When the Lord Jesus Christ finished His atonement in He was elevated to be “The Christ, the Anointed One, the Firstborn from the dead, the Ruler of all creation in heaven and on earth, and in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”

Thus, at the cross all the promises of Daniel 9:24 were fulfilled completely. These were the works that the Father gave the Lord Jesus to do.

What Is the Work God Gave US to Do? (2 Peter 3:18, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, Philippians 1:21)

We have already talked about justification.

Is it then not logical to see that the Lord wants us to continue in sanctification?

This is true, but we need something specific in sanctification. The first thing that comes to our mind is written in 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

And why should we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord if we cannot lose our salvation?

Are we not safe and secure forever. That is true, but we are also called to love our neighbor as ourselves, and it is for our neighbor that we study the Word so that we continue to be more proficient in presenting the truths that God has placed in the Bible. You see, God gave us the ministry of seeking those that are willing to listen to the Bible, so that God can save who have come under the hearing of the true Gospel. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19,

2 Corinthians 5:18
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

2 Corinthians 5:19
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

What is this ministry of reconciliation?

It is the ministry of evangelism. It is the ministry of bringing the Gospel to whosoever is willing to listen to us. You see, this is our task, and through this task God teaches us to love the unlovables, to love those who are not worthy of the love of God. But think again: At one time we were those unlovables, and we were those who were not worthy of the love of God. But God proved us wrong and God saved us. So do not despair. Pray for those who are in the pit of debauchery, and in the pit of selfishness, and pity them, for they do not know what peace they are missing, and they do not know the wrath of God. But God has given us this task as a beautiful instrument to further grow in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord. We do not do this work just because the Lord commanded us to do it. But we do this work because we love it and we love the people to whom we are bringing this Gospel. And then we can say, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Praise God for His wisdom in arranging it this way.


By Alfred J. Chompff

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