His First Prayer
In His great prayer, as recorded in John17, Jesus spent his last hour of freedom, not praying for Himself but for us. He prayed many things but for the next few weeks, I would like to focus on five of them.
This week we are looking at Jesus’ prayer that we should see His glory.
John 17:24 (NIV)
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
John talks a lot about seeing Jesus’ glory in his gospel, in fact in the introduction in chapter 1 he writes:-
John 1:14 (NKJV)
14 And the Word became 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.
As He is writing his gospel John confirms that Jesus’ prayer has already been answered in his time and so the question is, what is Jesus’ glory?
If we look through our bibles we can find references to the glory of God all the way through. From our recent sermons on Sunday, we have seen God displaying His glory in several ways with spectacular manifestations of His presence in the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire, the parting of the Red Sea and probably the most awe inspiring one on top of mount Sinai :-
Exodus 24:17 (NKJV)
17 The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.
Later, when Solomon had built the first temple, he brought the ark of the covenant and had it placed in the new temple. At that point, the glory cloud filled the temple:-
1 Kings 8:10–11 (NKJV)
10 And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.
We catch a glimpse of Jesus being glorified when he took Peter James and John up the Mount of Transfiguration and the scriptures describe how his appearance changed:-
Matthew 17:2–3 (NKJV)
2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
So far we have looked at one aspect of glory in that we have looked at the visible manifestations of Glory. John also talks about God’s glory being displayed in what Jesus does. In verse 4 Jesus says, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” Then a little later, in verse 22, Jesus says that he has transferred this glory to his disciples “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:” The implication here is that the working of miracles and healing and deliverances, all the ministry activities of Jesus that are referenced in Luke 4:18-19, were also showing the Glory of God.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
How is this relevant to us today you might ask? My answer would be that in seeking the presence of God through his Holy Spirit as we worship in our meetings, we should expect to see the glory of God in some way. Maybe in healing, maybe an answered prayer or salvation. From time to time we have sensed the manifest presence of God in our meetings so strongly that it became very easy to worship Him and see people healed and set free from issues affecting them. I think that the fact that we have not only survived but thrived during this Covid crisis is testimony to the Glory that God has planned for us as we come out on the other side.
The Last word by Bob Gass
“Have you ever encountered the glory of God? When Moses had been in it, his face shone. (See Exodus 34:29.) When Isaiah saw it, he cried, “Woe is me, for I am undone … for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5). Once you’ve experienced His glory, it becomes the standard by which all other experiences are measured.
It’s worshipers who bring the glory of God into the midst of His people! In the Psalms, we learn that God inhabits the praises of His people. (See Psalms 22:3.) The Japanese have a unique interpretation of this verse. Because they carried their Emperor on a great throne, they translate the verse like this, “When we praise God, we create a seat, and God comes down and sits in it.” How wonderful! Any time you make a seat of praise for Him, He always comes and sits in it. He will ride to work with you in the car. He’ll fill any room in your house, for He sits in the seat of your praise, and it’s there that He reveals to you His glory!”
Too many of us arrive in church preoccupied with what we can get, instead of what we can give. That’s got to change if we’re to experience the glory of God.
 Bob Gass, A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1998), 257.