The Death Wish

John 17:1 “Lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You.’”

Observation: Jesus had just completed His “Last Will and Testament” to believers, magnificently summing His life’s work on earth. But in John 17 the focus shifted. Here He began the true Lord’s Prayer: His prayer to His heavenly Father. In the first verse He twice uses the word glorify, once regarding Himself (“glorify Your Son”), and again as applied to His Father, (“that the Son may glorify You”).

Application: Jesus had spent His entire ministry on earth with one primary focus: to bring glory to the Father. He only spoke what the Father told Him to speak; He only did what the Father told Him to do. So this business of praying that He might bring glory to the Father was a perfect extension of everything His life had been about. He wanted above all else to shine a brilliant light on the Father, to exalt His beauty, His splendor, His majesty. 

But think for a moment about His other use of the word glorify as applied to Himself: “glorify Your Son.” Here the meaning is surely something profoundly different. It is inconceivable that in His last days on earth He would suddenly violate all His life principles by making Himself the focus, that He be the one seen as magnificent. In His applying the word glorify to Himself, I must see His voluntary agreement to die for me. His glorification was His death wish, a journey to the cross where He would be lifted up in a final spasm of agony mixed with ultimate victory. In this, He becomes my model, the substitutionary sacrifice, the Lamb of God made scapegoat for me. And astonishingly, He calls me to follow Him, participating in His suffering. 

He seals His remarkable plea in its application to me when He says in John 17:24, “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am.” There is within me complete and utter resistance to joining Jesus “where He is,” headed to His glorification on the cross. But without my voluntary death, I can have no part in Him. Without death, there can be no resurrection into newness of life. I must ask myself, what do I value? Is any part of my treasure to be found in clinging to hopes, aspirations, or treasures upon earth? Have I yet died to all things considered important here, that I might be alive to what He has said is important?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, how narrow indeed is Your path, and how easy it is to miss it entirely. There is no room for wandering, but only a call to perfectly and fully identify with You. I love You, Lord, and I choose to follow Your example. Bring me to the complete end of myself.

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