Looking at John 17:5, this article shows how the glory that Christ had with the Father from eternity was to be manifested through the cross and resurrection of Christ, resulting in the redemption of God's church.

Source: The Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, 2011. 2 pages.

Christ's Glory from Eternity

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

John 17:5

In this remarkable petition, Christ directs our attention to the glory He had prior to creation. On the threshold of the darkest hour of His humiliation, He yearns for the full restoration of the glory that He had with His Father as the co-eternal, co-equal, and co-essential Son of the Father. The nature and full extent of that glory is a profound mystery that transcends our finite and darkened understanding. And yet it has pleased the Holy Spirit to lift the veil of that mystery in some measure; we will therefore focus on what is recorded in Scripture regarding the pre-incarnate glory of Christ as the eternal and only begotten Son of the Father.

The importance of addressing this aspect of Christ’s glory is evident in the remarkable words of John 1:14:

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.

Though this glory was concealed behind the veil of His humanity, John beheld flashes of that glory as He witnessed Christ’s miracles and His omniscience. He also beheld a more dramatic display of that glory on the Mount of Transfiguration; an increasing display of that glory after Christ arose and ascended on high; and an unforgettable display of His brilliant glory on the Isle of Patmos.

This glory is an essential component of the Savior's identity. Hebrews 1:3 states that the eternal Son of God is “the brightness of His (Father’s) glory, and the express image of his (Father’s) person.” This means that in His divine person He is the radiance and reflection of who His Father is; His glory is therefore a replica of His Father’s glory. As the second person of the Trinity, the Son perfectly reflects the personhood of the Father as the first person of the Trinity. The Father eternally beholds in His Son, “who is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), a perfect reflection of Himself.

Something of this is unveiled in Proverbs 8:30, where the Son, speaking as the eternal Wisdom of the Father, declares, “I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.” John alludes to this relationship when he writes,

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

It is noteworthy that John writes that the only begotten Son is in the bosom or heart of the Father. From eternity past to eternity future, the Son resides in His Father’s heart and knows it from the inside out. This qualifies Him to be the One who declares to us who the Father is – which He does as the eternal and living Word of His Father. “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (Matthew 11:27). He could therefore state emphatically to Philip and the disciples, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father’’ (John 14:9).

This explains why John records eight separate testimonies that the Father loves His Son. That love was already expressed in the Old Testament when Jehovah declares, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth” (Isaiah 42:1). It was expressed when the Father declared at Christ’s baptism and on the Mount of Transfiguration, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” It is therefore the Father’s eternal objective to glorify His Son, for nothing so delights Him as to behold the glory of His Son.

When Christ petitioned His Father to glorify Him with His own self with the glory He had with Him before the world was, He touched His Father’s heartstrings! And yet Christ knew that this petition could not be granted apart from the cross. The Father would supremely glorify Him in His death and resurrection, and give Him a Name above every name (Philippians 2:8-9).

Therefore, what profound comfort that the Father complied with His Son’s petition! Therein lies the security of God’s church, for in promoting the glory of His Son, the Father is simultaneously promoting the redemption of His people. He chose us in the Son, gave us to Him, redeemed us by Him, has united us to Him, and is conforming us to Him; He will also glorify us to bask eternally in the glory of His Son. Jesus referred to this at the end of His high-priestly prayer, saying,

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.John 17:24

Thus, for all whom the Father has given to His Son, it will be confirmed: “Whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Romans 8:30).

What sacred obligation believers therefore have to aim for the glory of the Father’s Son, their precious Lord Jesus Christ! It so pleases and delights the Father when He sees in our walk a likeness to His Son, a glimmer of the glory of His Son – and how it must grieve Him when Christians bearing the name of His Son, dishonor Him by disobeying the Word of His Son.

May God grant that we, His adopted sons and daughters, would be preoccupied with the glory of His only begotten and well beloved Son, “being changed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is the glory He had before the world was and will forever radiate in the new heavens and earth, in which righteousness will dwell. The glory of God will lighten the heavenly Jerusalem, and the Lamb, the Father’s Son, will be the light thereof (Revelation 21:23). Thanks be to God for the unspeakable gift of His glorious Son! 

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