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JESUS ADDRESSES THE FATHER IN PRAYER.
John xvii. 1, 2. 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:
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. JESUS, having now ended the conversation, turns from his disciples, to God. They are fixed in silent awe, while our Redeemer pours forth his soul, first, in prayers for himself; and then in intercessions for the disciples, and for the innumerable company of believers, in that and in all future ages.
This prayer of Christ may be viewed as containing, in substance, every thing that he is continually asking on behalf of his Church, to the end of time. Wonderful condescension; that he should admit us, as it were, to overhear those petitions which he offers at the right hand of the Father ! Wonderful inspiration, likewise, of the Holy Ghost; who brought to the remembrance of this Evangelist the very words uttered by Jesus on this solemn occasion !
- He lifted up his eyes to heaven :" showing
thereby the composure, fixedness, intensity, and sublimity of his thoughts at that moment.-“ And said, Father, the hour is come.” As Son of God, he was the Eternal, addressing his Eternal Father: speaking with him of that “counsel of peace,” which had existed between them from eternity. But here, while mindful of his divinity, he yet speaks as Man.
“ Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things that he suffered.”
Jesus, the Mediator, speaks of events as happening to him in the order of Time.“ The hour is come.” The hour, waited for by the Church four thousand years: the hour, foretold again and again by prophets and righteous men, and never forgotten by the Mediator: the hour, which could not be accelerated a moment by all the malice of his enemies: but which was now, in the fulness of time, arrived ! It causes an involuntary thrill, to hear it announced, after long suspense, that the hour for taking some great step is come! Yet, ere he
forth to encounter all the malice of his foes, Jesus prays.—Our best preparative for any solemn duty or painful suffering, especially for our dying scene, is Prayer. Thus did Jesus prepare. Let us, in all times of our tribulation, arm ourselves with the same mind !
In his very prayer, which he offers up as Mediator, Christ nevertheless speaks in language, indicating his divine equality with the Father: “Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.”
Mutual honour would thus be done, by each to the other.
1. “Glorify thy Son." If we look to the predicted purposes of Christ, and to the remarkable manner in which this petition was subsequently answered, we may properly suppose his meaning to have been as follows.
Glorify me, by strengthening my human nature, under the almost overwhelming agonies which I must shortly endure: sustain me, that I may fully accomplish the work committed to me by
Thee. And this prayer the Father answered: sending him an angel from heaven to strengthen him in his agony. Afterwards, on the cross, when he suffered the hiding of God's countenance, yet within a while the favour of that countenance was again restored to him; so that he could with con
“ Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
Glorify me also, by giving some illustrious proof, that my sufferings shall avail to the salvation of all penitent and believing souls.—This also was granted, in the remarkable conversion of the dying malefactor: in whom the work of saving grace appears to have been begun and perfected, within a very short time before his expiring groan.
Glorify thy Son, by other tokens suited to attest his dignity and power. This the Father did, when he clothed the heavens with darkness; when the veil of the temple was rent, intimating that
the way to the Holiest was now made open; when the earth quaked, and the rocks rent, and the graves of many of the saints gave up their dead; when even the heathen Centurion was forced to acknowledge, “ Truly this was the Son of God.”
Glorify me also, by my resurrection from the dead; when it shall appear, that as thou, O Father, hast life in thyself, so hast thou given to the Son to have life in himself.
Glorify me by my ascension to heaven; when the Church shall know the truth of my parting words, “ All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth :” and when it shall be manifested by the descent of the Holy Ghost, that I have indeed obtained gifts for men.
Glorify me, finally, on my coming to judgment; when it shall be made eternally evident to the whole assembled human race, that thou hast committed all judgment unto the Son, and hast given him power over all flesh.
2. “That thy Son also may glorify Thee.” Christ designed to bring glory to the Father: and he did bring glory to him; first, by showing the perfect holiness and inflexible Justice of God; in that he spared not his own Son, but received him as a Victim, to expiate our guilt.
Herein also he glorified his Father; inasmuch as Jesus opened the way for displaying the infinite Mercy and love of God, consistently with his justice. God hath avenged his broken law; and yet he pardons the penitent sinner. He is, in Christ,
a just God and a Saviour:” he is “just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.”
Jesus will also glorify the Father, by finally conferring eternal life upon those, whom the Father hath given to Him, as the recompense of his meritorious sufferings and obedience unto death.
Thus was the glory mutual.—The Father and the Son were co-workers in this wonderful plan, combining justice and mercy. Infinite wisdom devised the plan : unchanging faithfulness confirmed it: almighty power accomplished it. All this would be present to the mind of Christ, when he commenced his prayer, saying, “ Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify Thee.”
And doth not our Lord teach us hereby, that the glory of the Eternal Godhead should be the chief desire of our hearts ?—In every work that we undertake, and in every prayer which we offer, the leading thought should be, " Hallowed be thy Name !”– Especially should our eyes delight in Tracing the beauty and harmony of the Divine Attributes, in the scheme of Man's redemption. We shall fully discern “ the glory of God,” only 66 in the face of Jesus Christ.”