“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:1-4).
What would you be praying about if you knew you were about to die and had less than 24 hours left to live on this earth? Would you pray that God would give you more time? Would you pray that God would remove the threat of death from your life?
It is understandable that a person would want their life to be prolonged and the threat of death removed. After all, immediately before His arrest, Jesus prayed “if it is possible let this cup pass from me” (Matthew 26:39, 42, 44). If there was any other way for God to accomplish man’s salvation besides Jesus’ having to die, Jesus prayed that this might be done (Matthew 26:39, 42). However, God’s answer was there was no other way to save man (John 3:16).
However, just before praying to God about removing the suffering He was about to experience from Him, Jesus prayed another prayer that the apostle John records for us (John 17:1-26). In this prayer Jesus shares with His Father how He had kept God’s Will on earth (John 17:4). He had done this by faithfully imparting to His disciples God’s Word (John 17:6), by manifesting to them that He had come from God (John 17:6-8), encouraging His disciples to remain faithful to God (John 17:12), and by showing them how to love one another with God’s love (John 17:23).
Furthermore, not only did Jesus pray that He had glorified His Father on the earth, but He also asks His Father to glorify Him as He is about to enter into this incredible trial which will end with His being nailed to the cross. Jesus says, “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5). Jesus requests His Father to glorify Him by helping to keep His disciples faithful to God as Jesus was about to depart from them (John 17:11, 15), by keeping them united with one another (John 17:20-23), and loving one another (John 17:26). Jesus knew He would be glorified not only by His Father restoring to Him the glory He had before He came to the earth (John 17:5), but also through the continued ministry of His disciples who carried on His great work after He left them as they continued to adhere to the truths He taught them and live lives that followed His example (John 17:10, 17-19).
I would love to pray as I lay on my deathbed, “Father, I have glorified You on the earth”. Of course, I would not pray this prayer out of arrogance because I know that God has saved me by His wonderful grace and by my responding to that grace by placing my faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8-9). I also realize that my being able to say I have glorified God on this earth means not only that I have sought to follow God’s truth myself, but also that I have treated my brethren with love striving to work with them in a spirit of unity. On my deathbed, I pray that I have lived such a faithful life to God that I could have confidence and say, “Father, I have glorified You on the earth” (John 17:4). Today, I will strive to live a life that glorifies the Lord (Matthew 5:16)!
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).