17:22-26 "And I have given them the glory which you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I am in them, and you are in me, so that their unity with us and with each other may stand consummated and complete. I pray for this that the world may realize that you sent me, and that you loved them as you loved me. Father, it is my will that those whom you have given me should be with me where I am going, that they may see my glory which you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world did not know you, but I knew you, and these realized that you sent me. I have told them what you are like, and I will go on telling them, that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and that I may be in them."
Bengel, an old commentator, exclaimed as he began to comment on this passage: "O how great is the Christians' glory!" And indeed it is.
First, Jesus said that he had given his disciples the glory which his Father had given him. We must fully understand what that means. What was the glory of Jesus? There were three ways in which he talked of it.
(a) The Cross was his glory. Jesus did not speak of being crucified; he spoke of being glorified. Therefore, first and foremost, a Christian's glory is the cross that he must bear. It is an honour to suffer for Jesus Christ. We must never think of our cross as our penalty; we must think of it as our glory. The harder the task a knight was given, the greater he considered its glory. The harder the task we give a student, or a craftsman, or a surgeon, the more we honour him. In effect, we say that we believe that nobody but he could attempt that task at all. So when it is hard to be a Christian, we must regard it as our glory given to us by God.
(b) Jesus' perfect obedience to the will of God was his glory. We find our glory, not in doing as we like, but in doing as God wills. When we try to do as we like--as many of us have done--we find nothing but sorrow and disaster both for ourselves and for others. We find the real glory of life in doing Gods will; the greater the obedience, the greater the glory.
(c) Jesus' glory lay in the fact that, from his life, men recognized his special relationship with God. They saw that no one could live as he did unless he was uniquely near to God. As with Christ, it is our glory when men see in us the reflection of God.
Second, Jesus said that it was his will that his disciples should see his glory in the heavenly places. It is the Christian's conviction that he will share all the experiences of Christ. If he has to share Christ's Cross, he will also share his glory. "The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we shall also reign with him" ( 2 Timothy 2:11-12 ). Here in this world at best we see dimly in a mirror, but then we shall see face to face ( 1 Corinthians 13:12 ). The joy we have now is only a faint foretaste of the joy which is to come. It is Christ's promise that if we share his glory and his sufferings on earth, we shall share his glory and his triumph when life on this earth is ended. What greater promise could there be than that?
From this prayer Jesus was to go straight out to the betrayal, the trial and the Cross. He was not to speak to his disciples again. It is a wonderful and a precious thing to remember that before these terrible hours his last words were not of despair but of glory.
-Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT)