Around 190 AD, St Irenaeus wrote, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” Think about that quote. What is glory? What does it mean to be fully alive?
When Moses asked God, “Now show me your glory,” God responded by saying, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence” (see Exodus 33:18–19). The glory of God is the same as the goodness of God, which is the same as the loving nature of God. We glorify God when we live abiding in His love and take on His loving nature. It is a whole new way of living life on earth.
Many Christians today understand that eternal life in heaven is completely a gift of God’s grace given to all who believe in Jesus. But when it comes to living life on earth, all too often we fall back into relying on a mix of God’s grace and self-effort. We have our own “good” laws that we try to obey: go to church, read the Bible, pray. But, even with a born-again spirit, the soul, with all its knowledge of rules, can never make us to be “good” as God designed. God has a grand and glorious plan for our lives on earth. He wants to share His glory with us!
We believed to receive eternal life. Can we also believe that we are meant to live our lives on earth filled with the glory and loving nature of God? That promise may seem too good to be true, but it is just as much a part of God’s plan as eternal life. God created us to radiate His glory—to manifest His love. In the beginning, when God created Adam, He said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). We were created in the image of God!
Paul states it clearly. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:29–30). Then, a few verses later, Paul expounds on God’s love—the basis for all of His promises to us.
In John chapter 17, Jesus prays for those promises to become a reality in our lives. Jesus asks for us to be like Him in this world. He prays that we would be in unbroken relationship with our Father—just as He has been. He asks that the love of God would be in us—just as it was in Him. And Jesus petitions His Father that the world would see God’s love through us—just as it has seen it through Him.
Read John 17:18–26, below.
18 “As you sent me into the world, I
have sent them into the world.
19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
20 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we
23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.
2 6I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Q. 1. Who is Jesus praying for in this passage?
Q. 2. In this prayer Jesus mentions at least five ways (see verses 18–23) that He and His disciples are similar. What are some of those ways?
Q. 3. What do these similarities between Jesus and His followers tell you about God’s intent for humanity?
Q. 4. According to verses 21 and 23, how is it that the world will come to believe that Jesus is God?
Q. 5. In what ways is this similar to or different from how you have shared (or seen others share) Christ?
Q. 6. Considering the introduction to this lesson, what do you think it means in verse 22 when Jesus says He has given us His glory?
Q. 7. In what ways does Romans 8:29–30 (see the introduction to this lesson) relate to Jesus’ prayer for our glory in verse 22?
Q. 8. In verses 22 and 23, Jesus uses the word “one” two times and the word “loved” two times. How do you think being one and being loved relate to sharing in His glory?
Q. 9. In verse 26, Jesus prays to His Father, “I have made you known to them.” In what ways does Jesus make the Father known to us?
Q. 10. In verses 23–26, Jesus mentions three times that His Father loves Him. How is this central to Jesus’ prayer? To His life?
Q. 11. In what ways is knowing God’s love for you central to your life?
Q. 12. You were created to share God’s glory, not just in heaven, but in your life here on earth as well. Describe what you imagine it might be like for you personally to live glorified on earth.
Jesus prayed this prayer on the night before His crucifixion. Imagine that you are with Him on that night.
See and hear Jesus praying for you. Read your name into verses 21–26 of the prayer. Or have a friend read this part of the prayer to you with your name inserted.
That (your name) may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May (your name) also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given (your name) the glory that you gave me, that (your name) may be one as we are one—I in (your name) and you in me—so that (your name) may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved (your name) even as you have loved me.… Father, I want (your name) to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world…. I have made you known to (your name), and will continue to make you know in order that the love you have for me may be in (your name) and that I myself may be in (your name).
Let Jesus’ prayer come to rest
within you and find expression in your life.