Contemplation 1 and 2 on (John 17)

edited December 1969 in Random Issues
Contemplation 1 and 2 on (John 17)

In the evening of the last Thursday, Maundy Thursday, when the Lord Christ was on His way to Gathsemane, then to trial and crucifixion, He said to the Father as if reporting His ministry on earth,
" I have glorified You on the earth."
The Lord Christ- at the end of His Incarnation period on the earth- presented to the Father a report on His ministry, saying, " I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do." (Jn. 17:4)
Here, we would like to ask a question: what does it mean, from the theological point of view, that someone glorifies God?
Certainly, when you glorify God you do not bestow on Him some glory, because God does not lack glory nor need to receive glory from you. The Lord Christ Himself says, "I do not receive honor from men."(Jn. 5:41)
This brings to mind that which some people say, that God created humans to glorify Him! Certainly not! For God is not in need for such glory to receive from humans. And before making man, He was glorified by His angels. Even before creating the angels He had been glorified, but how?
God is glorified in His Godhead attributes.
God is glorified in His eternity, in His omnipotence, in His limitlessness as He is not limited by time or place. He is glorified in His greatness, in His indescribable beauty, in His holiness, in His wisdom, in His unlimited knowledge, and in His power to create. In short, God's Glory lies in His Godhead.
What then is the meaning of the words, " I have glorified You on the earth"? They mean revealing His glory to the people.The words mean: I made the people know about Your glory. On the other hand, the words cannot mean giving Him, or bestowing upon Him some glory.
This may lead to another question: Does glorifying someone mean giving him some glory not his own? The answer expressly is nay. Unless a person has glory of his own, any glory given him by others will be nothing. Therefore, truly said the Psalmist, "The royal daughter is all glorious within." (Ps. 45: 13) though the royal daughter's clothing is woven with gold and her robes of many colors.
Here we ask for example: What does it mean that someone is granted an academic degree?Does it mean that the faculty or the university grants him something not his own? It rather means that the faculty or the university testifies to his academic capability, whether for the BA, MA, or PhD That is why it is called a certificate, as it certifies the level of knowledge a person has.
If this is the case with humans, what can be said about God, blessed be His name? We glorify Him, or rather acknowledge His glory. This is probably what the Jews meant when they said to the man born blind: "Give God the glory"(Jn.9: 24)
They wanted to say to him: acknowledge God's glory, and do not deny it or blaspheme against Him.
The same applies when we say in the Psalm:" Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory."(Ps.115: 1) It means: reveal Your glory to the people. This meaning is clear in the Psalm:
"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handwork"(Ps.19:1)In this way the heavens and the firmament glorify God by declaring it, showing His handwork. We likewise, when we glorify God, we declare His glory and tell the people about it, revealing it.
Thus we understand the words of the Lord Christ to God the Father," I have glorified You", to mean: I have revealed Your glory to the people. I talked to them about You and made them know You. That is why He said," I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world"( Jn.17 : 6 ), in other words:
I have manifested to them a new name for You, that You are the Father, their heavenly Father who loves them.
Their previous knowledge of You was not like Mine. Probably their relationship with You was one of fear since their father Adam hid himself from Your sight, saying," I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked" (Gen.3: 10). But I let them know Your name "God is love" (1 Jn. 4: 16). I let them know that You are their Father, and that You dwell in them with Your Holy Spirit.
" And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."(Jn.17: 26)
Yea, that was the way the Lord Christ glorified God the Father, by making the people know Him as they had not known Him the true knowledge. Therefore He said," O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You" (Jn. 17:25). To glorify You, O Father, is to let them know You because," This is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God…"( Jn.17: 3)
It is Your message, brother minister, to let your disciples and all around you know God.
Let them know God, not only God who is in the books, but also He who is in life, He who is in them.Let them know God who is with them though they see Him not, nor recognize His presence, as St. Augustine said, [You were with me, but, for my deep misery, I was not with You.] Let them know God of whom is written in the gospel according to John, "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it" (Jn.1: 5), and who was preached by the Baptist, saying, "there stands One among you whom you do not know" (Jn.1: 26)
Thus we glorify God by making people know Him, so they love Him as the Lord Christ has done:
The Lord Christ said, "I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it" (Jn.17: 26). You are the loving Father who knows all that they know and give them without their request, "For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things", "and all these things shall be added to you" (Mt.6: 32,33). Yes, Father, You are the heavenly Father on whose heavenly door is written, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Mt.7: 7). Yes, Father, You care for the birds of the air and feed them, though they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns! You, Father, care for the lilies of the field and clothe them more beautifully than Solomon in all his glory was arrayed (Mt.6: 26-29)!
You, heavenly Father, had so loved the world that You gave Your only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (Jn.3: 16).
I know, brother minister, that you make people know God, but who is that God who You make them know?
Certainly You make them know the image of God which you have in your mind. Would that it is the true image, because if you give them a wrong image of God, you will not be glorifying God through your ministry. Therefore, you have first to know Him, that you may let others know Him as the Lord Christ has said, "I have known You…… and I have declared to them Your name" (Jn.17:25,26). Have you known Him yet, brother?
Many are those ministers who have not yet known God, however, they try to make people know Him!
What about you? Have you known God yet before making people know Him? Have you known Him the true profound knowledge that makes you love Him and dwell in Him? Have you said with St. Paul the apostle, "What things were again to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord" (Phil.3: 7,8). Yea, have you experienced this inner deep knowledge of the Lord?
Is the knowledge you give to people about Him of the kind that leads to His love? Or is it mere mental knowledge not extending to the heart or leading to life with God?
If it is so, know that the ministry is not mere knowledge, for mere knowledge does not glorify God. Hearken to what the Lord says to the Father, "I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (Jn.17: 26)
By this love, they enter God's kingdom as God reigns over their hearts and is glorified in them:
By love they live with God, and their lives reveal God's work in them. The others see their good works and glorify their Father who is in heaven (Mt.5: 16).
Does this apply to your life and your ministry?
Is God glorified in your life? Is He glorified in your ministry?
Is God the core of your ministry? Do you reveal His name to the people in whatever you say or do? Do you attach them to His love, and make them long to Him and rejoice in His communion? Or is it that your ministry is separate from God; mere information and knowledge, mere activities and meetings, mere gatherings, culture and study, and still you call it ministry?
Those you minister to, do they have the love with which He loved you and them?
Dare you, in all this, say to the Father with Christ, "I have glorified You on the earth"?
Ask yourself: In what is God glorified in you? Is His kingdom spread through you? Or through you people have known God, loved Him, and abode in Him?
Were you the vessel with which God worked, or the mouth by which God's Spirit spoke? Here we wonder:
How could Christ glorify the Father?
As we have said, He made people know and love Him; what else? He presented to the people the beautiful image of God, being Himself. "The image of the invisible God" (Col.1: 15), "The brightness of His glory and the express image of His person" (Heb.1: 3). "No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him" (Jn.1: 18)
In Him people saw all holiness?
In Him they saw God the Father:
As He said expressly, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (Jn.14: 9). Yea, they saw in Him God's beautiful image with all its perfection and beauty, so they loved God in Him. They loved the Holy who is, "separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens" (Heb.7: 26). They loved Him who challenged His enemies, saying, "Which of you convicts Me of sin?" (Jn.8: 46)
So, is your life that image of God, by which He is glorified?
Is God glorified by your life as He is by your words? Or you are a stumbling block to others, and because of you people blaspheme God's name as St. Paul said to the Romans, "the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you" (Rom.2: 24)
How beautiful it is that God's children be a cause for glorifying His holy name through their ideal life which people admire! In this way they give the others a beautiful image of the sublimity of their religious doctrines. It is the way the Lord Christ glorified the Father, that is introducing Him in such a beautiful image.
The Lord Christ glorified the Father with His preaching, and also with the miracles He worked:
He revealed to the people God's power, being Himself "the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1Cor.1: 24). He manifested to them God the Almighty who does works which no one else has ever done or can do (Jn.15: 24). He ascribed these works to the Father, "the Father who dwells in Me does the works" (Jn.14: 10), "the works which the Father has given Me to finish" (Jn.5: 36).
Through His works the Lord Christ manifested to the people the power of the Father, so the Father was glorified in Him.
You are not requested to be like Christ, miracle worker; for not all people are workers of miracles (1 Cor.12: 29). But I merely say that God is glorified in a minister whose prayers find response! … How further can the Father be glorified?
The Lord Christ glorified the Father on the cross.
He glorified the Father by paying off the wages of sin to the Divine Justice, when He became a sacrifice of sin, a burnt offering, and a pass over, when He presented the most glorified image of love, sacrifice, and redemption, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (Jn.3: 16). Not the Father alone was glorified on the cross, but the Son also. He showed us that suffering is the way to glory, as the apostle said in (Rom.8: 17).
"If indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together".
The Lord Christ has been glorified through suffering, and the most glorious image of Him is His image on the cross. It is the image of love, representing the farthest glory. St. Paul the apostle loved this image, and said, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal.2: 20)
The Lord Christ glorified the Father on the cross by His obedience, for He has become: "obedient to the point of death even the death of the cross" (Phil.2: 8)
We also can glorify the Father by obedience; by love, and by sacrificing like the image of Christ on the cross. We can glorify Him by our ministry, by the edification of His kingdom, by making people know Him and be attracted to His love, and by introducing a live picture of Him to people.
However, the worst thing in ministry is when a minister tries to glorify Himself rather than God!
In this case, the ministry will not be a true ministry, since God is no more the goal, but is replaced by the ego! In this case the minister shows off and seeks to be exalted and glorified by others. He becomes no more last of all and servant of all as the Lord Christ said in (Mk.9: 35). The Lord Christ Himself did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many (Mt.20: 26-28). And John Baptist gave us a noble example of how the ego should disappear so that glory be to God alone, he said, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (Jn.3: 30)Hearken to what St. Paul the apostle says, "…that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." (2Cor.4: 7) And in the story of healing the lame man, who was laid at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, when the people were amazed, St. Peter turned their sight to the Lord Christ, saying that they had not made that man walk by their own power or godliness (Acts 3:12-15). The contrary happened on the part of King Herod who accepted the words of praise, not giving glory to God, so an angel of the Lord struck him, and he was eaten by worms and died (Acts 12:21-23)
Lastly, we conclude with the following:
If we glorify God on the earth, God will glorify us in heaven and here as well.
" For whom He foreknew, He also predestined…………, these He also glorified" (Rom.8:29,30); " If indeed we suffer with Him………….,we may also be glorified together" (Rom. 8:17) God even called us to His eternal glory (1Pet.5: 10), so that we may be partakers of the glory that will be revealed, and receive the crown of glory that does not fade away(1Pet. 5: 1,4), " bringing many sons to glory" (Heb. 2: 10).
Yea, indeed, much glory has been, and is still, given us by God.
Do we then glorify God on the earth as He has glorified us who are dust and ash when He made us in His image after His likeness, and made us temples of His Holy Spirit, giving us the gifts of the Spirit?


  • Contemplation 2 on (John 17)
    In the soliloquy between the Lord Christ and God the Father, He said to the Father, "I have glorified You on the earth", and,
    " I have finished the work which You have given Me to do "(Jn.17: 4)
    The Lord Christ has not glorified the Father by words, but by action.
    He gave us an example that glorification should be by action not by tongue, as He said, " My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me " (Jn.4: 34) and repeated this saying frequently, as in (Jn.6: 38). In the above verse also He said, " I have finished the work You have given Me to do"
    He did not say: I have done it, but said, " I have finished"
    It means that He was perfect in doing His work and in carrying out the father's will. With all perfection He made the people know the Father's will. And on the cross He said about redemption, "It is finished" (Jn.19: 30)
    And you, can you say the same words to the Lord, "I have finished the work which You have given (Me) to do"? Even if you say: I have finished it, certainly you do not mean that you have attained the perfection with which the Lord Christ has done the Father's will. Probably you want to say:
    You started the work, O Lord, by Your grace, and I finished it.
    With my own knowledge I can do nothing, as You have said, "without Me, you can do nothing" (Jn.15: 5), and as Your apostle St. Paul said, "For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Phil.2: 13). You, Lord, paid for me that I may work, and I have finished the work by You also. Or rather,
    You, O Lord, have finished this work yourself, but due to Your humbleness, You ascribed it to me.
    It is Your continual kindness which makes You ascribe the work You do to Your children. You gave us the Law and the Commandments, yet You always say, "the law of Moses" (Jn.7: 23); "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives" (Mt.19: 7,8). It is You, O Lord, who has given the commandment and the permission, but You ascribe what You do to people. Likewise, You permit one of Your martyrs or saints to work a miracle whereas the power is Yours. I would, O Lord, rather say,
    The work You gave me to do, I took part with You in completing it.
    I entered into communion with the Holy Spirit (2 Cor.13: 14) so that Your Spirit may work in me, with me, or through me. As St. Paul the apostle said about himself and his companion Apollos, "We are God's fellow workers" (1Cor.3: 9), "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase" (1Cor.3: 6,7)
    If this is the work which two great saints like Paul and Apollos have done, what can any of us say?
    One should say: the work You gave me to do, You finished it, and I was merely an instrument in Your hand.
    Indeed, "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory" (Ps.115: 1). Who am I to say that I completed some work, whatever it is? It is You who starts, and You who finishes. It is You who gives the intent, the will, and the power, and works with Your servants in every good work.
    These words of Christ mean complete honesty in work and in life:
    What then is the work given us by God? Part of it relates to Yourself, that you may sanctify yourself to God. The other part relates to others that you may lead them to God. Thus the words of St. Paul the apostle to his disciple Timothy apply to such work:
    "Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you" (1Tim.4: 16)
    This is the work given you by the Lord; yourself and the doctrine. Are you truly faithful to these two responsibilities: perfection in all you life responsibilities; and perfection in your ministry?
    Have you completed your responsibilities, whether family, personal, study, social or work responsibilities? Have you done all this and at the same time have not neglected your spirituality and private life with God?
    A high example of this is Joseph the Righteous:
    With regard to his own self, he was careful, and faithful to his chastity, so he said, "How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God" (Gen. 39:9)
    And with regard to the service of others, Joseph was perfect, because he brought life to all people in his days. His work as Minister of Supply in Egypt was given him by God, "to preserve life" (Gen.45: 5). He was also perfect in his work in Photiphar's house, "and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper" (Gen.39: 23), and also in the prison. True then what the first psalm says about the righteous person, "whatever he does shall prosper" (Ps.1: 3). But mere success in life is not sufficient, but perfection is necessary in whatever one does.
    Furthermore, have you fulfilled your obligations towards your family? Not only the social obligations are meant, but the spiritual as well.
    What have you done concerning God's commandments of which He said, "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house" (Deut.6: 7)
    Now, we come to the work given us by the Lord in the field of ministry, and remember some details indicated by the Lord Christ concerning the work He has finished. He said: "I have manifested Your name"
    "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours. You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word" (Jn.17: 6)
    So many are those who the Lord Christ talked to about the Heavenly Father, and about His care and love, as the word "Father" is frequently repeated by His mouth in the Gospel.
    Have you also manifested God's name to the people?
    I fear you feel ashamed sometimes of mentioning His name, or hide yourself when it is mentioned! On the contrary, David the prophet said, "I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed." (Ps.119: 46). I an proud of You, O Lord, and Your name is my meditation and my sweet song "I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with narrow and fatness" (Ps.63: 4,5)
    Your name, O Lord, is the core of my preferred talk with people. I find pleasure in speaking to them about You.
    Whenever I meet people or visit them, Your name comes on my tongue. How I love Your name! It is my meditation all the day (Ps.119: 55,97). I manifest Your name to the people because I love You and I love them, and I want them to love You. Many people in their meetings or visits speak of many subjects on the society and its problems. God alone is not the subject of their talk! Would that people mention or remember God's name in their problems so that they get from Him solutions!
    The example of David the Prophet and the valiant Goliath:All people were speaking about that valiant champion, describing his height, his armor and weapons, his threats that frightened the army, and the promise of the king to reward whoever kills him (1Sam. 17). In all this no one mentioned God's name! Then the youth David came and manifested God's name to the people and to Goliath in a way full of faith. He said, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?" (1Sam.17: 26,36) And when King Saul warned him that it would be difficult for him to fight Goliath because he was a youth whereas Goliath was a man of war from his youth, David told the king how God had helped him when he was attacked by a lion and a bear. Then he said, "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine" (1 Sam.17: 37) David then drew near the Philistine and said to him, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts…………. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you……that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel" (1Sam.17: 45,46) David repeated the name of the Lord, "Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands" (1Sam.17: 45-47) Thus David manifested the Lord's name, and conquered with His name because the battle was the Lord's.
    Due to the importance of the Lord's name, we start with it our prayers in the Lord's Prayer:The Lord Himself taught us that the first request in our prayers be "Hallowed be Your name".How can His name be hallowed through us? This happens by manifesting Him to the people in His sublimity, holiness, perfection, power, in His wonders and miracles, and in His love and care for us.
    This sweet name of the Lord we mention in our Praise Songs, saying:[ Your name is sweet and blessed on the mouth of Your saints.] And the Psalmist says about it, "I remember Your name in the night, O Lord" (Ps.119: 55) However, the matter is not just to manifest God's name to the people, but there is something important:
    We should manifest God's name to people in a way that makes them love Him.We should make them love His ways and follow them, and keep His commandments, as the Lord said, "I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (Jn.17: 26); " I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me……, and they have kept Your word"(Jn.17: 6).
    Those whom the Father has given The Lord Christ:Who are those given the Lord by the Father? As if the Lord says: Everyone You put in my way I manifested Your name to him. Everyone You permitted to meet with Me or come to Me, not only the twelve, My own whom I loved to the end (Jn.13: 1), but also the multitudes on the mountain, the crowd, Zacchaeus the tax-collector who climbed up the sycamore tree (Lk.19: 4), Nicodemus who was afraid of the Jews (Jn.3: 1,2), and Martha who was worried and troubled about many things whereas one thing only is needed that is You (Lk.10: 41), to all those I manifested Your name.
    It is a lesson to every minister, to manifest God's name to the people, all people everywhere; not only in Jerusalem and all Judea, but also in Samaria and to the end of the earth (Acts1: 8), far to the Gentiles (Acts22: 21). "As you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome" (Acts23: 11).
    Your work then is to manifest God's name to the people, but beware! From what should you be aware?
    Beware lest your works cause People to blaspheme the good name you manifest to them! Beware when you manifest God's name to the people not to be yourself away from Him! Hearken what St. Paul the apostle says blaming the Romans," the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you"(Rom.2: 24).
    You should therefore let God's name be manifested not merely through words, because people are not influenced by words not representing a life attached to God. In this respect St. John the apostle said, "In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest"(Jn.3: 10).
    Let me now put an express question: How many people have known
    God's name through you? And how many have loved God's name through you?What is the fruit of your ministry? How many people you let know His name and led in His ways? How many people remember God's name when they remember their meeting with you, especially those who had no previous relationship with God, of whom the Psalmist says, "They have not set God before them"(Ps.54: 3)
    Thus you are not merely requested to manifest God's name to people, but to keep them in His name. In other words you have to follow up God's work in their lives that they may have His love in them, that love with which He loved you, and that none of them may be lost.
    Not only has the Lord Christ manifested God's name to the people and kept them in His name, but He also prayed for them:
    "Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me" (Jn.17: 11).He prayed to the Father to keep them through His name and not let them depart from it. He said the same on another occasion about His sheep, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish…………and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand"(Jn.10: 28,29).
    And you, do you do the same for those whom God gave you? Do you pray for them? Do you offer burnt offerings as Job the Righteous had used to do continually for his children? (Job1: 5) Brother, do this and you shall live.
    Those you are given by the Lord are His children, and they belong to Him.As the Lord Christ says, "They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word."(Jn.17: 6) But who are they? Are they only your household?
    Nay, for God has given you also friends, colleagues, acquaintances, neighbors, and many others.Have you ever felt ashamed of mentioning the Lord's name to them? What for ? Have you thought that His name might cause distress to those who like to have fun and amusement? Nay, His name just awakens them. And your role is to put seeds in the ground, whatever type of ground, even that with thorns, or that which has no depth therein…..(Mt.13), who knows? Perhaps your seeds may find good ground and give fruit. Put always before you the words of the Lord, "I have manifested Your name to the men You have given Me"; "I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them"May the Lord be with You, in your talk, in your ministry, and in whatever seeds you put in the ground! May He say to you:
    "Blessed shall be ……the produce of your ground"(Deut.18: 4)

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