One of the oft-repeated words in Christ’s prayer recorded in John 17 is “glorify” or “glory.” The very first words He says are, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You” (John 17:1). A few verses later, He adds,
I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (John 17:4-5)
The subject of glorification starts becoming more personal to us a bit later, when Jesus says of His people, “I am glorified in them” (John 17:10). If having Christ glorified in you sounds spectacular, just wait until we read verse 22:
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one (John 17:22)
At this point, we’re starting to see something incredible, something glorious, is being discussed here in John 17. We see Jesus and the Father glorifying each other, and Jesus sharing His glory with us. That last part is the one which most intrigues me. What does it mean?
The word used for “glorify” is doxazo (G1392), which is derived from the word translated “glory.” That word is doxa (G1391). Zodhiates says it “can mean appearance, reputation, glory. It basically refers to the recognition belonging to a person, honor, renown.” It can also denote the “appearance, form, aspect” of someone, as in “God’s image and character. … It comprises all that God will appear to be in His final revelation to us.”
As Zodhates shifts his discussion to a Christian’s future glory, he says that doxa does not refer only to an outwardly glorious appearance, but to a glory within that makes the outside splendid. Doxa‘s derivative, doxazo, means “to glorify, recognize, honor, praise.” Most of Zodniates’ definition for this word in my study Bible is devoted to it’s use in John’s writings.
In the writings of John, the doxa of God is the revelation and manifestation of all that He has and is. It is His revelation in which He manifests all the goodness that He is (John 12:28). Since Christ made this manifest, He is said to glorify the Father (John 17:1, 4); or the Father is glorified in Him (John 13:31; 14:13). When Christ is said to be glorified, it means simply that His innate glory is brought to light, made manifest (John 7:39; 11:4; 12:16, 23; 13:31; 17:1, 5).
This definition explains several verses we quoted in John 17. Jesus glorified His Father by teaching people about the Father’s glory and revealing His character. God the Father glorified His Son by exalting Him and making His glory manifest in roles like High Priest, Good Shepherd, and Head of All Things to the Church. Their mutual glorification is about revealing Who and what They are to people.
Glory and God’s People
John 17:10, where Christ says, “all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them,” shows we are to play a role in manifesting Christ’s glory to the world. If Jesus is being glorified in us, then our lives will be testaments to the honor and praise that belong to Him.
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Col. 3:17)
We talked about this idea two weeks ago, in the context of “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Our inside character, which comes out in our words and actions, should be proclaiming God’s glory, and attracting honor to Him.
The most intriguing verse, however, (to me at least) is when Christ says He’s given us His glory in verse 22. Let’s read some of the verses leading up to that.
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. (John 17:20-21)
Jesus makes it clear that He’s talking about future believers — including us — as well as His disciples then. He emphasizes unity among the believers, and between us and God.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:1-3)
Paul connects unity with walking in way that properly fits with our calling from God, and Jesus connects it with showing the world that He was sent by the Father. Much the same way, having love shows that we’re Christ’s disciples (John 13:35). It’s starting to sound like the ideas of manifesting, recognizing and showing forth that are carried with the word “glorify” are connected to this idea as well. And now we come to verse 22:
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:22-24)
Jesus Christ has given us His glory? It seems astonishing, but that’s what He says. based on the definition of glory, this tells us that Jesus is giving us His form and appearance, His honor, reputation and character. (Just to clarify, I mean “give” in the sense of “share” rather than passing it along).
This just boggles my mind. To quote King David, “What is man that You are mindful of him?” (Ps 8:4). We don’t deserve God’s attention, let along a share in His Son’s glory. Yet that is what He is doing in, for, and to us.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:5)
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (1 Cor. 12:)
My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you (Gal. 4:19)
Christ’s mind in us … His strength in our weakness … His character formed in us … could these be other ways to express the same thing that’s going on when He says, “the glory which You gave Me I have given them”?
the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:26-27)
Christ in us gives us present glory by association with His glory, and He is our hope of future glory where “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). I said earlier that glorification in John 17 is connected with revealing Who and what the Father and Jesus Christ are to the world. Their work to glorify us is connected with this same goal.
We are called “the light of the world,” and told “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16). As we press on toward future glory, let’s also be mindful of the glory we’ve been given now as Christ’s own special people, to glorify Him and the Father by how we live.