Thursday, December 24
Father, glorify me alongside yourself with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was.
Jesus talks late into the night, imparting to his disciples precious knowledge from God. Then he raises his eyes to heaven and prays: “Father, the hour has come; glorify your son, that your son may glorify you, according as you have given him authority over all flesh.” Notice Jesus’ priorities in the introduction to his prayer recorded in John chapter 17. His main concern is the glorification of his heavenly Father, and this harmonizes with the first request in Jesus’ model prayer: “Father, let your name be sanctified.” Jesus’ next concern is for the needs of his disciples, that “he may give them everlasting life.” After that, Jesus makes a personal request, saying the words of today’s text. Jehovah rewards his faithful Son with even more than he asks by giving Jesus “a name more excellent than” that of all the angels.
Knowing the simple father/son relationship that has always existed between Jehovah and Jesus is the most fundamental truth. And the basis of Christianity. Yet, that simple fact is lost on the vast majority of people who call themselves Christians.
They say they believe that God is the Father and that Jesus is the Son of God, but they deny that Jehovah actually begot the person whom he calls his son. And they deny that Jesus actually has a heavenly father in the sense that you and I have all had a human father.
They claim that they know the answer to Paul’s rhetorical question: “To which one of the angels did God ever say: ‘You are my son; today I have become your father?’”
But their answer is sheer nonsense. They claim that Jesus could not have been an angel prior to his becoming a man because God never said ‘you are my son’ to any angel, even though, obviously, all the angels are indeed the sons of God. In their empty-headedness, the inference is that God was speaking to himself, declaring himself to be his own son.
They are willfully ignorant of the simple fact that on the day Jesus was baptized he was also anointed with holy spirit, becoming the anointed one, the Messiah. And on that occasion Jehovah spoke from the heavens and said: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.”
God did far more than merely give his parental approval. The anointing of Jesus made him a born-again son. True, prior to his anointing Jesus had been the firstborn son of God — the only-begotten. And upon his birth as a human he was a perfect human son. But upon his anointing Jesus became “the firstborn among many brothers” — his brothers being those who are also anointed, as Jesus had been.
Paul used that expression “firstborn among many brothers” in the eighth chapter of Romans.
Upon his return the brothers of Jesus will have the unspeakable privilege of revealing the glory of Christ himself. Paul wrote of this phenomenon, saying: “For I consider that the sufferings of the present time do not amount to anything in comparison with the glory that is going to be revealed in us. For the creation is waiting with eager expectation for the revealing of the sons of God.”