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It’s easy to feel small in this life.

Most of us aren’t famous.  Beyond a few hundred people, most don’t even know our name or face.  If we’re in a country where we can vote, even our vote is a tiny fraction of the whole. 

Yet, our lives are worth an indescribable amount in the eyes of God.

The candles flickered on the table of Jesus’ last meal with His disciples before the crucifixion.  The dim lighting reflected the mood of the room.  Jesus is about to go through the most difficult part of His mission from Heaven to Earth.  He has taught so much, but their sadness remained in the room.  They understood that He was going away but didn’t know why.  They knew He would be betrayed, but they couldn’t see how.

Jesus continues in John 17:1-5:

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.  Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.  I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.  And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.  

John 17:1-5
New International Version

For those familiar with the Passion story, it’s easy to confuse this prayer with the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  This isn’t that prayer.  We know, most simply, because John 18:1 (the next chapter) informs us, “when He had finished praying, Jesus left with His disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley.  On the other side there was a garden, and He and His disciples went into it.” We’re in John 17.

In the presence of the seed of the Church, Jesus says, “the hour has come.”  The time of the world’s reconciliation to the Father through the cross and empty tomb is upon them.  Furthermore, Jesus prays to be glorified so “that Your Son may glorify You.” 

There’s a beautiful double meaning to this use of “glory.”  First, in John’s Gospel, the emphasis on “glory” is the cross and empty tomb.  That’s true here as well.  Jesus further enriches this concept by reminding His hearers that He shares the same glory as the Father.

This is important to understand because it reminds us that Jesus was not resigning Himself to fatalism.  Jesus didn’t disagree with the plan of His Father.  On the contrary, He was completely on board with it.  This is how it must be to bring atonement between sinful humanity and Godly holiness.

The hour has come, but it doesn’t make Jesus retreat; it makes Him pray. 

To really put an exclamation point on this, Jesus prays for it to happen just as the Father desires!  The hideousness of the crucifixion was to be nothing less than the moment of the Son’s greatest glory.  The very fact that Jesus is praying for this kind of glory expresses His willingness to obey the Father even to the point of death.

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Why was this how it must be?  For what Earthly or Heavenly reason would Jesus submit Himself to this?

You and me.

Jesus confesses in verse 4 that He brought the Father glory by completing the work set before Him.  Jesus has brought (and is bringing) those who will accept Him for eternal life.

Maybe you don’t feel like you’re worth very much.  Maybe you feel like a small cog in an infinitely large machine called “life.” 

But Jesus thought you were worth dying for.  His reason for yielding to the plan of atonement was to provide eternal life.  For you.  For me.

Your life does matter.  Your life interacts with others who can see Jesus in you.  Their eternity can be altered because of Jesus in you.

Don’t forget where your worth comes from, and He says you’re worth dying and living for.