In the 1st century, those who had been with Jesus or witnessed the power of the resurrection of the dead had a difficult time believing that He had been a man. In the postmodern skepticism of the 21st century, many can’t believe He was ever God. Jesus was more than a good man and teacher, religious philosopher or advocate for the common man. The alpha and the omega, He is eternal and through whom all things were made. Therefore, He cannot be placed on the buffet with other leaders from world religions. Through His great love for us, though we were sinners, Jesus died and then was raised from the dead for our justification and sanctification. Jesus stands alone.
I. John 1:1-18. Jesus was God and was with God before creation and at creation. It was through Him that all things were made. After the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, John records that the Son’s followers saw Jesus’ glory, the glory of the only God, who was at the Father’s side, who had seen God and made God known to us. From eternity to creation, then, Jesus was in His glory and was awaiting His role as Creator and through whom all was created (Genesis 1:1-27). Before He took on the image of man, Jesus made man in the image of Himself.
II. John 17:1-5. Before Jesus went to the cross, we glimpse from His own lips what He longed for in prayer–the glory He had with His Father “before the world existed.” This rare peek into His eternal nature also gives us a clue how He endured the pain and shame of the cross. While fixing His eyes on the glory that He would return to in complete fellowship with His Father, Jesus gave us a way to run the race that is set before each and every one of us (Hebrews 12:1-2). Told to deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow Him, three of Jesus’ followers were allowed to witness that glory while Jesus was transfigured (Matthew 17:1-8).
III. John 17:20-24. Jesus will only give His glory to those who are seeking the Savior’s glory (Romans 2:6-10). In this life we hope for it as He who promises it is faithful (Romans 5:1-2). The sufferings of this life can’t compare to the glory that is promised to us (Romans 8:18-21). The promise comes in a spiritual body that is resurrected in power and glory (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).
This is why we forsake the world and all its glory (John 12:42-43). Just as Jesus longed to be clothed once again in the glory He had with His Father before the world existed, we too must live every moment here in a relentless pursuit of the glory that is promised to us in Him.