A Short Study of John 17:4
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
How did the Lord Jesus glorify the Father while He was living on this earth?
He did it first of all in His person. We can see that clearly in the Epistle to the Hebrews, in Hebrews 1:3.
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
What is God saying here?
Christ is the irradiation of God’s glory.
The Mediator’s relation to the Godhead is like that of the daylight rays to the sun itself.
Apart from Christ the brightness of God’s glory could not be seen by us.
Without Christ, man is in the dark, utterly in the dark concerning God.
It is only in Christ that God is revealed.
All that God is in His nature and character is expressed and manifested, absolutely and perfectly, by His incarnate Son.
It means that all true knowledge of God must come from His approach unto us, for we cannot by “reaching” find Him out.
He upholds all things, both visible and invisible, in heaven and in earth, not only creatures but also all events.
As you know we understand “providence” as the hands of God, which are carrying out what God has decreed in His counsel before the foundation of the world. The man Christ Jesus has received the dignity and the dominion to carry out what God has designed to come to pass. In other words, the whole universe hangs on His arm. His unsearchable wisdom and His boundless power are manifested in governing and directing all the complicated movements of animate and inanimate objects, and He is directing all the rational and irrational beings to the attainment of His own great purposes. And He does this by the word of His power, or by His powerful word. And when He by Himself had purged our sins, He sat down at the right hand of God the Father.
Does God the Father have a right hand?
The Lord Jesus said in John 4:24, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” And so, God the Father does not have a right hand. The reason God dictated it this way in Hebrews 1:3 is to indicate that the Lord Jesus Christ, the man Christ Jesus, received the power from God to be the primary executioner of the providence of God from the time He ascended into heaven. In Him rests all authority in Heaven and in earth, because at the cross He earned the right to be King of kings and Lord of lords.
Then the Lord Jesus glorified the Father in three more ways.
Secondly, He glorified the Father in His miracles. For example, when the Lord Jesus healed the paralytic who was led down through the roof, we read in Matthew 9:8, “But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.”
Thirdly, the Lord Jesus glorified the Father in His words by constantly ascribing all praise to Him. When the Lord Jesus lamented about the unbelief among His own countrymen He said in Matthew 11:25, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”
Fourthly, the Lord Jesus glorified the Father by His holy life. For example, we read in Galatians 4:4, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,” and He was obedient to that law, even to the death of the cross, for we read in Philippians 2:8, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
By Alfred J. Chompff