I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gave me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was,” John 17:4, 5.
There is nothing quite so satisfying as to finish a job successfully, particularly if the task has been a difficult one. Christ must have included this concept of completed work in His prayer with a deep sense of satisfaction. He died from a broken heart, but never had He a moment of remorse or disappointment over any shortcomings on His part in finishing His work. In the entire prayer, He does not once complain of His life of poverty and hardship. What a noble Person our Lord is! His life of victory has left a marvelous example for us to follow throughout our lives on Earth. In Heaven, we shall continue to glory in His success.
Melanchthon, collaborator with Martin Luther in the Protestant Reformation, said shortly before his death, “No more noble, no more holy, no more salutary, no more lofty voice has ever been heard in Heaven or Earth than this very prayer of the Son of God.”
The concept of glorifying God is involved in finishing the work. Compare this with the first angel’s message, which commands, “Fear God, and give glory to him,” Revelation 14:7. God’s remnant people are under the same obligation as Christ to glorify the Father. But, what does glorifying God and finishing the work really mean? Can we human beings accomplish this? Christ lived a righteous life. He kept His Father’s law perfectly. Satan could not point to one single fault in His life. It is on His merits and character accomplishments that our salvation rests. Therefore, His first work was to glorify His Father by perfectly patterning His character after His Father’s character. This Christ successfully accomplished on a daily basis and became a perfect sacrifice for the salvation of man. His success assures us that our success is possible through the inner-working power of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus declared in his final remarks, “It is finished,” He did not yield up His life until He had accomplished the work which He came to do. He conveyed that message in His final breath.
What was finished? The battle had been won. His right hand and His holy arm had gotten Him the victory. As a Conqueror, He planted His banner on the eternal heights. The old account had been settled. He or she who has fallen in the pits of sin is now given a way to be lifted up. The prodigal is summoned back into citizenship. The crooked ways in life can be made straight. The weight of my sins — not some of them, but all of them — have been lifted forever. The long journey of resolving the sin problem has concluded. Can you hear Him as He bows His head and gives up His spirit? Father, I turn myself over. The Warrior’s muscles relax. He unbuckles the shield. He ungirds the armor. Father, the battle has ended. Father, hell has lost. Father, God has won. Finally, my active imagination hears Him declare: “Angels, get My mansions ready — by way of the grave to make it all clear, but I’m coming home.”
Southern Union | July 2020