Before

Jesus—Son of God, Son of Man, Second person of the Trinity—has always existed.
An ancient Christian profession of praise expresses this mystery in vivid terms.

“Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.”

To begin to comprehend the mystery of Christ and His story, we must realize that the narrative does not begin at a manger in Bethlehem. The life of Christ—the Jesus Story—is a three-act drama:

  • Act One: The Christ of Eternity, “In the beginning was the Word…” (John 1:1)
  • Act Two: Christ the Redeemer, “…He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross…” (Philippians 2:8)
  • Act Three: Christ the Exalted One, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him…” (Philippians 2:9)

On this night, Jesus was preparing for the finale of Act Two. As He prepared, memories stirred of the Throne Room of Heaven, both His past and His future. As He prayed for the disciples, and by extension for us, He remembered the glory He had known, “before.”

The High Priestly Prayer
Some have said, and there is a fine case for this belief, that what we know as John 17 could be truly be called, “The Lord’s Prayer.” The wonderful prayer He gave us in the Sermon on the Mount could then be called, “The Believer’s Prayer.” The important thing so often overlooked is the content of this prayer. The things for which Jesus prayed should become the philosophy of the church, the engine behind her industry, and the measure of her success. In this prayer, Jesus reveals His heart for us.

The Glorify of the Son
He prayed that the Glory of the Lord would be revealed in the world. This was the message behind all the miracles and was the point of all the power on display as Jesus walked this earth. Jesus gave glory to the Father. In turn, the Father gave glory to the Son. The one brief, shining moment on the Mount of Transfiguration was a glimpse of the glory of Christ to come. The agenda of our adoration of God in public worship should be to give glory to God yet so often we attempt to bend worship to others purposes. God forgive us!

The Overcomer
In that moment, Jesus was not alone. When the soldiers invaded the garden of prayer and His men scattered in fear, the Father would remain with Him. The same was true in all the events of the Passion until the His final moments on the cross. Nailed there, however, Jesus would become the most forsaken man who ever lived. Yet, in that moment of complete abandonment, He would overcome the world.

The Authority of the Son
Jesus, the name above every other name, must be uttered in faith as we praise, worship, and pray. When faith is in our hearts and the confession of His name is on our lips, the authority of Christ comes on the scene. Just as He promised, in His name we cast out demons, heal the sick, and work wonders. The name of Jesus on our lips is the Good News we preach to the poor, those afflicted with all kinds of poverty—it is eternal life through Jesus, the Christ!

The Throne of God and of the Lamb
Jesus, with the completion of His mission on earth, spoke of the glory He had known in heaven “before.”

“I have glorified You on the earth.
I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself,
with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

Our great joy and privilege is to enter this heavenly Zion when we come before Him in private and public worship. The writer to the Hebrews makes this clear. “We have come to Mount Zion…” Oh, the Glory of His presence!

Scriptures:
John 17:1-5

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
John 1:1-5 NKJV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Philippians 2:5-11 NKJV
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Hebrews 12:22-24 NKJV
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NKJV
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, You take the believer on a blessed journey from sin to righteousness, from death to life, from fear to faith, from despair to hope, from hate to love, and from sorrow to joy. Thank You for inviting me on this adventure! Help me to always remember that to worship You is to transcend this earth to dwell with You in heavenly Zion and to join the chorus of angels and elders and victorious saints around Your throne. As I dwell there, contemplating Your glory, I am changed from glory to glory. Such a privilege for one such as I. Thank You, Lord!

Song:
Oh the Glory of Your Presence

Words and Music: Steve Fry

Refrain:
O the glory of Your presence
We Your temple give You rev’rence
Come and rise from Your rest
And be blessed by our praise
As we glory in Your embrace
As Your presence now fills this place

Verse
Jesus all-glorious, Create in us a temple,
Called as living stones Where You’re enthroned
As You rose from death in pow’r So rise within our worship
Rise upon our praise And let the hand that saw You raised
Clothe us in Your glory Draw us by Your grace

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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