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Question: Explain the words of Jesus in John 17: 5 (NIV-UK):


And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.


Answer: This verse occurs in the opening portion of what is generally known as Jesus’ high-priestly prayer (vs. 1-26), in which He gives thanks to the Father and commits the disciples to His Father’s care. It follows Jesus’ discourse to His disciples after they had eaten the Last Supper and left the upper room.


There are two elements worthy of note in John 17: 5:


Firstly, Jesus confirms His pre-existence that He had lived in the Father’s presence long ages before He was born into human nature (John 1: 1, 2).


Secondly, Jesus seems to suggest that He would be content merely with a return to that pre-existent condition.

However, after His resurrection, God ‘exalted him to the highest place’ (the Divine nature), greater than the position He had before (Philippians 2: 9-11).


This second element is consistent with the unitarian view of God: that He is one and above all, and is therefore distinctly separate from Jesus, His Son. This is why John 17: 5 reads like a conversation of a son with a father.

Were Jesus the ‘second Person’ of a Trinity, and therefore ‘co-equal’ with God the Father, He could not have been exalted any higher.




Copyright August 2010

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