Just as Jesus kept His eyes on the Father during His struggles—which included His arrest, mock trial, beating, and crucifixion—we are to keep our eyes on the Lord during ours. And when we do, the Father is glorified as others see us trusting Christ in the midst of hardship.
The hour of Christ's crucifixion had been predetermined before creation. Acts 2:23 says, "This Man (Jesus), delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death."
The plan of salvation, Jesus dying on the cross to atone for the sins of all those who would believe in Him, was God's plan from eternity past. But was there more to it than our redemption?
Jesus prayed, in John 17:1, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you."
While there's nothing glorious about the cross, nothing glorifies God like the cross. It's not only where God's glory was supremely displayed but also where His power and wisdom were displayed.
In 1 Corinthians 1:23-24, Paul wrote, "But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."
We can see the power of God in the cross because the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).
And we can see the wisdom of God in the cross because man is completely removed from the equation. All works of man's "righteousness" and "goodness" are thrown out, and all that remains is the glory of God.
You won't find this plan of salvation in any other religion. In every religion except Christianity, salvation is dependent, fully or partially, on "good works." But the cross removes man's efforts from the equation. Salvation was planned, started, sustained, and finished by God. The only part mankind has is being the recipient of His undeserved grace. We are all guilty. So, when God saves us, He's the one who gets all the glory.
We can also see the sovereignty of God in the cross. As we discussed last time, He used the choices of sinners to fulfill Old Testament prophecies involving Christ's death:
- The Jewish leaders didn't want to kill Jesus during the Passover because they feared the people would riot (Matthew 26:5).
- But Jesus was God's Passover Lamb whose blood provided salvation for all who put their trust in Him. So, even though man wanted to kill Jesus according to their schedule, God still saw that it happened at the appointed time, at Passover.
- The Roman soldiers divided Jesus's garments among themselves by casting lots (John 19:23-24).
- Psalm 22:18 predicted this.
- It was common practice to break the legs of the people crucified in order for them to die faster.
- Even though the two criminals, one on either side of Jesus, had their legs broken, the soldiers did not break His legs, fulfilling Psalm 34:20.
- He was crucified with criminals.
- But He was buried in a rich man's tomb, just as Isaiah 53:9 prophesied.
The cross reveals God sovereignty over everything.
The aim of Christ's earthly ministry was to glorify the Father. Jesus submitted to the sovereign will of God by dying on the cross, and both the Father and Son were glorified.
Let's look again at John 17:1, "Father, the hour has come;
glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you."
The Father gives glory to the Son, and the Son gives glory to the Father. God must glorify Himself. We cannot glorify God apart from Christ. Before God sovereignly saves us, we're enemies of God. We're living in rejection of Him.
In order for us to glorify God, we must do what the apostle says in 1 Peter 5:7-10. We must surrender the throne of our life to God. We must submit all we are to Him and embrace all He is. We must trust that the Lord is in control, even when persecution comes. We exist to glorify God, because He's the one who made us alive.
We give God glory by surrendering to Him. The Son gave glory to God as the result of the condition that the Father give glory to the Son. Only God Himself could make such a demand.
John 17:2 says, "Since you have given him (Jesus) authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you (the Father) have given him."
This is astounding. No one but God Himself can make such a claim. Simply stated, the One who gives eternal life is God. The One who saves us is God. The phrase "all whom You have given Me" appears seven times in this prayer. All believers have been given to Christ from the Father.
John MacArthur, when preaching on this section, said:
"…salvation is not a whimsical thing that is designed by people, or that is even determined by individuals. If you are a believer, it is because God gave you to Christ, and He gave you because He chose you, and He chose you before the foundation of the world, the Bible says, and He wrote your name down. Seven times it refers to believers as those whom the Father gives the Son. It is completely wrong to think that that decision is left to us." 
There are many who read this verse and say, "What Jesus really means is, 'The Father gave Him authority to give eternal life to all who believe in Him.'" But that's not what Jesus says here.
The first part of John 17:2 say, "Since you have given him (Jesus) authority over all flesh …"
We'll discuss what that means in Part 3.