The Finished Work of the Jesus Christ - John 17 verse 4

Notes on the Finished Work of Jesus: Part 1

I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. (ESV)

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. (KJ)

I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. (NIV)

 γώ  σε  δόξασα  π  τς  γς  τ  ργον  τελειώσας (AAI) (ετελειωσα (AAI)[1])   δέδωκας  μοι  να  ποιήσω·


Two statements:

  1. Jesus glorified his Father (God) on earth
  2. Jesus finished the work

Two Verbs

  1. Glorified you
  2. Having finished

Who was speaking?

Jesus, from verse 1: "Jesus spoke (λαλέω AAI) these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said (ἔπω)"

Who was Jesus speaking to?

The words of verse one imply he was praying – some versions use this, but it is interesting to note that Jesus spoke these words by saying – prayer is nothing more than a conversation with God. For this is true communion.

J.R. Ryle writes:

But where will the man hide his head at last who neglects such glorious encouragements? What can possibly be said for the man who, after all, dies without prayer? Surely I may feel anxious that you should not be that man. Surely I may well ask - Do you pray?

I ask whether you pray, because diligence in prayer is the secret of eminent holiness:[2]

The subject of all that followed verse one is indicated in verse one, as Jesus begins his address with the word "Father" (πάτερ), for it was to his Father that he addresses this wonderful prayer.

When was this prayer, prayed?

The prayer of John 17 occurs immediately prior to Jesus being betrayed – that is rejected by all men - in the garden (See Chapter 18), and the day before he was crucified.

Overall summary of verse

Jesus came to do his Father’s work, which by so doing, glorified God. At this point in time Jesus considers that his work is complete; hence the glorification of the Father is complete.

It is interesting to note that Jesus utters these words before the final crowning capstone has actually taken place – his death on the Cross. It is clear that the cup was not going to be taken away – and in his heart there was no going back – his destiny was the bearing the sins of all, and dying.

Luke 22:41,42

And He [Jesus] was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."

The action of going to the cross, is as if it where, had been committed; like a stone with momentum rolling down a hill, it was not going to be stopped by anyone – Judas or Satan. Therefore, in essence he had completed the work – the action had been committed, hence he goes to the place where he knows he will be betrayed – the "garden over the Brook of Kidron" (18:1), and the succeeding events is the crucifixion of Christ.


I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do

The verse is about the work of Christ – we will examine his work past, present and future (although his future work will be taken up in more detail on another day).

The Perfect Work

Work is mentioned 370 times in the Bible

The first time work is mentioned, it relates to the work of God (Elohim), where at the end of creation, the Holy Spirit mentions that on the seventh day God ponders all the work He had done, He says it was good, then rested.[3]

Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Genesis 1:31


Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: 2 "Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?Tell Me, if you have understanding. Job 38:1-4

Psalm 111

Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them.
Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and compassionate.

Psalm 8

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?

The Work Polluted

So did God sit down and rest at this point. One can imagine that the first Sabbath of creation God did in fact sit and rest, but thereafter, he worked.

We note at chapter 3 of Genesis, sin entered the world, as express by Paul

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned- Romans 5:12

But Jesus points out to those who wanted to accuse him of not keeping the Sabbath that since the first Sabbath, God and the Son had indeed been working:

For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." John 5:16,17

Sin had entered the world, which undid what God had created as good – for with sin came death.

Note here that death did not occur with the creation of the world, as the evolutionists would have it, but after the creation, and after Adam had named all the animals. And from this point onward, men fell short of the glory of God:

  • The Error of Nebuchadnezzar - Daniel 4
  • The Error of Belshazzar (Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin) - Daniel 5
  • Τhe Error of Ananias and Sapphira - Acts 5
  • The Glory of Solomon:

And yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Matthew 6:29

The ongoing work of God (Short summary – this is a sermon in its own right)

Manifested on this Earth
  • [4]Christ appeared in visible form to Abraham. He came as traveller accompanied by two angels. He ate in the presence of Abraham, who worshipped and addressed Him as Lord. (Genesis 18)
  • The Lord made fire and brimstone fall from heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah; He executed judgment. (Genesis 19).
  • He appeared to Jacob and was the mysterious man who wrestled with him at Peniel; (Genesis 32).
  • Moses saw Him in the burning bush, and heard His voice: And while He is spoken of as the angel of the Lord, He revealed Himself as Jehovah/Yahweh and made this Name known to Moses. (Exodus 3)
  • He was with Israel in the wilderness and dwelled with them in the Glory cloud: He guided them, supplied their need, protected them, judged them and overthrew their enemies. (Exodus 13)
  • To Joshua He appeared and manifested Himself as "The captain over the Lord’s hosts" (Joshua 5)

A Man stood apposed Joshua..And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, "Are You for us or for our adversaries?" So He said, "No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, "What does my Lord say to His servant?" Then the Commander of the Lord’S army said to Joshua, "Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5)

  • Isaiah, Ezekiel and Daniel gazed upon His Glory.
The Incarnation of the Son of God
  • The Incarnation Announced.

And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.  Luke 1:35

  • Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners:

[Jesus Christ said] I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. John 12:47

Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." John 18:37

  • The Gospel made Manifest

Then Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.  John 12:44,45

  • Jesus comes as the Gospel – the light of the world

I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. John 12:46

The light was important – we Gentiles were alienated from the commonwealth of God and walked in darkness, our hearts were blind, we were given to Having lost all sensitivity, and had been given over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. (Ephesians 2:19).

  • He comes with the authority of the Father

For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. John 12:49

I and my Father are one. John 10:30

His accomplishments on the Cross

In Hebrews 10 we read of the sacrifices which were offered by the Jews year after year. These sacrifices could not take away sin. The High Priest had to offer sacrifices every year (Hebrews 9:25) and furthermore:

  • He could not take away the guilt of that sin.
  • He could only purify the flesh (Hebrews 9:13) compared with Christ who cleansed our conscience:

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  Hebrews 9:14

Then He, the Son of God, stepped forward and made His great declaration. Coming into the world He said:

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:  "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come-In the volume of the book it is written of Me-To do Your will, O God.’" Hebrews 10:4-7

  • He therefore learn obedience

Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, Hebrews 5:8-9

He suffered

1. In Himself.

"Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name." John 12:27,28b

2. He suffered from men. 

26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. 28And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" 30 Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified. Matthew 27:26 - 31

3. He suffered from the devil. 

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1

But it was much more than this – Jesus Christ was tempted through out his life, and in particular in the garden of Gethsemane

And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground .Luke 22:41 – 44

4. He suffered from God. 

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Matthew 27:46

The Finished Work

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:30

The verb here is past tense (aorist active) participle "having finished" (τελειώσας ‘teleiōsas’) from τελειοόωteleios

(Adjective τέλειος, α, ον – attaining an end or purpose, complete)

Verb is used by Jesus in 19:28, perfect, passive indicative: Jesus had completed the work

Later, knowing that all was now completed (τετέλεσται) John 19:28

The equivalent noun is τελός = the finish

It means to complete or perfect – the root tel means reaching the end – hence our modern word, telescope. The noun means closure or consummation of an event – where it is the point in time marking the end of a duration, end, termination, and cessation[5].

The accomplishment of Jesus Christ incarnate

1.      We have a perfect justification.

Who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

Romans 4:25

2.      We have perfect Peace with God.

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You,Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, Ephesians 2:14

3.      Then we have a perfect acceptance and standing before God; perfect nearness and access to God.

According to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. Ephesians 3:10-12

4.      We have deliverance from the power of darkness and a perfect title to an eternal inheritance.

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, Colossians 1:13

The present work of Jesus Christ

What it is not

There is much confusion in the minds of Christians about the present and future work of Christ. Many speak of the Lord being now the King of kings and Lord of lords, reigning over the earth. They speak of Him as occupying the throne of His father David in heaven. He is neither on the throne of David nor reigning over this earth. The present evil age is reigned over by Satan, and Jesus Christ is currently seated on the right hand of the Father (which the Apostle Stephen saw). Not that these things will not happen.

What is the present work

The work of Christ had been completed on this earth – note the place of completion – it does not mean that Christ had completed everything he ever was to do. Hebrew’s tells us that:

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25

The risen Christ is at the right hand of God and makes intercession for us.

For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;  Hebrews 9:24

As Man in Glory, crowned with glory and honor, He is occupied in a present work.

Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  Romans 8:34

We there can respond and have boldness to go to the Father:

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, Hebrews 10:19

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

The future work of Christ

The Finished work lays the foundation for the Future work

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." Luke 1:32,33.

 "Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion." "I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. Psalm 2:6-8

And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. Psalm 9:8

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.  Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah Psalm 24:10

For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth. Psalm 47:2

"That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely;  Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE Lord OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Jeremiah 23:5,6

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:11, 16



Let us exalt in our lives, by our words and deeds, the cross of Christ.

But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14

We are to glorify God

And Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the Lord spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me          I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people                        I must be glorified.’" (Leviticus 10:3)

  • Be convinced of the work of Christ – that it will keep you until the day he comes
  • Hold fast to the truth – Listen to the Holy Spirit, that dwells in you – the world will do everything it can to take this away from you, for it hates God
  • Be diligent to present your selves, approved of God, a worker, reading and understanding the Bible, applying it to your life

The sword of the spirit is the Holy word of God

  • Be ready, in season and out of season to talk about your faith.


Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, And You are exalted as head over all. 1 Chronicles 29:11


[1] Byzantine/Majority Text (1881 etc), Textus Receptus (1550, with accents)

[2] J.C. Ryle A call to Prayer

[3] And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Genesis 2:2

[4] A.C. Gaebelein. (1913) The Work Of Christ Past, Present And Future Pickering & Inglis Glasgow, Scotland.

[5] W.Bauer's, F. W. Danker's (2001) A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition [Hardcover]) The University of Chicago Press ISBN 0226039331

David L Simon (Sept 2011 GBC)
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