Sunday, July 26, 2020

John 17 - Part 3

Read John 17

Jesus prayed for you.  It’s in the Bible.  He prayed for you.

Jesus having prayed for the men who followed him for three years so that they would be sanctified for the work ahead of them, also prayed for us. 

John’s account was not originally broken into chapters, so these thoughts have been a continuing thread throughout these last hours.

Jesus had been telling his followers that he was in the Father and the Father in him.  The Father and I are one.  You want to know the Father, then know me.  I am the way to the Father.

You do know the Father because you know me.  You may not understand it yet, but because you have believed me and listened to my words and will soon put them into practice, you know my Father.

Jesus then prayed that we might have the same relationship.  Whether we received the good news in Jerusalem, Antioch, Philippi, Rome, or Burns Flat, America; we can enjoy this special relationship with God the Father through Christ the Son and have God’s own Spirit dwell within us.

Jesus prayed that this special relationship would go viral.  It was meant to reach the world. 

He wanted his followers to know him and to make him known.  That has been the mission and commission passed from generation to generation since those first apostles were sent into the world.

Jesus noted that the world did not know his Father, but those who followed him would make him known.  Those that have professed Jesus as Lord also know the Father.

We know the Father through Jesus and make him known through Jesus. We didn’t follow him all over Samaria and Galilee like the 12, but in a way we did.  The words that we know so well are living and active.  We follow Jesus when we engage the scriptures.

In many ways, we acquire the experience of the 12.  We were not there; yet we were.  This indirect experience becomes a part of us.  Our discipleship grows.  We mature as Christians.  And it is no slight thing that Jesus prayed for those who would come after the few men with whom he was spending his last hours.

We grow closer to our Father when we study his word.  We know liberty when we embrace his word.  Some can’t quite comprehend liberty in a list of 2 constraints and 8 restraints handed down from Mount Sinai, but it’s there. 

I’ll use my trusty example of the ladder.  Most ladders are narrow by design.  It’s hard to support much weight if they are wide.  The ladder requires you to restrict yourself to a very narrow set of rungs, but it enables you to reach new heights.  You are no longer restricted to ground level.

But we are not restricted to the 10 Commandments.  Jesus taught loving others as much as he loved us.  This is when we discover God’s heart.  We love those who will never repay us.  Some may dislike us or even hate us.  We have talked much about being hated because of Jesus.

But there is liberty in loving those who will not return our love.  There is liberty in being hated for following Jesus.  We know with certainty that we are on the right path.  Sometimes we think liberty is being able to do just what we want.  We can do that, but that is not our call.

Let’s go with another trusty example, the cup.  The cup restricts liquid to its confines.  Liquid stays in the cup until it is poured out or you drink it or your kids knock it over.  It seems restrictive.  But it is this same cup that enables you to take your cup of coffee from the coffee pot to your office or dining room table.  You have been liberated.

You think that 10 directives are tough?  What about 613 instructions, not all of which apply to everyone, but still, if it’s just half, that’s a bunch.  But the culmination of commands comes in loving one another with everything we have.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 

You might think that you are giving up everything, but you are gaining the fulness of life.  Jesus wants us to live to the full.  He wants us to have abundant life.  He wants us to really live.  We do this only when we let go of our worldly thoughts and desires and learn to love each other. 

We live a life of love for others.  Jesus prayed for us to live this life and make him known.  The love that we have for one another is how we are known and how we make him known.

We are unshackled from sin and death and our own sinful nature when we learn to love as Christ loved.  We know true liberty when our life is in Christ and he is in us.  We can finally live as we were designed to live.

When we love as Christ loved we are free from doubt.  There will be trouble in the world, but we have no doubt that Christ overcame the world and has put us on the correct path. 

Jesus did not just throw in a prayer before he went to the cross.  He asked his Father to protect those who followed after him seeking to have God first in their lives.  He asked those who came out of the unbelieving world to seek the Father, his kingdom, and his righteousness to have the protection from the Evil One that they needed.

He prayed for us, not that we would not have trouble and obstacles and mountains to climb but that we would have his Father’s protection from evil.  Jesus prayed for us.

And Jesus spoke aloud so his prayer would be an affirmation that God would be with those who became disciples of the Christ.

We have heard Jesus say I am in the Father and the Father is in me.  In turn, he told the disciples that he was in them and they in him.  The Father and I are one.  Jesus wants us in this relationship.  He wants this relationship for us.

Jesus prayed that we might truly know the Father by knowing him.  We can not read this prayer in the third person.  He was not praying for them or for some constructive third party.  Jesus prayed for us.

How do we come to know God through Jesus?  Jesus said it would be by the message carried by the disciples. 

We have received this message.  We have access to this message all the time.  We understand this message with the illumination of the Holy Spirit.  We are to carry this message to the unbelieving world.

Jesus prayed that we would know him and make him know. Let’s live up to his expectations.

Know him and make him known.  


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