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In the dark? Look for The Son

         We as a Christian people should try to emulate or be like Christ. Today, we will look at John 17. There are three areas of this chapter that we will be looked at. Most Bibles label the first part as Jesus prays for Himself.  

          John 17:1-5 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

 

            Jesus starts out by stating the obvious. The time for saving all mankind had come. "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” The line glorify your son that your Son may glorify you is a line where many opponents want to say that Christ was seeking His own glory. That’s not it. The glorification of Christ was accomplished the moment He gave up the ghost and said, “It is finished.” God was then glorified because of the Son’s sacrifice. Jesus was not seeking his own glory, but rather the glory through His sacrifice for God the Father.  

 

            Lines two and three at times cause controversy. There are Christian people that say only so and so is going to Heaven or everybody is going because they either think Christ’s sacrifice was for only certain people or that we all are God’s children regardless of the sacrifice of Christ.

For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

            Jesus says that He has been given authority by the Father over all people. That is not difficult to understand, but here comes the problem for some folks; that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. No one has ever come to Christ on his own. I’ll explain. When I accepted the Lord Jesus as my savior, I did not do it because I thought it was just a good idea or I wanted to be a member of a church. I knew God was working on me. I knew I had to have a relationship with Christ. Every Christian that is reading this I know understands what I am saying. The Bible says that God doesn’t want anyone to perish. That is why as Jesus said, “My father is always working.” God is always drawing people closer to him. Christ died so that all who believe will be saved. Election is not a feasible thought. If it were, how stupid would it be to say Jesus died for me, but not that loser down the road? It is equally ignorant to say that just because we are alive we are children of God. Scriptures teaches just the opposite.

            This current generation for all its technological advances is no different from previous ones. Each generation until the last will come to know Abraham, Noah, Moses, Daniel, David and the rest. Secular history books allow these figures to be taught from a historical view. Christ is taught as well from the world view as being a teacher and prophet. Jesus used the parable to teach his disciples and the masses. But, here in John 17, we are allowed in plain, understandable text to read, hear, experience and receive eternal life.

John 1:3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

            Jesus spells it out! That they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. As easy as it is to understand, there is a catch. Other than the so-called atheist, people realize there is a creator. The sinner, let’s say, a teenager, is involved in many things that are not Christian oriented. The sinning teenager says he believes in God, but wants to have fun. Or perhaps the teenager has doubts about Jesus. Just knowing who God is, the Father and the Son is not what is being said here.

“How do you know? Were you there?”

All scripture is “God-breathed. (1 Timothy 3:16) With that being understood, the Book of James tells us that even the demons believe in one God and they tremble. The demons recognized Christ when He walked the earth. Simply saying you know God and Jesus like you would say you “know” so and so as they walk down the street is not what is being said. We know God through and because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross when we accept Him as Lord of our life. There are numerous instances/scriptures where Jesus speaks this truth. Perhaps the most widely used verse is John 14:6. "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”” Jesus is not just a way to eternity. He is the only way.

John17:4 I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.

            Jesus taught that good trees never produce bad fruit. Furthermore He taught that bad trees do not produce good fruit. If we are children of God, a people that have given everything to the Lord Jesus Christ we will act like it. Our lives will show a love for Christ and others. We will exalt and bring glory to God just as Christ did.

            Jesus was, is, and forever will be the reigning Lord of all creation. It is beyond tragic that so many do not believe in the deity of Christ. They don’t believe He is God. They just think he was born from Mary, raised by Joseph, taught a nice message was killed for His belief and died. Others, notably the Islamic faith disavows that Christ even died. Either way, who Christ is, is sometimes overlooked. In verse five, Christ makes another, fairly simple, easy to understand statement. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”  

 

            Jesus the Son was with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit also known as The Great Comforter before the world was spoken into existence 6008 years ago. Take a look at part of verse twenty-six from Genesis chapter one: Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness. God is not bipolar, okay. He just was not alone. Jesus refers to Himself in Revelation as the Alpha and the Omega. He was with the Father and the Comforter from the beginning.

            Chapter 17 verses six through nineteen detail Christ praying for His disciples. Let us look at the entire piece before dissecting the individual pieces.

 

"I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13"I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

 

            Jesus to start out with here is taking about the disciples, yes, even Judas. "I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.” It was not that long before Christ spoke these words to the Father that the disciples were arguing among themselves concerning who was greatest. Although Christ was speaking straightaway about these twelve, isn’t it a wonderful feeling knowing that our God speaks up for us like that? Don’t let anyone lead you astray. The Bible is clear that the Gospel message is for all people. Yes, God, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh chose twelve specific men to complete the tasks at hand, but at no time has Christ ever denied anyone who came to Him for a healing.   

7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.”

            Can you imagine what the disciples felt when Christ was arrested? Scripture teaches that all fled except for Peter, who would as Jesus foretold deny knowing the Lord not once but three times, and an unnamed disciple (Maybe John). John was at the crucifixion with Mary, the mother of Christ. If all Jesus spoke was a lie, the disciple would have never built the church. We would not have the term Christian, Christ would be a fable and most importantly, we would all get what we deserve; hell forever. But, praise be to God, the disciples as Jesus said, knew Jesus was the Christ.

John 17:9-10 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.

            This not only applies to the disciples, but also to all of us. Christ is praying on our behalf before the Father just as He does when we face the Father on the Day of Judgment. “All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.” Go ahead. It’s okay, maybe. The Savior of all mankind just said glory has come to Him through them. Them refers to the disciples, again, but also His children, the believers in the Risen Lord. Wow. Such unity exists between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. “All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.” Christ wanted His followers to be united like the Trinity. John 17:11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.

Verse twelve mentions Judas as the one that is doomed. “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” Prophecy to be true must come to pass. I don’t know why Judas was the one out of all history to be the one to betray Him. The fact is he was and that’s done. He served a purpose although an infamous one.              

John 17:13-16 "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

            Verse thirteen shows us that Jesus is using a word that should come natural to us as Christians. Joy is what we should have. I know life is tough now. I know it. God though, wants us to be happy, to be joyful. If you are a Christian that is full of sadness, and you are down trodden, how unfair is that to Christ? Jesus as he headed to the place of the skull, Golgotha, Cavalry, told his mother Mary that He indeed did make all things new. How can we be a people that claim to have the joy of God, but lives that reflect everything but? It makes you think don’t it?

            “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” This not only applies to the original twelve, but to Christians everywhere! We as Christians are not a part of this world. Time after time we are told to look to the things of Heaven not the earth. We are told to focus on the will of God in our lives, not the desires of our failed flesh and humanity. The world you know hates us as Christians. That isn’t a surprise. The world says sex with anyone anywhere and anytime is okay. Several states have redefined marriage from what the Holy Scripture deems truth. We have as a pastor friend of mine once said, “A Feel Good Gospel,” where anything goes as long as you feel good. What a tragedy we have become in the face of an Almighty God.    

            Verse fifteen and sixteen show Christ praying for something very specific. “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” How awesome do you feel right now after hearing or reading that? The God of all, the Son of Man, asks in prayer for God’s protection over us. Too many people today place the angels above the Son and the Father. God whether he uses angels or Himself protects His children. That being said, so many who wish to denounce Christ scream out, “Why does God allow innocent people to die or become disease ridden to the point of death?”

            “I don’t know.” Is that plain enough? Recently I wrote about the Book of Job. Job and company pondered the same questions. Tragedy, my friends, more times than not strengthens our resolve and faith in Christ. Christian people never feel closer to God than when tragedies are attempting to rip their lives apart. Getting back to the original point, our God prays for protection for His followers. He made the distinction that those who follow Him are not of the world. 

 

The dictionary defines sanctify with the following: to make holy; set apart as sacred; consecrate. Keep that in mind as we look at verses seventeen through nineteen.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

           

            We all know that God so loved the world as 3:16 instructs, that he sent Christ to die for us. Here we see and hear Jesus Himself tell why He completed the task after He gave up the glory of Heaven for the dirt of the earth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.  Christ is saying that just as He had a job to do, so did the disciples. I said it earlier, but can you imagine what the world would be like if the disciples ignored the Great Commission? The disciples turned apostles had a huge task of spreading Christianity and setting up church services. If you think they did it with good luck you are wrong. The very hand of the Almighty, the Spirit of God was with them, leading and guiding.  

Verse nineteen knocks it out of the park to borrow a cliché from political candidates. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” Every Gospel preaching Jesus  Christ Savior church should be stating this every time the doors are opened. We are lackadaisical and complacent concerning the very issue of our salvation. Christ in this prayer although directed to the twelve references you and me. “For them I sanctify myself,” Christ says. For them, for you, for me, for the children that are yet to be. “That they too may be truly sanctified.” We don’t realize even with the Gibson movie what Christ gave up and took up for us. He did the most unselfish act in all history so we would not be a part of a world that is ruled by the prince of the air, Satan, a world that is already on its way to the Lake of Fire, the Second Death. I suppose you can say

            In the last part of John chapter 17 starting with verse twenty, we see the prayer Christ says for future believers.

 

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. "Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."

           

            Jesus begins this final part of the prayer by specifically addressing the future generations of believers. "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” Christianity began with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. It continued by the apostles setting up the church, and it continues today when we not only exalt, worship, and fellowship in the presence of the Lord Almighty, but when sinners are won by the Gospel message of His loving Grace. Unity does not exist where dissention reigns. Jesus said He prayed for those who will believe in Him, and that they be one just like He and the Father are one. Today good people, we tend to look at the denominational sign on the door as a measuring stick of how much we love God. I am going to say with love I hope what everyone thinks. Today, we as a Christian people are too wrapped up on church membership rather than the time and quality we put in on worshipping the Lord.

 

            Some people complain about the color of the carpet, music selection, use of instruments, non-use of instruments, size of the offering plate, the preacher’s tie, and of course the number of times the Lord’s Supper is observed. Do we really think that this interferes with a person’s decision to live for Christ? We should not base our Christian goodness on the name and reputation of our church, but rather be of one Christian body, the body that represents the Lamb of God’s bride, the church, and Jesus Christ Himself!

   

 

            Listen and read the words carefully: May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. How we as a Christian people spread the Gospel message if we are divided? Satan has his hand in every church division. We cannot have one third of the people going with preacher so and so while the others stay with deacon Joe because older hymnals are used. “May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Jesus instructed the eleven apostles to spread His message, of the blessed Hope, Grace, and love Love. Brothers and sisters we are the body of Christ, we are His people, but don’t think for a moment that we save anyone. We are told to tell, lead, and live a Christ-like example, but remember it is the Grace of the Lord that saves us from that burning lake.  

            I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me.” What is that glory you may be asking? His sacrifice for us is what the glory is. It is a mockery, a shame, and an insult to the risen savior that so many worldly, Satan inspired divisions cast doubt the church body’s love and dedication to Christ. The Father, Son, and Spirit want nothing less than for all people to turn from sin and be united in one accord to worship. Here’s some of that scripture to further explain the unity idea. “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

            "Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. Jesus said many times that people would know God the Father if they knew the Son. The “they” Christ refers to are His children. We as Christian people are not a part of the world. We are set apart, saved by Grace because we have acknowledged and repented from our sins and accepted the Grace from an Almighty God. If we factor out those people who say they don’t believe that Jesus died for their sins, we are left with the independent voters so to speak. More times than not they will admit that the world has a creator. They admit God may be the One. There will come a day when all know and confess. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them." Jesus once said to the Pharisees in regard to their questioning Him concerning His observance of the Sabbath, “My Father is always working.” Jesus too by His words is always working to draw the hurt, the broken, and the lost closer to the Father.