I do my devotions every morning. Getting into God’s Word, I’ve found is the means by which I can maintain the path that Jesus has planned for me.That’s not to say that I don’t start chasing rabbits here and there along the way but in the mornings, with my Bible, fresh mind and open heart; I find my way to center my focus on Him, not me. Reading, praying, listening.
This morning as often happens I started out with one verse in John chapter 17. I always explore ahead and behind passages to glean context and insight into what may really be being said in a passage. I ended up quoting seven verses to Facebook from that.
But I wanted to share what I read here along with my thoughts because this passage is absolutely amazing. Here is what I posted on Facebook.
Please! Please! Read it all, slowly, pay close attention to what the Lord Jesus Christ is asking the Father for on our behalf….
John 17:20-26 (CSB)
I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they will see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the world’s foundation. Righteous Father, the world has not known you. However, I have known you, and they have known that you sent me. I made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love you have loved me with may be in them and I may be in them.”
Packed full of goodness
This entire passage is fully of goodness. It is almost too much to take in but let’s go slowly through each part of this wonderful prayer of intercession offered by Jesus.
In the first sentence Jesus starts out telling God the Father that he is praying not only for the His disciples with him now, but also those would comes to believe in Him as a result of their words. Not the words of Jesus, but the words of His disciples; then and even now!
John 17:20 (CSB)
I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word.
I felt my heart beat quicken, as this raced through my mind. I know Jesus is God the Son and as such, He possesses the the knowledge that traverses time and space and understands each and every heart. I know this, but clearly here He is gazing forward through the ages at ‘His own.’
The other thing that contributed to my excitement was the tail end of this verse “Who believe in me through ‘their word‘.” Immediately I took that to be the apostles word, but then I thought about my word; my testimony! The most powerful tool each of us has to demonstrate the impact of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; our word; our Testimony!
I am going to circle back to our Testimony at the end of this article but for now just store away just how very important your word, your Testimony is to Jesus.
United in Christ
John 17:21 (CSB)
May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me.
The top of the list. Jesus is seeking unity of believers and not just with each other, but with the God head as well. You can see where he is coming from with this concept when you read this:
John 14:11-14 (CBS)
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves. “Truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
Jesus wants us to be one with Him, one with the Father, one with the Spirit.
So that the world may believe that God the Father, sent Jesus the Son! (The Gospel!)
John 17:22 (CSB)
I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one.
This isn’t when we get to the end of life’s journey, it’s not some vague point in our future. It is DONE! Right now, if we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and God’s perfect sacrifice for the atonement of our sins; it is done! All that is required has been given to us. No special ceremony. No ritual that needs to be performed. There are no milestones that we must cross before we can experience oneness; Unity with God! God in all his forms! Because Jesus has given us the ‘glory’ to do so!
Did you know that there a no less than 25 different words in Hebrew that represent glory?
I went to one of my commentaries to get some insight into nature of ‘this glory’ reference made by Christ. Here is what I found:
(JFB) 22. And the glory which thou gavest–hast given.me I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one–The last clause shows the meaning of the first. It is not the future glory of the heavenly state, but the secret of that present unity just before spoken of; the glory, therefore, of the indwelling Spirit of Christ; the glory of an accepted state, of a holy character, of every grace.
And this makes perfect sense! The Holy Spirt is instilled in every believer. What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit?
Galatians 5:22-23 (CSB)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.
If you are going to summarize all that ‘good stuff’ into one word, would not ‘Glory’ seem to fit rather well? I think it does so very well!
Bringing this home here, Jesus gives you the believer, the ‘comforter’; the Holy Spirit. Therein is the glue that bonds us in unity with God the Father and God the Son.
Have you ever considered why all sin can be forgiven except for blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? If it hasn’t made sense to you before now in the light of this it would seem to be clear that it IS the Holy Spirit that establishes our unity with Jesus and without it we are lost.
Never mind all the ‘fruit’, if we relinquish ties with the Holy Spirit, we no longer hav e our guide, our interpreter, our advocate, our means of remaining in the will of Christ or even understanding His word.
We are to be united with Jesus and likewise with the Father; consequently that means we are connected one to another in the Lord.
John 17:23 (CSB)
I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.
This ‘oneness’ is focused on a singular premis. “That the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me (Jesus).”
Remember back in verse 20 when we were talking about our word; our Testimony? This is what it is all about. God so loved the world! He loved it so much He sent his Son to die for it. He loves it so much that He raises up an army to share their story about what God has done through Christ Jesus. He loves us so that he entrusts us with the building of His kingdom!
John 17:24 (CSB)
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they will see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the world’s foundation.
Now Jesus is talking about a different glory. His Glory. This unity is so that we can experience the Glory of Jesus. Again, it’s not some future thing, it’s now! This is the Glory bestowed on Jesus the Son because he so loved Him before the foundation of time. That exact same love God the Father has for us and the way to get it to the target is through this unity of Spirit.
Knowing and Being Known
John 17:25-26 (CSB)
Righteous Father, the world has not known you. However, I have known you, and they have known that you sent me. I made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love you have loved me with may be in them and I may be in them.
It’s about ‘knowing and being known’ in simple terms. It goes back to the Garden of Eden, when God the Son breathed life into Adam. They wanted unity. They wanted a relationship. They wanted to be one with us. So Jesus did what had to be done to restore that unity that was severed with the original sin. All of us, with the Father and Jesus the Son, one.
It’s all about the knowing and being known. Far beyond a casual sense. Known to a depth that is far from understanding of the world around us.
I said we’d circle back here once again at the end of this article and here we are.
It’s about knowing and being known really is the essence of my final thoughts about this scripture.
Our word is the means that we make ourselves known to those about us. If we never said a word folks would have a limited means to understand who we are, what we stand for, who we serve.
It’s about knowing the will of Christ in us and being known by Him and consequently the Father, because of the Holy Spirit living in us.
I have two desires for two different types of people that may be reading this.
The one group:
The first type is the believer. The ones that have entrusted Jesus with their lives. This link is to the Testimonial section of the website. I have just started collecting the ‘words’ of believers. I would like you to consider adding yours to the Testimonies listed there. However, if you are uncomfortable with sharing your Testimony in such a public fashion even more important to me is that you document your own Testimony. I’ve included an outline of how to go about that on the Share Your Testimony page of the website. If you would only follow these steps to map out your Testimony for your own personal reference, that would be a tremendous step in equipping you to convey your story to others; your word.
If you get to the end of that process and feel like you want to share it on this website with others just paste it into the form at the bottom of the page and send it in. I’ll be sure to follow up with you and get it published. But if you get to the end and still are uncomfortable with that, save it, review it. Study it and have it on your mind when you’re talking to those outside of the Grace of Jesus our Lord and Savior. That’s what Jesus wants of us is to share our story and how it is inextricably united with the Gospel of Jesus.
The other group:
To the other group of people who do not ‘know Jesus’; If you’d go to that Testimony section and read some of those stories of how lives have been changed by the Love and Grace of Jesus I would be so thrilled. I would even be more thrilled if as a result of this article or those Testimonies that you found yourself posting your own Testimony on that page in the near future.
There is a God Hole in the heart of all of us. Some choose to deny it, but it is there. It is the spot in which the Holy Spirit is wanting to live in you to establish that unity with God.
It is my greatest prayer that you allow Jesus to fill that spot.
It’s just Amazing! Amazing Grace!