Our Wednesday night Bible study is in John 17 which some might say is the real “Lord’s prayer” even more so than the 23rd Psalm, but I’ll leave that to you to decide. One thing is for sure John 17 is quite the prayer, and it comes right before Jesus is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. Since Jesus knew his arrest was imminent it must mean these final words to his Father, in front of his disciples, were of the utmost importance.
The 14th through 17th chapters in the gospel of John are some of the most amazing words I have ever read. Those four chapters are overwhelmingly made up of Jesus’ words to his disciples as he taught them about his going away, the coming of the Holy Spirit, what was going to happen after he left and what he expected of them.
John 17 is Jesus’ prayer that thankfully the Holy Spirit inspired John to record. In this chapter we discover what Jesus asks the Father and how he wants his disciples to be brought into union with the Trinity of Father, Son and Spirit. It has come to my attention this prayer is broken down into three main sections. Jesus talks of how he manifested the Father’s name to the disciples, he had given them his word and given them His glory.
Jesus makes it very clear that he and the Father are one and those that believe and receive what he offers are meant to be one with them. Apparently this has been the plan all along. Throughout the Biblical narrative God’s glory shines through because his word can be trusted because he guards the reputation of his name.
God gave Abraham his word about the whole world being blessed through his seed. In Christ it has happened. When Moses objected to being called to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt he asked, “Who will I say sent me?” God revealed his name to him saying, “tell them I AM sent you.” Later Moses asked to see God’s glory, and when the time came for him to see, God revealed to him “It will come about, while my glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.” When God did reveal himself to Moses the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”
Throughout the New Testament Jesus Christ makes several statements which invokes the name “I AM” in relation to himself. On one occasion he said, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad…Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Wow! Jesus clearly taught that he was the one and same God that gave Abraham the promise and revealed his patience and loving-kindness to Moses.
Now in John 17 Jesus prays on behalf of his disciples longing for them to enter into oneness with the Father as he is. He said, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, (the disciples present at the time) but for those also who believe in me through their word; that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.”
Without belaboring the point let me finish up by saying everything is about God’s name, his word and his glory. Everything Jesus did was for these three reasons and he wants us to share in it with him. Therefore he went to the cross to enable us to be brought back into union with God. He reveals God to us and sanctifies us with his word, not to take us out of the world, but to send us in so we might express God’s name, word and glory as we invite others who will to join us in God’s glorious plan. “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.”