Lesson 97


The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

17:6 I revealed your name to the people whom you have given me out of the world. They were yours, and you have given them to me. They have kept your word. 17:7 Now they know that all things whatever you have given me are from you, 17:8 for the words which you have given me I have given to them, and they received them, and knew for sure that I came forth from you, and they believed that you sent me. 17:9 I pray for them. I don't pray for the world, but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 17:10 All things that are mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 17:11 I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them through your name which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are.


 Today's Lesson 

Jesus continued His prayer to the Father. He had acknowledged that His time was near and asked the Father to glorify Him with the glory that He had before the world existed. He spoke of eternal life. Eternal life is knowing the true and holy God, and the one He sent, Jesus Christ. Now He speaks with the Father about His followers.

 

He says that He has revealed the Father to those who were given to Him. The Father has chosen those who would follow the Son. Unless God first chose us, we would be lost. They were first the Father's and the Father has given them to the Son as an inheritance.

 

Does it violate our will to say that God has first chosen us? Does God control our destinies like a great puppet master? Such debates have raged throughout religious history and they will not be settled in this life. We have only to read the clear meaning of the text to know that God is sovereign and has elected His people from before the earth was made. And the text clearly says that we are personally accountable to God for the choice that we make to believe or reject Him. We are God's creation and His to rule. If He has chosen, such is His right. If we are accountable to Him, such is His right. Are we to accuse the one who suffered the scars of Calvary for unfairly judging us?

 

Jesus acknowledges the faith of His disciples. He says that they believe that the Father sent Him and that the Father has given all things to Him. They know these things because Jesus has given them the words of the Father and they have believed in those words. They first heard the word from Jesus, they believed it, and then they kept it (or simply kept believing it).

 

So, because they have believed His words about the Father, He now prays for them. He does not pray for the world, because the world has rejected Him and he has no part in it. But, He prays for these disciples because they are no longer a part of the world. They are a part of Him, instead. They have crossed over from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.

 

"Holy Father, keep them through your name which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are." The desire of Christ is that we be one, one with God and one with each other. Sin separates us from God and from each other. We quarrel and bicker and go our own ways for our selfish reasons. But, Christ has born our sin on the cross and God is no longer counting our sin against us. Sin no longer has the power to separate us from our Father. But, it can still separate us from one another if we allow it to have power in our lives.

 

The power of grace and forgiveness that is ours in Christ is the only thing that can allow us the freedom to live in unity with one another. It is through God's Spirit that we are kept in unity. When we realize all that God has forgiven us for, we are capable of forgiving each other the smaller debts that we owe each other. "Behold, how good it is and how pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity!"

 

This unity, this forgiveness, this glory … has come to us at the cost of the cross. All that we have comes to us from the One that was willing to suffer in our rightful place. Ours is a debt beyond measure. There is nothing that we have to offer that will repay what we owe to Him. How will you acknowledge your debt? Will you accept Him into your heart, or will you reject Him even after He was willing to pay the price for you?

 

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