Seeing the Father through the Son

 


 

Abide- 12

 

TITLE: Seeing the Father through the Son

TEXT: John 17:1-5

TONE: Encouragement

TARGET: Believers

TASK: To encourage believers to trust God and lives their lives for His glory.

TEACH: Isaiah’s vision of God deeply impacted him, leading to his acknowledgement of his own sinfulness and the sinfulness of his people. It compels him to faithfully accept the prophetic mission to call the Israelites to repentance and renew their covenant with God. Isaiah sees God as sovereign over all nations and history, controlling the destinies of peoples and empires. This belief drives Isaiah to proclaim messages not only to Israel but also to other nations, offering both judgments and promises. Isaiah views God as faithful to His promises and committed to redeeming His people. Isaiah prophesies about a coming Messiah who would bring salvation and establish God’s righteous kingdom. His high view of God enabled him to face hard circumstances, hard people, and hard heart.

 

Isaiah’s view of God determined his actions.

 

What we believe about God will determine our actions.

 

Gandhi: “Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.”  Remember, all truth is God’s truth. The world just borrows from it.

 

Today, we will see what Jesus believed about God the Father. The question we need to ask ourselves is: Does my theology match that of Jesus?

 

TRUTH: The disciples had left all to follow Jesus. They must have felt very dejected to be left by Him. Yet, Jesus, was wise and merciful to give them comfort. He spent no less than four chapters, all intending to confirm and fortify their hearts against the bitter trails and afflictions, which they were sure to face after His departure. In our passage today, Jesus once again provides consolation for His disciples via supplication.

 

In this chapter we have the Lord’s prayer. Not the prayer He taught us to pray, but they very prayer He prayed for us.  One author suggests, since this prayer was prayed right before His arrest this was His swansong. He states, “Jesus appears to be swan-like, singing out His dying song in the ears of His disciples.” He further writes, “Truly such a prayer, made by such a one as out Great Hight Priest, at such a time, on such an occasion, under such circumstances will deserve our best attention, both in handling and hearing.”

 

Jesus provides no less than six theological principles to build our lives upon, which in turn bring glory to God.

 

Transition: The First theological principle is observed as….

 

I.               Jesus bows in Humble Dependance before the Father (v.1)

a.     Explanation: “Jesus spoke these words, he lifted (raised from lower to higher position) up His eyes to heaven.” Even though Jesus is co-equal with the Father, both being fully divine, equally God, yet Jesus showed His dependence upon His Father in His humanity to carry out His Father’s plan of redemption, which is evidence here. His praying demonstrated that He ultimately submitted to His Father’s will, which was to go to the cross and pay the penalty (death) for our breaking of God’s law. This has been the pattern of Christ life throughout John. For example:

 

                                               i.     In John 5:19-20, Jesus openly states He does not act independently but only in accordance with what He sees the Father doing, underlying His humble reliance on the Father’s guidance.

 

                                             ii.     In John 6:38, Jesus clearly articulates that His very purpose in coming to earth is to execute the Father’s will rather than His own, showcasing His submission and obedience.

 

                                            iii.     In John 8:28-29, Jesus emphasizes His total reliance on the Father in both speech and action, asserting that His words and deeds are instructed by the Father.  Of course, more examples could be provided, but this will suffice for now.

 

b.     Illustration: George Muller was a Christian evangelist who founded orphanages in England. He is renowned for his remarkable faith and dependence on God. Muller often prayed for the need of his orphanages without soliciting funds directly. Several times when resources were depleted, he would pray, and provisions would arrive unexpectedly. Muller’s life demonstrated a profound trust in God.

 

c.     Our dependence toward God will be evident in our daily posture. Do you bow on your knees, with our eyes lifter toward the heavens in prayer? Daily, do you open your Bible to receive wisdom, instruction, and guidance from the Lord. Do you pray without ceasing? Do you daily confess your sins to prevent hindrance between you and God? Do you cling to Christ as drawing man does to a life raft? Do you put on the full armor of God to stand against the schemes of the devil?

 

d.     Application: Pray and look toward Heaven, expressing both your confidence and dependence on God.

 

Transition: The Second theological principle is observed when….

 

II.              Jesus acknowledges the Divine Providence of the Father (v.1b)

a.     Explanation: When Jesus says, “the hour has come,” He is referring to the predetermined time for a significant phase of His earthly ministry, particularly His suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension. This phrase is laden with eschatological and salvific meaning. Here are some key aspects of its significance:

 

                                               i.     Fulfillment of God’s Redemptive Plan: Culmination of God’s plan for the redemption of humankind.

 

                                             ii.     Glorification through Suffering: This indicates that His impending death, despite being an act of immense suffering, is also the means through which He will accomplish the work of salvation and glorify the Father.

 

                                            iii.     Completion of His Earthly Mission: Jesus acknowledges that His mission will culminate in His death.

 

                                            iv.     Judgment and Victory over Evil: “The hour” also conveys the impending judgment upon the world and the defeat of Satan through Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection.

 

b.     The world was created as the result of divine providence. The earth rotates on its axis by way of divine providence. The seas know their boundaries as result of divine providence. Seasons change, clouds build, rain falls, grass grows, flowers bloom, animals give birth, trees shed their leaves, snow falls, the wind blows all by way of divine providence. Nations rise and fall, kings are exalted and brought low all by providence. Wars rage, the earth quakes, and people live or die according to divine providence. The lost are saved and the dead are raised all as the direct result of divine providence.

 

c.     Application: Trust in God’s timing in your own life, recognizing His plans are perfect and purposeful.

 

Transition: The Third theological principle is observed by….

 

III.            Jesus revealing the Sovereign Election of the Father (v. 2b)

a.     Explanation: When Jesus says, “to give eternal life to all whom you have give me, He is speaking within the context of His Priestly Prayer. This statement encapsulates several profound theological themes:

 

                                               i.     Gift of Eternal Life: Jesus is acknowledging that His mission includes bestowing eternal life upon certain individuals.

 

                                             ii.     Diving Agency: The phrase “all whom you have given me” indicates that those who receive eternal life are given to Jesus by the Father. This indicates a prior divine action and purpose. It reflects the biblical concept of election, wherein God, in His sovereign will, chooses individuals as recipients of His grace.

 

b.     Illustration: In Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer attempts to reconcile the seemingly contradictory beliefs of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will:

An ocean liner leaves New York bound for Liverpool. Its destination has been determined by proper authorities. Nothing can change it. This is at least a faint picture of sovereignty. On board the liner are scores of passengers. These are not in chains, neither are their activities determined for them by decree. They are completely free to move about as they will. They eat, sleep, play, lounge about the deck, read, talk, altogether as they please; but all the while the great liner is carrying them steadily onward toward a predetermined port. Both freedom and sovereignty are present here, they do not contradict. Yet, the reason the people are on the ocean liner is strictly due to God’s sovereign election, His preordained plan.

 

c.     Where would man be apart from God’s sovereign grace? We would be eternally lost and perpetually damned, separated from God in outer darkness. The place of hopelessness and torment. Our nation would be further along in its depravity then it already is. Without God’s grace in election, we would never know there is a God. We would never know that we have broken His law. We would never be made aware of our

 

d.     Application: Examine yourself, test yourself, be sure you’re in the faith.

 

Transition: The Fourth biblical principles is observed as….

 

IV.            Jesus proclaims the Glorious Gospel of the Father (v. 3)

a.     Explanation: When Jesus says, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent,” He is offering a profound explanation of what eternal life entails. This statement is central to understanding the essence of Christian faith and salvation. Let’s break down the key elements:

 

                                               i.     Eternal Life is Knowing God: Jesus defines eternal life not merely as living forever, but as entering a deep, personal relationship with God. In other words, eternal life begins here and now for those who know God.

 

                                             ii.     Intimate, Relational Knowledge: The term “know” in this context is not just about intellectual understanding or awareness. It denotes a personal and intimate intellectual understanding. To know someone implies a close, experiential, and affectionate relationship.

 

                                            iii.     The Only True God: Jesus distinguishes the God of Israel from the false gods and idols that were prevalent in the ancient world. He is asserting the monotheistic belief that there is one true God.

 

                                            iv.     Jesus Christ as Essential to Eternal life: Jesus includes Himself in the equation: Knowing Jesus Christ is inseparable from knowing God. This reveals the foundational Christian belief in the Trinity, where Jesus is fully divine and integral to having a relationship with God. It further underscores His rile as the Messiah (“Christ” means “Anointed One”) and the Savior sent by God. “Sent” points to His incarnation.

 

b.     Illustration: Imagine a neighborhood community hall where children gather after school to play and learn. One day, due to a series of unforeseen events, the building catches fire. The flames spread quickly, trapping several children inside. The situation becomes dire, and the community gathers outside, desperate and anxious for help. Just when hope seems lost, a young firefighter named Alex arrives at the scene. Despite the raging flames, intense heat, and the crumbling structure, Alex bravely rushes into the building, determined to save the children. Navigating through the smoke and debris, Alex finds the group of frightened children huddled together and leans them towards safety. With unwavering courage, he makes multiple trips into the burning building, each time emerging with children in his arms. On Alex’s final trip, weakened and overcome by the smoke, he sill manages to rescue the last child. Unfortunately, as he exits the building, a part of the structure collapses, and Alex is mortally wounded.

 

This story parallels the Gospel in several ways:

 

                                               i.     Desperate Situation: Just like the children trapped in the burning building, humanity is in a desperate situation due to sin.

 

                                             ii.     The Rescuer: Alex represents Jesus Christ, we sees the dire state of humanity and decides to intervene. Jesus willing steps into the world.

 

                                            iii.     Rescue Mission: Just as Alex bravely rescues the children, Jesus comes to “seek and save the lost.” Through His life, death, and resurrection, He provides the way out of sin and death, offering salvation and eternal life.

 

c.     What a Gospel we have. A Gospel decreed by a triune God before the foundation of the world. A Gospel that transcends space and time yet happened at a specific place at a particular time. A Gospel full of divine wisdom, yet, simply enough for a child to believe. Powerful enough to change nations, yet, gentle to enough to heal the broken.

 

d.     Application: Grow deeper in your understanding of the Gospel to know God.

 

Transition: The Fifth biblical principles is observed through…..

 

V.             Jesus’ example of Faithful Obedience to the Father (v. 4)

a.     Explanation: When Jesus said, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” He was communicating several significant theological truths and practical truths. Here are a few aspects:

 

                                               i.     Divine Mission: Jesus refers to the specific tasks and roles given to Him by the Father. His mission included teaching, healing, making God known to humanity, living a sinless life, and ultimately preparing to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin.

 

                                             ii.     Accomplished Word: By saying He has accomplished the work, Jesus indicates that He has faithfully carried out all the Father’s commands and fulfilled the prophecies regarding the Messiah up to that point.

 

                                            iii.     Example for Followers: Jesus life, focused on completing His divine mission and therefore glorifying the Father, serves as an example for believers to follow -living their lives with a purpose to honor and glorify God.

 

b.     Illustration: The time was the 19th of May, 1780. The place was Hartford, Connecticut. The day has down in New England history as a terrible foretaste of Judgment Day. For at nook the skies turned from blue to gray and by mid-afternoon had blackened over so densely that, in that religious age, men fell on their knees and begged a final blessing before the end came. The Connecticut House of Representatives was in session. And as some men fell down and others clamored for immediate adjournment, the Speaker of the House, one Colonel Davenport, came to his feet. He silences them and said these words: “The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish, therefore, that candles may be brought.

 

c.     Faithful is what the Gospel demands of each of us. Faithfulness unto Christ because of His faithfulness unto death. Faithfulness further demands that we die to ourselves daily. O how, the flesh loves to exalt itself above and before God. Further, the worries of this world are screaming for our attention. We are like young puppies, constantly having our drawn away by distractions, driven by contaminated instincts that seek to rule us. Yet we, by the power of the Spirit must not carry out the desires of the flesh. 

 

d.     Application: Submit fully to God’s plan in your life, obeying Him faithfully to the end.

 

Transition: The Final biblical principle is observed when…

 

VI.            Jesus prays for Restored Glory by the Father (v.5)

a.     Explanation: Jesus is requesting that God the Father restore to Him the splendor and honor He enjoyed before taking human form and entering that world. This reflects several key theological points:

 

                                               i.     Preexistence: Jesus exited before the creation of the world, highlighting His eternal nature.

 

                                             ii.     Divine Relationship: It emphasizes the intimate and unique relationship between Jesus and God the Father.

 

                                            iii.     Restoration of Glory: [I will say more on this next week] but for today, Jesus is asking to be reinstated to His original position, which He temporarily set aside to fulfill His mission on earth.

 

Overall, it underscores Jesus’ full divinity, His eternal nature, and His role in the divine plan of salvation.

 

b.     Application: Pray with your eyes lifted toward heaven in complete dependence upon God.

 

TIE-UP: Both Isaiah the Prophet and Jesus the Messiah had high views of God. Isaiah’s view of God caused him to say, “Here am I send me.” Jesus’ view of God caused Him to say, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work” (Jn.4:34) and to say, “not my will, but yours be done” (Lk. 22:42).

 

What is your view of God leading you to do? What do your habits say about your view of God?

 

 

 

 

 

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