Welcome to this edition of My Thoughts and the seventh of our eight-week series on “The Cost of Discipleship.” In this week’s segment, “Give Jesus Honor and Praise,” we will hear Jesus praying for Himself, His disciples, and all believers. We will be using two passages from the Gospel of John. Open your Bible and turn to the Gospel of John 17:1-8 and 20-26.
How would someone spend the next forty-eight hours of their life if they knew death was imminent? Many would say eat anything they wanted, go a see a specific place, or hopefully tell loved ones and friends that they are sorry if they have hurt them in any way. Some may just sit at home and wallow in self-pity. Why was this question asked? It is how long Jesus had before His death on the cross for humanity.
Similarly, believers who embrace Jesus’ death on the cross to save them from their sins desire to honor Him. True disciples take up their crosses and are willing to die, if necessary, to declare the Gospel. Coming to the Lord Jesus Christ should be life-changing for believers. Living to honor Jesus replaces the former motivations to live for self, money, fame, and all other forms of idolatry.
Jesus is worthy of honor. We are to seek and encourage believers to honor Him by His completion of God’s work and through obedience and unity. In John 17:1-8, 20-26, Jesus shows us to give God honor and praise through prayer
Passage Text – John 17:1-8, 20-26
1 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,”
2 “As You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.”
3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
4 “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.”
5 “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.”
7 “Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You.”
8 “For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You, and they have believed that You sent Me.”
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.”
21 “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
22 “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:”
23 “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
25 “O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You, and these have known that You sent Me.”
26 “And I have declared to them Your name and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
Glory to Die
Jesus had many other things He wanted to say to His disciples before He suffered, but He realized they were not able to grasp further teaching (John 16:12). However, He could pray for them. So, Jesus ended His instruction and lifted His eyes toward heaven. The prayer began with Jesus affirming again that His hour had come. He knew the agony and suffering He was about to endure.
Why would Jesus refer to His death on the cross as a thing of glory? The cross meant pain, suffering, and bearing the sins of the whole world. Jesus’ death on the cross was glorious because Jesus was fulfilling the will of the Father, who sent Him to be our Savior so we could spend eternity in heaven, not hell.
We, as disciples, should be focused on bringing glory to God in everything we do. The glory Jesus obtained and the glory we should seek focuses on bringing glory to the Father, who saved us and called us into His service.
One God and One Savior
Jesus acknowledged the Father as the Source of the authority to lay down His life and to provide eternal life to all whom the Father gave Him. Those who put their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior receive the divine promise and have the right to become the children of God. Jesus would soon give power to His disciples to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Jesus stated there is only one God and one Savior. Religions that flaunt other means of salvation are, in essence, forms of idolatry. There is salvation in no other name than the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12). Jesus further affirmed in His prayer that His single purpose during His time on earth was to bring glory to the Father by completing the Father’s work.
Obeying God’s Will
At the time of His prayer, the cross still lay in the future. However, there was no doubt Jesus would accomplish the work. He revealed the practical implications of giving God glory. Obeying the Father’s will and fulfilling His mission glorifies God. A life of obedience that brings glory to God is not without pain and sacrifice, but the result is God’s blessing and approval.
The successful completion of His saving mission meant being exalted in heaven by the Father. Believers have every reason to honor Jesus throughout their lives because He completed God’s work of providing a way to eternal life.
Final Teaching for the Disciples
Jesus came as the ultimate Prophet to reveal the Father as no prophet before He could do (Hebrews 1:1-2). The knowledge of God that Jesus provided is transmitted through Jesus’ presence, words, and deeds. He entrusted this knowledge initially to the apostles or disciples. Jesus spent three years with them, revealing the Father and unfolding God’s plan of redemption for the world.
Jesus declared, despite their slowness to learn and faltering steps, that they had obeyed the Father’s word. Love for God is demonstrated by obedience to His commands. We cannot love God and disobey Him at the same time. These statements of truth and morality are absolute and unchanging.
Biblical values are opposed by the world, promoted by Satan, and embraced by rebellious people. Christians demonstrate their allegiance to God and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ through daily obedience to God’s Word.
The conviction by the disciples that Jesus is the Son of God was the result of three factors:
- First, they recognized Jesus because of His divine presence through miracles.
- Second, the disciples heard Jesus’ words that explained the Father and interpreted the Scriptures with authority.
- Third, the disciples saw He lived a perfect life before them and modeled a life of obedience to the Father.
A Call to Unity
What did Jesus identify as an utmost future need? He prayed for unity. The true and lasting unity of believers is based on the unity of the Trinity. This stands in contrast to the division created by sin in the world. There is one God who exists in three Persons. Each Person of the Trinity works in harmony, and each contributes uniquely to the work of God.
Jesus emphasized love as the primary reason for God’s inclusion of believers in the fellowship of the Trinity. We live in an unprecedented age of diversity within the church, involving style of worship, music, dress, architecture, and many other preferential styles. Jesus was not calling on believers to adopt particular preferences to the exclusion of others. The church has demonstrated many different styles throughout church history and within different cultures.
Unity, based on true doctrine, is the essential truth of Scripture and continues to either unify or divide based on conformity to or rejection of biblical truth. Genuine unity, based on Christlike love, refuses to allow selfishness or other manifestations of sinful nature to divide us. Unbelievers will see an accurate representation of the love of the Trinity only when faithful believers model that love for them in the body of Christ.
In verse 24, the phrase “Be with Me where I am,” is one of the most beautiful concepts in God’s Word. He prayed for that reality, to the end that the redeemed would be able to see Jesus’ full glory. The disciples saw glimpses of Jesus’ glory at His transfiguration and in His miracles. These disciples would soon see His resurrected glory. Jesus knew the Father and came to earth to make Him known.
Those who believe in Him also come to know the Father. Jesus revealed the holiness, righteousness, mercy, and grace of the Father. He showed God’s love so that believers might demonstrate such love for God and one another. As believers, we can be sure that we are able to honor Jesus not only now but also when we are with Him forever in heaven, Amen!
I am Dale Van De Bogart and I fully agree on God’s Word!
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