Insanity, Blasphemy, or Deity?

Have you settled the issue in your mind concerning who Jesus really is?

His high priestly prayer starts in John 17:1-5. Listen to his prayer:

“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
For you granted him authority over all people
that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.
Now this is eternal life: that they know you,
the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory
I had with you before the world began.”

There are only three explanations for everything you see and hear in Jesus’ prayer: Insanity, blasphemy, or deity.
Jesus is insane and out of his mind of which some accused Him.
Jesus blasphemed and desired to die which the Jewish leaders concluded.
Or Jesus is who He claims to be. The Son of the living God.
Who do you say that He is? Have you settled this issue in your mind?

Why not commit to settle this issue today!

For Romans 10:13 promises this: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The Ultimate Hindrance to Our Church’s Mission

I came across this challenging quote in my study of Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer in John’s Gospel. What do you think of John Milne’s comment on John 17:21 and 23?

“The biggest barriers to effective evangelism according to the prayer of Jesus are not so much outdated methods, or inadequate presentations of the gospel, as realities like gossip, insensitivity, negative criticism, jealousy, backbiting, an unforgiving spirit, a root of bitterness, failure to appreciate others, self-preoccupation, greed, selfishness and every other form of lovelessness.”

Why not use the above to assess your own life and the quality of your relationships with others in the body of Christ?

Jesus’ Ultimate Desire for You – John 17:24

Before the final conflict of the cross is engaged, one final ministry remains for Jesus to perform: the vital work of prayer. In John 17, He prays first for himself, secondly for his original band of disciples, and lastly he prays for us (those who believe in him through their word).

This is the most wonderful prayer that ever rose from this earth to the throne of God, and this petition is the most wonderful in Jesus’ entire prayer. It is impossible that this prayer should go unanswered. If the sheep are in Christ’s hand and in the father’s hand, they shall never perish.

Jesus opens the window of his heart in this prayer to his Father. We see an ardent yearning for our presence as he prays: “Father, I desire that they also whom you gave me may be with me where I am.”

One of the strongest instincts of the human soul is the longing to be with those you love. How gut wrenching when death comes and tears away from your embrace those whom you have dearly loved! Well, our divine Redeemer is our Elder Brother, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh; and there in the heavens He feels the pulse of those human affections of which we are so distinctly conscious, and breaks out — “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am.”

Prayer is the language of desire. Prayer reveals the deepest longings and desires of a person’s heart. This prayer reveals what is truly most near and dear to Jesus.

What is Jesus’ ultimate desire for you? Jesus desires for you to be with Him. “With me” is the language of love. The beloved longing for his lover’s presence. There is nothing that can equal the indescribable tenderness of Jesus’ final request. It is the foundation to Jesus’ promise in John 14:3 – “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

As Jesus comes to the climax of the cross in referring to himself, Jesus prays “not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36), but now, when referring to his followers, he prays “I will (desire) that …” His concern for us is greater than his concern for himself.

What does this prayer mean? When are earthly journey is done, we shall go to be with Jesus forever. It is a certain reality that you shall one day soon be with Jesus Christ. You may have many enemies opposing you on your way to glory. Satan desires to have you, like he did Peter, that he may sift you like wheat. Your worldly friends will do all they can to hinder you. Still you shall be with Christ.

He does not ask for you to be with him merely because that is what is best for you, or simply because it is the right thing to do, but because that is his heart’s aspiration. This is what he longs for! And so he asks his Father for it!

For whom does Jesus desire this? Look at verse 20 – “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.” According to verse 24a, those who believe in Christ are those whom the Father has given to the Son.

One of the sure marks of all that were given to Christ is that they come to Jesus and believe. Have you come to Christ? Has your heart been opened to receive him? Has Jesus Christ been made precious to you?

Let the words of Robert Murray M’Cheyne dissolve your heart with thankfulness:

In truth, Christ cannot lack you. Heaven would be no heaven to him, if you were not there.” You are his crown of beauty (Isaiah 62:3). You are the apple of his eye (Deuteronomy 32:10), his treasured possession (Exodus 19:5), his portion (Deuteronomy 32:9), and his bride (Revelation 21:9).

Jesus’ Ultimate Desire for You – Part 2

 

Jesus prays in John 17:24: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”

Jesus gives us his reason for why he wants you to be with him: “That they may behold my glory which you have given me…”

Jesus Desires Your Presence so that You Might See His Glory. That all the given ones might dwell in his immediate presence forever in order that they might delight forever in the glory of God in Christ… a vision that begins here on earth (2 Corinthians 3:18) and reaches its climax in heaven.

It is interesting to note that Jesus taught and modeled for his disciples that real glory consists in gladly taking the lowly place and serving others. But here Jesus wants us to see that that is not the whole story. There is coming a day when we will see and experience the transcendent, majestic, awe-inspiring glory of our Lord. It is only as we are with Jesus that we will see and experience this glory.

Well, we must ask ourselves a basic question: What is glory? Glory is the outward radiance of the intrinsic beauty and greatness of Jesus Christ in his manifold perfections. We catch glimpses of His glory during our earthly lives (1:14; 2:11; 2 Cor 3:18; 4:6), but there is a yet more complete vision of his glory that awaits believers. John later says that at his coming “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2; Colossians 3:4).

Since heaven is to be spent beholding and marveling at the glory of Jesus, would pray for the Lord to awaken your desire to behold and experience a taste of His glory and beauty now on earth? Would you pray along with King David: “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord” (Psalm 27:4).

Does the desire of the patriarch Job resonate with your spirit? “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27)

Take a moment to reflect on these words that set forth the desire of the Apostle Paul. “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:21,23). “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

One Key Use of John 17:24: Let it comfort you when you are called upon to release someone you love to Jesus at the time of their death. Jesus wants them to be with him. That is why Psalm 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” We should see the deaths of our Christian loved ones and of ourselves as the Father’s answer to his Son’s prayer. Jesus is taking his own to be with him where he is and now they behold the fair beauty of their Lord not just by faith but now by sight.

John Knox had this passage of Scripture (John 17) read to him every day while he was on his deathbed. It is not hard to imagine why this last section would have been particularly comforting to him. For here we read of Jesus’ burning passion for our presence. He wants you to be with him and see his glory. Heaven would not be the same with your absence. He makes sure that you not only have the right to heaven but also are made fit for heaven so that you might be by his side. Oh, how he must love you!

 

The Biggest Barrier to Reaching People with the Gospel

John Milne, in his commentary on John’s Gospel, writes:

“The biggest barrier to effective evangelism according to the prayer of Jesus is not so much outdated methods, or inadequate presentations of the gospel, as realities like gossip, insensitivity, negative criticism, jealousy, backbiting, an unforgiving spirit, a root of bitterness, failure to appreciate others, self-preoccupation, greed, selfishness and every other form of lovelessness. These are the squalid enemies of effective evangelism which render the gospel fruitless and send countless thousands into eternity without a Savior.”

Let us pray that we would love one another well and, thus, see people come to vibrant faith in Jesus.

The Purpose of Jesus’ Prayer in John 17

Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17 serves as a pattern of His intercession that He carries on for us in heaven now. It also serves as an example for our own prayer life. In a nutshell, what Christ asks for us, we should ask for ourselves.

“Jesus here shows teachers an example, that they should not only occupy themselves in sowing the Word, but, by mixing their prayers with it, should implore God’s help that his blessing should make their work fruitful.” – John Calvin

“It is in prayer, costly, sustained, and prevailing, that the Word of God is released through teaching and preaching. Prayer is the price of power, and the church of Jesus Christ is not likely to recover its lost authority until this basic biblical truth is recovered.” – John Milne’s commentary on John 17