This Is Eternal Life

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Scripture Focus- John 17:1-5

Jesus’ earthly ministry was characterized by devoted prayer. The Bible highlights the focus of Jesus on prayer throughout His earthly life. John 17 is holy ground. This is the longest recorded prayer of our Lord during His earthly ministry and has been called the High Priestly Prayer. The prayer was offered in the presence of the disciples, after the institution of the Lord’s Supper, and immediately after the discussion of chapters 14 to 16.

Many Bible scholars have harmonized the account in the four Gospels with the Lord Jesus praying the prayer of John 17 in the Upper Room after He finished instructing His disciples. Whether He prayed it in the Upper Room or in route to the Garden of Gethsemane, it takes us into the depth of the eternal relationship between God the Father and God the Son, and gives insight into the throne room of God, the Holy of Holies.

Jesus prayed for Himself. Jesus prayed for His disciples. Jesus prayed for all disciples to follow, who would include us.

Melanchton was giving his last lecture before his death and said of John 17, “There is no voice which has ever been heard, either in heaven or in earth, more exalted, more holy, more fruitful, more sublime, than the prayer offered up by the Son of God Himself.”

Jesus was preparing for the sufferings ahead, and what He would endure on the cross. He prayed for the joy, unity, and hope of the disciples, and ultimately for all who would follow Him.

This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent- Jesus Christ.

The word “eternal” is derived from a word meaning “age” or “eon.” At its most basic level, eternal life refers to an unending duration of life. The biblical idea comes from the understanding that God is a living God who existed prior to creation in eternity past and who will always exist in eternity future. All people will live eternally somewhere – either Heaven or Hell.

Knowing God is the central theme of the Bible and the reason He has revealed Himself to us. To “know” includes cognitive knowledge, a faith response to Jesus Christ, and experiential knowledge in fellowship with God. Eternal life has both a present and a future aspect to it, a present possession now for believers and a promise of not coming under judgment for the future.

What does it mean to know God?

To know God is to magnify His glory.

V1 Glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you

Jesus focused on the glory of God in His life and ministry. His birth, life, teaching, miracles, and death and resurrection brought glory to the Father. The word used most often for the glory of God in the Old Testament (kâbôd) means heavy, or abundant. Another word is (hâdâr) which means magnificence or splendor. The words refer to the weight or intensity of something, in this case the character of God. The word used most often for the glory of God in the New Testament is (doxa) which focuses on the perception of something as being good. Closely related is the word (doxazō) meaning to render glorious.

The glory of God is the weighty importance and shining majesty of God’s presence. The glory of God refers to who He is, His attributes and greatness.

The glory of God is revealed in what He has made. Psalm 19:1-6 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge. There is no speech; there are no words; their voice is not heard. Their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a groom coming from the bridal chamber; it rejoices like an athlete running a course. It rises from one end of the heavens and circles to their other end, nothing is hidden from its heart.

The glory of God is revealed through His presence. In Exodus 40, the presence of God was displayed and reveals the power of God in it. After God gave the Israelites instructions on how to build the Tabernacle and worship in it, something amazing happened. The cloud was the visible demonstration of the presence of the Lord. The glory of the Lord filled the place. The same thing happened when the Temple was built. The Temple was far grander than the Tabernacle. Solomon dedicated the Temple in prayer to God. 2 Chronicles 7 The presence of the Lord came down like a thick cloud filling the place.

The glory of God is revealed in Jesus. John 1:1,14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . .The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The glory of God is made known in the children of God. 2 Corinthians 3:18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, this is from the Lord who is the Spirit. The Christian life is a pilgrimage from glory to glory. Be aware of the glory of God, and seek to live for the glory of God.

To know God is to surrender to His authority.

V2 Since you gave Him authority over all flesh

Authority is a major biblical theme, sometimes translated as power. Authority is attributed to God the Father, as part of His nature. God the Father has entrusted all authority to Jesus. We surrender to the authority of God in a willing response to His grace and love for us.

Monty Roberts, better known as the “Horse Whisperer,” was raised in the horse business. He learned there was one way to train horses: by “breaking” them. Through domination and force, which at times included striking the horse with whips or even tying and suspending the horse’s feet and legs, a trainer would impose his will upon the animal until it reached the conclusion that total submission was the only way to survive. In his early teen years Roberts began to study the behavior and communication patterns of wild mustangs in the badlands of Nevada. He took note of the nonverbal communication among the horses. Drawing on this observation and his firsthand experience with horses, Roberts developed a breakthrough training technique he first called “hooking on” as opposed to “breaking down” the horse’s will.

This new training method was based on a cornerstone concept he eventually trademarked called JoinUp®. Join-Up not only stopped the “breaking” norms of traditional horse training, it showcased how to cooperate with the horse’s own spirit, innate ways, and means of communicating as a member of the herd. The personality and full potential of the horse emerge through loving freedom and desire rather than domination. The Join-Up technique invites an untamed horse that has never been ridden to willingly accept the saddle, bridle, and rider. It is a thing of beauty to watch. Monty Roberts enters a round pen with a wild horse. In as little as half an hour, he’ll be riding the horse.

After a brief period of introducing himself and interacting with the horse, Roberts turns his back to the animal and walks away. At this point the horse trains her eyes on Monty with all-out intensity and attention. She is asking herself, “Where is he going?” and “Do I want to stay by myself?” The horse must choose: “I want to be with you. I want to join up and follow you on the way.” She quickly decides, “My safe place is with you.” Dropping her head and trotting to Roberts’s side, the horse says, “I choose to follow. I want to be with you.”

Jesus has authority in creation. Colossians 1:16 For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things have been created through Him and for Him.

Jesus sustains creation by His authority. Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.

Jesus has authority over the forces of nature He created. When the Lord was in a boat with his disciples on the Sea of Galilee, a storm “came down” upon that body of water (695 feet below sea level—an environment facilitating violent weather). The waves were crashing over the vessel, covering it, and it began to be filled with water. The disciples, though experienced fishermen, were terrified. They awoke the Lord, who was asleep in the stern, and cried out for his help. Jesus “rebuked” both the wind and the sea, and immediately the wind ceased, and there was a “great calm” upon the water (Mt. 8:23ff; Mk. 4:35ff; Lk. 8:22ff).

Jesus has authority over the spiritual world. We see the extent of His authorized rule in His sovereignty over Satan and all his demons. Mark 1:27 “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”

Jesus has authority over the events of history. This is why John calls him King over all kings. “They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with Him are called and chosen and faithful” Revelation 17:14

Jesus has authority over life and death. Ephesians 1:20-21 God raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

Jesus has authority over the mission of the church and over our lives. Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age.”

To know God is to follow His will.

V4 I have glorified you on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do.

To do the will of the Father was the chief focus of Jesus and to do the will of God should be our chief focus.

4:34 My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.

5:30 I can do nothing on My own, I judge only as I hear, and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

Jesus accomplished the mission the Father had assigned to Him. He had fulfilled and finished it. He had not yet suffered on the cross, but He speaks as if this suffering has already been endured because it was certain to be accomplished.

 

The will of God is revealed in His Sovereign will. Ephesians 1:11 We have also received an inheritance in Him, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will. The will of God is God’s sovereign rule over all that comes to pass. This goes all the way to the smallest details of nature and human decisions.

The will of God is revealed in His commands. This is the will of God we either obey or disobey. John 14:21The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me.

How can we follow the will of God? There are some life principles that can be implemented that will lead to knowing and following the will of God.

Love God Matthew 22:37 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

Love others Matthew 22:39 Love your neighbor as yourself.

Commit your ways to God Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you in the right paths.

Follow the Word of God Psalm 119:1 How happy are those whose way is blameless, who live according to the Lord’s instructions.

Pray and trust the Holy Spirit to lead according to the Word of God.

This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent- Jesus Christ.