Please Stand with me (if not standing) for the reading of God’s word: Read Passage:
This is the word of the Lord:
Capture the attention
This can be exciting news.
It is often news we want to hear if we need a job.
But what if you don’t really know what the job is?
Or perhaps you don’t know how to do the job.
Maybe you know the job requires some equipment, and you start to wonder if you have what you need or the skills that it takes to keep this job.
Clarify the subject
For many Christians, for many of us, we are in a similar boat.
We have placed our faith in Christ, we have joined a church.
We are doing churchy things.
And then we find out that we should be making disciples.
This is something we see some other people doing, and don’t really know if we can do it ourselves.
We start to feel ill-equipped and unqualified, and we falter when we try.
We are in need of perseverance.
Create the need
We know that we are called to make disciples as the key component of Jesus Great Commission to his followers, yet we are regularly drawn away from our mission, either due to a lack of faith or a host of distractions that rob us of the true joy of serving our Savior.
Credit the word
In our passage for this morning we are in the middle of Jesus prayer to the Father at the end of his last supper.
It is here that we see what Jesus’ priorities are for us, and what he knows we need.
Convincingly state proposition
Today we dig in to Jesus’ prayer for his disciples, so that you can persevere in your mission with confidence and joy.
Transition (chart course)
This morning we will see who Jesus is praying for, and what he is praying for them to be able to persevere in their calling.
Jesus begins by telling the Father who he is praying for.
He is doing this so his listening disciples will persevere in their mission with confidence and joy.
Look at verses 6-11 with me.
The first thing Jesus mentions is that he has “manifested your name to the people.”
What is he talking about here?
He is speaking of one of his primary purposes in his incarnation.
The Son of God took on flesh to make known the Father.
If we go back to John 1:14-18, we read that the Word became flesh, that he has revealed the glory of the Father, and in his flesh, he has made God known.
That phrase, made him known, means to explain him, to reveal who God is by showing us in his life what words can only express so much of.
Moses wanted to know God.
When he faced the overwhelming prospect of escorting Israel to the promised land after their rebellion, he wanted to know that God would be with him, and most of all he wanted to know as much about God as he could know, asking, “show me your glory.”
God’s response was to speak to Moses about his character, revealing that he was merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and so on.
Jesus has lived out this character in front of his disciples.
They know God because they know Jesus.
That is why Jesus said at the beginning of his prayer that eternal life was to know God and Jesus whom he had sent.
And this is why when Philip asked to see the Father in John 14:8, Jesus replied that if he had seen him, he had seen the Father.
This doesn’t mean that Jesus is the Son and the Father, or the Son is the Father.
Jesus’ interaction with the Father through prayer alone shows us they are distinct persons.
What this points us to is their union in essence, in their divine nature and being.
The God who is One is revealed to us in the Son.
The disciples have had God revealed to them through knowing Jesus.
Secondly, the disciples are described as those who have been given to the Son.
These people are gifts from the Father.
These imperfect people.
These dull headed people.
These people who would all abandon him in a few short hours, they were all gifts to the Son.
What makes these people so special?
Jesus says they have kept his word.
They didn’t perfectly obey, nor did they perfectly understand.
Instead, what this means is fleshed out for us in what Jesus continues to say about them in verses 7-8.
They know all that Jesus has was given to him by the Father.
They received his words rather than reject them, such as those who walked away in John 6.
They have also believed, and by implication followed Jesus because they believed, that Jesus was sent by the Father.
Another question: What is so important about knowing that Jesus was sent by the Father?
This is an important theme in John’s gospel.
We first see the language of the Son being sent by the Father in John 3:17, which tells us the mission of the Son.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Every time Jesus refers to himself as “sent,” this mission is what he is referring to, and it is this purpose that people need to believe about him, which is that he was sent to save through his substitutionary death and resurrection.
This theme is so important to John that he uses this phrase 16 times in his gospel as a key self-designation by Jesus.
Keeping and believing.
These characteristics are what separate the disciples from the world.
Jesus is not praying for the world, in that his prayer for the world is not the same as what he is praying for those who are already his.
If Jesus were not concerned for the world, he would not have been sent into the world to save it.
As we come to the end of Jesus’ description of his disciples, he again repeats that they were the Father’s and are now his, but now he adds that he is glorified in them.
This glory is due to their keeping his word, which is in contrast to how the hostile world reacts to him.
Though quite imperfect, it is through their honoring of the Son in their allegiance to him that they bring him and the Father glory.
This is who Jesus is praying for.
They are the Father’s gift to the Son, and he is determined to do all he can to keep this gift safe as he prepares to return to the Father.
One of my children recently had a birthday.
One of the gifts he received was from his aunt and uncle.
They knew that he liked vehicles, especially trucks, and that is what he got.
When he first opened the box, he saw that he got a toy truck.
Now, he has lots of trucks.
He has enough trucks that no one truck seems to be more valuable than the others.
But as he was opening his new truck on his birthday, he started to see things about his present that he did not notice upon first tearing into the wrapping paper.
The first thing he noticed was that there was not just 1 truck, but 2!
Then he noticed that there were guns on the hood!
Then he saw that they were laser guns!
Then he saw that the trucks were remote controlled!
In the end, what he discovered was that he had two remote controlled laser-tag trucks.
And since he has gotten these trucks he treats them better than his other trucks.
He takes care of them differently, and understandably, he spends more time with these new trucks.
Just as my son recognized that his trucks were valuable gifts, Jesus recognizes that his disciples are valuable gifts from his Father.
They are so valuable, that Jesus recounts to his Father what makes them valuable, and he prays especially for them.
Now, I am usually reluctant to tell people that God makes much of them.
This is probably an over-reaction to so many messages that make too much of people and too little of God.