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The Upper Room Ministry (11)

C Jones, Cardiff

John chapter 17 (cont.)

For them also which shall believe

The disciples were being left in the hostile, wicked world to work and witness for their Lord and Master. He had said, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd" (Jn 10.16). As the centuries have gone by since the Lord’s return to heaven, a vast number of people, unknown to us but known to God (2 Tim 2.19), have been saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 2.8). Those of us who are believers have been saved by the words spoken and written by the apostles so long ago, which have been passed down and used by the Holy Spirit speaking through generations of faithful believers (Jn 17.20; 2 Tim 2.2). The Lord prayed for all believers. He prayed that believers might be united, as the Father and Son have been united eternally in harmony, purpose, and intention. We are told to endeavour "to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph 4.3), and it is good and pleasant when Christ-like believers dwell together in unity and peace in obedience to the Word of God. Spiritual gifts will be exercised in such companies for the blessing and edification of believers and the glory of God (Eph 4.3-16). The believers will pray together (2 Cor 1.11), assemble together, and help and exhort one another (Heb 10.25). The Lord will bless such companies (Ps 133.1-3), and the world will see them and believe that God did indeed send His beloved Son into the world (Jn 17.21).

The Lord acquired glory through His obedient life, suffering, and substitutionary death on the Cross, and God "raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory" (1 Pet 1.21). The disciples would glorify the Lord (Jn 17.10), and be glorified with Him. These realities would promote unity among them (v.22). The Holy Spirit dwells within us from the moment we are saved (1 Cor 6.19), and we are told that Christ dwells in our hearts by faith (Eph 3.17), and that He is in us, "the hope of glory" (Col 1.27).

As we meditate on the Scriptures and are obedient to what the Spirit reveals to us, so we will become more like our Lord and Saviour. Where there is unity among believers, people will inevitably see the love we have for God and for each other. True unity, in love, is brought about by the Lord indwelling each believer. He said, "I in them, and thou in me" (Jn 17.23). When the Lord comes back for us to take us to be with Himself in heaven eternally (1 Thess 4.17), we shall receive glorified bodies (1 Jn 3.2), for He "shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body" (Phil 3.21), and we shall see in reality the truth of the words that "whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate", and "whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified" (Rom 8.29,30). When the Lord returns with His glorified saints to rule over the earth in the Millennium, then all men will appreciate that He was sent by His Father and that there is unity in love between God the Father, God the Son, and the children of God. They will understand that all that the Lord did was motivated by His love for His Father and by the love of the Father and the Son for the world (Jn 3.16), the church (Eph 5.25), and for each believer (Gal 2.20).

The Lord again referred to believers as a love gift from His Father to Himself, and showed the equality and unity of the Father and the Son in working for the blessing of believers when He said, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am" (Jn 17.24). He loves us and wants us to be with Him eternally (14.3). We shall be with Him and each one of us shall see His glory, the glory He had with His Father before the creation of the world and the glory He acquired during His service for God on earth.

The love in the Godhead is eternal, for it had no beginning. The world had a beginning, it was created (Gen 1.1; Col 1.16,17), but the Lord said, "…thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world" (Jn 17.24). There are times when, as we read the Scriptures, we are privileged to learn of things that happened before the world existed. It is difficult for some of us to imagine such a situation but, by the grace of God, we believe such revelations completely and absolutely, for when we read the Scriptures we are reading not the thoughts and theories of men but the Word of God who cannot lie (Tit 1.2; Heb 6.18). We read that "he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world" (Eph 1.4), and that it was "foreordained before the foundation of the world" that the Lord Jesus Christ should come to earth, suffer, bleed, and die on the Cross that we might be redeemed (1 Pet 1.18-21).

The world at large did not, and does not, know the God whom the Lord revealed, but the Son knows the Father (Jn 8.55), and "no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him" (Mt 11.27). By grace, the disciples knew the Lord and they knew His righteous Father, and they believed that the Lord had been sent by His Father into this sinful, unrighteous world (Jn 17.25), which does not know God (Rom 1.28). By grace, and grace alone, those of us who are believers know the Father and the Son, whom to know is life eternal (Jn 17.3). The Lord said, "I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it" (v.26). He had revealed the Father to them (14.9; 15.15; Heb 1.3), and ever since the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit has continued to reveal to believers both God the Father and God the Son through the Written Word of God (Jn 14.26; 16.13). The disciples had learned of the love of the Father for the Son, and the love of the Son for the Father (Jn 17.24; 14.31; 15.9,10). They had also learned of the love of the Father and the Son for the disciples themselves (16.27; 15.9), and they had heard the Lord’s command that they should love one another (15.17).

The Lord said to His Father that He had made Him known to His disciples. He had revealed to them His Father’s love, character, and authority, and He prayed "that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them" (17.26). It is His will that the Father’s love for Him will be in us through the Lord Himself dwelling in us (14.23), so that we will love each other and the lost around us as He loves. If we grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour and are obedient to Him, then, by the grace of God, the love of God within us will manifest itself in increasing likeness to the Lord. We will glorify God in the things we do and say (Eph 2.10; Mt 5.16; 1 Cor 6.19,20), and we shall enjoy the love, peace and joy which the Lord would have us to enjoy.



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