As Christians, and as the church as a whole, how can we experience power to make a difference? We’ll see from the Bible that the key to power is unity. Our Bible passage today talks about two kinds of unity:
Glory. Praise. Recognition. Credit. We all crave it to some degree.
Last week, Pastor David unpacked the first part of Jesus’ prayer that we’re looking at today and it was all about his glory. For his greatness to be seen. That’s the main idea of glory. But the word greatness kind of describes the quantity, like “BIG GOODNESS” but not so much the quality. We learned that the QUALITY of his glory (seen in Exodus 34) is his LOVE. AND all the things that come from his love, like self-sacrifice, mercy, grace, forgiveness, justice, compassion, and so on. That’s where his greatness lies. And we all intuitively understand this because we were created to long for this kind of greatness, especially when we’re reading books or watching movies/and someone sacrifices themselves for another.
Jesus wants his glory because when he gets his glory, people come to him, and they find eternal abundant fulfilling life, not just later, but NOW. His glory is good for everyone. That was the jist of last week’s sermon.
Now as we move on in the prayer, Jesus begins to pray for his disciples, a.k.a. Us! And he says something crazy about his glory.
Right before our main passage, he says, “And glory has come to me through them. (John 17:10) Them being his followers. Us. The church.
Now just sit with that for a second. Jesus’ greatness, the glory of God. The very essence at the center of the universe. We’re not simply observers of that glory, WE ARE THE MEANS, THE VESSEL, THE VEHICLE through which Jesus is glorified! We are to represent the essential nature of God for Jesus! What a privilege! What a dignifying and satisfying motive for life. To play volleyball and BRING GLORY TO GOD. To be a janitor, AND BRING GLORY TO GOD. To eat and BRING GLORY TO GOD. We’ve been given incredible meaning and importance to life, but since we are so important to God’s mission, we are also in danger. Those who oppose God will put a target on our backs. And so, in our passage today, Jesus prays for our protection. Let’s read.
“11b Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them in your name that[b] you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost,[c] so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.”
We’re working backwards today in our text so we can see what God is protecting us from and what he’s protecting us for and how he is protecting us!
When my son, Jalen, was a baby there were times at night when he would just cry uncontrollably. Maybe he wants milk? Maybe he’s hungry? So, we would give him milk and still he would just cry and cry. What does he want? Maybe a diaper change? So, we changed his diaper and still he would just cry and cry. We carried and danced with him but still he would just cry and cry. We gave him a soother, same result!
We called this the witching hour because we couldn’t figure out what he wanted! It was frustrating because he would do this almost every day. He would just cry and cry, and nothing would soothe him.
Then out of frustration, I put him down in front of the TV, and shockingly he stopped! He would just watch TV. The next day it worked again, and again and again! What a relief! Life would be so much easier if babies could just tell you what they want, it would save so much time and your sanity.
Sometimes, that’s how it can feel like in our relationship with God. If God could just tell us what He wants, and what is important, then we can see clearly what it means to be His follower.
So, my big question today is: What does Jesus want? Our Bible passage today comes from John 17: 1-5.
There are two ideas in our passage that I want to explore today: