"I have shown your glory on earth"
John 17:4 GNB I have shown your glory on earth; I have finished the work you gave me to do.
The first thing that enters my thinking is what did he do? I know what he did, he healed them all; he raised the dead; he told them of the kingdom; he told them he was God.
Ask yourself, has he died yet? No; then he is talking about things that he did in human form, subject to everything that we are, and yet he did it.
"his principal work was to declare his Father's mind and will, his love and grace;"Gill's commentary
In looking at John 16 I had mentioned that Jesus had come to save and heal the broken, wounded, dying, and lost. He came representing the Father. For those who had a damaged father image this would be difficult to accept, and I asked the question, how do you repair those wounds and regain confidence? Through a repetitious and consistent pattern of love.
Jesus just said that he had done that. For three and a half years he has done the same thing repeatedly by healing and preaching that you were more merciful than anyone had ever known.
“glorify me at your side with the glory that I had at your side before the world existed.”
John 17:5 LEB And now, Father, you glorify me at your side with the glory that I had at your side before the world existed.
Do we have to remind ourselves of what he did in order for him to get to this point, and become our life?
".. although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:6-8 NASB)
So he is now asking the Father to return him back to his original place. Not just to the Father's side to sit quietly, but a return to the creative, glorified position that was his before he gave himself freely for us.John gave us a rather intense look at who he was and still is.
(John 1:1 LEB) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:2 LEB) This one was in the beginning with God.
(John 1:3 LEB) All things came into being through him, and apart from him not one thing came into being that has come into being.
(John 1:4 LEB) In him was life, and the life was the light of humanity.
John also told us that "all things came into being through him," And yet what does
Genesis 1:1 tell us: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”.
How many ways do we need to see or hear this. Jesus was God.
Genesis 1:3 states, "And God said, "Let there be light!" And there was light." Try reading it, and Jesus said. Take a second look at the creation saga in Genesis and substitute Jesus in place of God. This is what he is asking the Father to restore him to.
This takes me back to Philippians again:
Philippians 2:6-7 LEB who, existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal with God something to be grasped, (7) but emptied himself by taking the form of a slave, by becoming in the likeness of people. And being found in appearance like a man,
He had emptied himself, but of what? Power, authority, glory, and creative abilities. Are you kidding me. How would God remove those traits from himself? Jesus did it voluntarily, and every moment of every day, living as man, trusting entirely on the Father's will and instruction, was a choice.
Was there ever a time that God said NO, you cannot have that now to Jesus? No, Jesus healed all that were afflicted. So for Jesus to pray and ask the Father to restore him would also be fulfilled.
“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me..”
(John 17:6 NASB) "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
"manifested" from the Greek word phaneroo, and means to render apparent. The word render has a variety of meanings depending on the context. The meaning most applicable to us, because of the context, would be to make beneficial.
Let's ponder this a moment. If John 17:6 read, I have given your name for use or benefit, to the men you have given me to work with. That sort of conveys an act in which he could have merely presented them with a plaque at the morning crew meeting, told them to enjoy, and left. But that did not happen. In a world (ours) in which on the job training is becoming scarce, he gave them the most intense form of training, he lived with them. They saw most everything he did, and what they saw was a way of life.
It is odd how this works. As I attempt to convey what I feel and find in God's word I find it speaking loudly to me also. Suddenly I am beginning to grasp in a way that I had not before, that this is not just a religion we are trying to pushing on people, it is a way of life in tune with the Father. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Because he lives in me, that life lives in me, and he has made it plain and beneficial to me to live in this life.
If I operated off the word manifested only, to gain understanding, then I have to deal with this definition of manifest: Plain, open, clearly visible or obvious to the understanding; apparent; not obscure or difficult to be seen or understood.
Alright, we re-write the sentence again. I have made your name, plain, open, clearly visible, and obvious to the understanding, of those you have given me.
At this time, with his death imminent, did they understand. I think they understood, even from their earlier Jewish teachings that there was an afterlife. We see this comprehension in the book of Job.
"Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me! (Job 19:26-27 NASB)
Perhaps Eugene Peterson's Message makes it clearer.
I spelled out your character in detail To the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place; Then you gave them to me, And they have now done what you said. (John 17:6 MSG)
So my take away from all this is that Jesus made the Father clear and understandable, and demonstrated how the Father's name is of a benefit to them. I have to ponder once again, this idea of making the Father's name a benefit. Why wouldn't they have considered the Father's name a benefit before? Perhaps they did, but religion tends to guard such things as sacred and untouchable, and in that light it may have been almost meaningless to them.
- Who is he talking to? Well Jews of course. But were these the finest and most well-trained scholastically or theologically? Not hardly. Considering that the Jewish father's dream was to have his son become a rabbi, where did Jesus find most of his disciples? Fishing, sitting under trees, collecting taxes, and a few other places.
- So the disciples gained a first hand knowledge of the Father, from the Father himself. What we do not see, as Jesus selects his disciples, is someone like Saul/Paul, who had been skillfully trained in the law, a pharisee. You do not see the disciples protesting when Jesus had them walk through the grain field and start picking the wheat and eating it. Nor do they freak out over a lack of ceremonial washing, when he had prepared fish at the shore and handed it to them to eat. (A sudden change of heart, on my part. Nicodemus, the pharisee who came to Jesus by night, became a disciple. Not one of the original 12, but certainly one of those that received the fullness of the Holy Spirit when it came.)
- It seems that the benefit was all strictly relational and practical. Really, what good is a name or something of bartering value, if you do not know how to use it.
For Jesus to make the Father's name clearly understood and a benefit, then he had to have shown them a consistent, practical use; he demonstrated the character of the Father.
"they were Yours and You gave them to Me"
I have considered this idea on many occasions. Although no longer perplexed by the concept, I still cannot avoid the idea that God had made his decision before the world was made.
There is a thread that runs through me, that tells me that much like not being picked for the baseball team as a child, that God might not have picked me. I suppose that is rubbish considering that I am writing this to you now. The other side of this coin tries to tell me that I picked him. We do preach that in our orifices of religion called church. (I say that because we, those who believe and follow after Christ, are the church; not the building.) But then there is God himself, slapping me upside the face with a statement like this.
The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" Everyone who hears this should say, "Come!" If you are thirsty, come! If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It's free! (Revelation 22:17 CEV)
I placed the Revelation passage in bold type for everything about it seems to scream, there is no exclusivity, God is imploring all to come. If you are thirsty, come!
Yeah, but what if I am not thirsty! I understand this statement comes from many attitudes:
- You can't make me drink! I am the consummate rebel and no one will tell me what to do. Clearly you misunderstood, as it is an invite. Everyone gets thirsty at some point, whether physically or spiritually. Why it even gets to the point that you may think that you are going to die (and that may well be). Do you have a choice at that point? Certainly, but your choices may be limited to muddy tainted waters, or come with strings attached that lead to your enslavement once again. (I say once again because Christ, whether you choose to believe it or not, bought your freedom already.) What are you free to do then? Live life on your own terms, or run into the arms of the one who freed you? (I know, I keep forgetting that you call your own shots over your life. Keep believing that.) The short answer is yes, you are free to choose.
- The generally disinterested. One might say, I am university trained, skilful in the philosophies and scientific thought. Bravo, what has that lead you to? You know how to hide the hurts and pains of life with your great intellect or as many others do through by drinking yourself into a stupor each night. Well, clearly this living water is not for you because you are not thirsty enough yet.
- There is another aspect to Jesus statement above, for it says, “Everyone who hears this should say come...” now the context of the hearing is the believer who is imploring you to come; I suppose I am doing that now, but there is a darker side of this statement in that many will not hear. Now whether they do that because they cannot hear, or it happens because they choose not to hear, I do not know; that is for God to sort out. But clearly, hearing is a choice and many choose to not listen.
One of the things I loved about God, as I discovered his character, was how straight forward he was. His approach with Abram (eventually God changed his name to Abraham) was to present his plan for the restoration of man through Jesus, and he laid this all out in a dream/vision. This must have been very vivid and real for Abram seeing as we now have it as written word.
"As for me, this is my covenant with you: you will be the father of many nations."(Genesis 17:4 CJB)
Knowing full well that the man Abram could and would fail, God made the covenant anyway. I have come to understand that in communicating how he would carry through this covenant, irrespective of the man's performance, he was making His character very clear. (I despise hearing radio preachers say this), but what God is saying here is, that this is my position and I am not moving from it; in other words God is unchanging.
“Descendants of Jacob, I am the LORD All-Powerful, and I never change. ...” (Malachi 3:6 CEV)
"God is not a human who lies or a mortal who changes his mind. When he says something, he will do it; when he makes a promise, he will fulfill it.”(Numbers 23:19 CJB)
The interesting thing about the passage from Numbers, although it conveys the full impact of what I wanted to say, is that the quotation comes from the mouth of Balak, the prophet. He was not a prophet of God, (although certainly used to make this point about God's character,) but he was a hired gun that offered his services to whoever could pay the price he asked. And he apparently would consult the gods of those who were paying him. Let me make something clear here. The whole world understands the terminology demons. When you consider that when Satan fell he took one-third of an innumerable host with to the earth. They do Satan's bidding, and they are painfully aware of their eventual demise. In other words, they have nothing to lose. If you think they cannot or will not harm you, think again. Our protection from them comes from our staying within our relationship with the Father, and under his covering, His word. It also demands an active role on our part by standing against them in the name of Jesus Christ. For Balak to call on the gods of others is to call upon the influence of fallen angels.
As for their power; let me remind you that it only took one angel to kill all the first-born of Egypt that first passover night, and there were only two that destroyed all of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding cities with fire and brimstone. Balak himself met the angel of the Lord standing against him with a sword, as he was on his way to curse Israel. He had to be told by his donkey that this danger was there.
When you make a statement like “God is unchanging!” the same people who will not pick up a bible will say things like, what about Jonah and the Ninevites, as though they have a clue. (You should not be allowed to declared your twisted opinion until after you have done your homework, and from scripture found at least two references, in context, to back up your point.)
“..and they have kept your word. ..”
"I made your name known to the people you gave me out of the world. They were yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. (John 17:6 CJB)
It feels like a movie and I have been watching, over and over, with fascination. I find myself rewinding, and studying the emotion on Jesus face (I have to imagine it) as he says the same thing multiple times, each time with a slightly different spin, in hopes that they grasp it fully this time. Perhaps there are even some that are getting it; this is evidenced in an earlier passage.
So for the present you are also in sorrow (in distress and depressed); but I will see you again and [then] your hearts will rejoice, and no one can take from you your joy (gladness, delight). (John 16:22 AMP)
The contemporary English Version translates John 17:6 like this: “..but you gave them to me, and they have obeyed you.”
The dictionary definition of obey means to comply with or yield to. In comparison with the pharisees Jesus had their full attention. Obedience does not mean a life without emotion and feeling. Jesus, God himself, displayed emotion – anger, sorrow, pain, joy. You have to keep in mind that we do not get a minute by replay of the three and one half years they spent with him. The disciples got to watch him in action; they saw him on the mount praying; they saw the drops of blood fall as sweat; they saw him respond to the sick and dying as he disregarded his own exhaustion, and they were following his example. He sent them out and they went; upon returning they were ecstatic as they relived such amazing stories of demons responding to the name of Jesus.
I suppose I should end this here. Honestly it is so rich and I enjoy exploring God's word so much that I do not want to stop. But I too struggle with reading something that could be broken into chapters, giving me some stopping points where I might take respite and continue at a more convenient time, and I am not giving you that opportunity here.
Much of this is the basis for Men's bible study group, but I am fortunate to cover three verses as the men jump in relating what is being said to some aspect of their lives.
Thanks for reading. To Him be the glory and honor and power forever, and the knowledge that we as believers have a hope of eternity with him.
Should you not know this Jesus Christ or have a confidence that you will spend eternity with Him, you can. Call upon his name and he will come quickly to you. He will come and make his home in you if you ask him, and he will reign over every aspect of your life, giving you life, if you will hand those areas over to him. God paid a massive price for you to be free, and it is his greatest desire for you to walk in that freedom.