Jesus Prays for His Disciples

Jesus allows his disciples (and through John and the work of the Holy Spirit, you as well) to listen as he pours out his soul in prayer to his Father. He has prayed for himself as we saw last week. Now in John 17:6-19 he prays for his disciples, and by implication, for the church which he will establish through them. Next week we look at the conclusion of the prayer, where that implication becomes explicit, and he prays for you.

 Understand the basis of Jesus’ prayer. As Jesus prayed for himself, he told his Father that he had completed the work the Father had given him to do. That work includes all of Christ’s humiliation, all of his earthly work as Messiah, and culminates in his death as he cries, “It is finished!”

He has revealed the name of the Father to his disciples. Since they have known Jesus, they have come to know the Father as well, as Jesus pointed out to them a little earlier.

Further, he has kept his disciples from Continue reading “Jesus Prays for His Disciples”

What is Christ’s Chief End?

An old Presbyterian catechism begins with the question, “What is the chief end of man?” The response: “Man’s chief end [or purpose] is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” For many years that catechism has been used as a good summary of important teachings of the Bible. The first question and answer have helped many young men and women (and some older ones as well) reflect on their purpose and goal in life.

Suppose you could have asked Jesus Christ, “What is your chief goal and purpose?” As you listen to the beginning of Jesus’ prayer recorded in John 17 you have an idea of how he might have responded. He prayed to his Father, “Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” (I borrowed the title Continue reading “What is Christ’s Chief End?”

“From . . . Into . . . Away . . To . . .”

Prepositions are usually small words, but they can be crucial. In one verse, John 16:28, Jesus summarizes his entire work, entering this world to redeem his people and then, having completed that work, returning triumphantly to his Father. Notice the role the prepositions play in the verse.

Jesus came from the Father. That means that he left the position of privilege and glory in order to be your Savior. He came from the Father because he was sent by the Father. He came to do his Father’s will. He came to reveal the Father. He and the Father are so closely connected that, as he told Philip in John 14, “if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. St. Augustine put it beautifully: “In coming to the world He came forth in such a sense from the Father that He did not leave the Father behind.”

He came into the world. “World” here includes the physical world which Jesus entered at his incarnation, and from which he ascended Continue reading ““From . . . Into . . . Away . . To . . .””

Jesus Glorified by the Holy Spirit

Jesus, the good teacher that he is, uses repetition to bring his disciples (and us) to understand what he is saying. As we near the end of the high priestly discourse, Jesus, in John 15:4-16, again explains the work of the Holy Spirit.

Although you may not often think of it that way, the Spirit, who is the Helper, who comes alongside to aid, the Counselor (in the sense of a defense attorney), is also a prosecutor. He would come, Jesus said, to convict the world of three things.

Repent, because the Spirit convicts of sin. You and I, together with the rest of the world, stand guilty before God. But it is the Spirit who brings that home, who cuts through the excuses that we make, who convicts us of our sin and enables us to recognize that we need Jesus as our Savior. He convicts of sin, and in particular the sin of unbelief. Has he convicted you of your sin?

Believe, because the Spirit convicts of righteousness. Jesus ties that with Continue reading “Jesus Glorified by the Holy Spirit”