John 17 - the Five Gifts to Jesus
This morning in my quiet time, God showed me something I hadn’t seen before (I love it when He does that) from John 17. In Jesus’ famous prayer at the Last Supper on the night before He died, there are five things He mentions that the Father has given Him:
- "the work you gave me” (Jn 17:4)
Jesus came for many reasons, but primarily to complete a specific mission; the purchase of salvation for His people. The next day as He hung dying, His last words would be "it is finished" (Jn 19:30). Mission accomplished. Hallelujah.
- "the people whom you gave me” (Jn 17:6)
Jesus is all about the people. The work He did was to redeem and build a people, His Church, who went on to become the most significant group in all of human history.
- "the words you gave me” (Jn 17:8)
God speaks. He isn’t distant, abstract and silent, but near, knowable and loud. We can read His Word; we can hear His voice. Jesus came to speak the very words of God, and His people accept them (v7).
- "the name you gave me” (Jn 17:11)
The name of Jesus is the name which is above every other name (Phil 2:9). By His name the sick are healed (Acts 4:10), men are saved (Acts 4:12), and people have hope (Matt 12:21).
- "the glory that you gave me” (Jn 17:22)
Jesus alone is worthy of all glory and honour. More songs have been written about Him than anyone else. How cool is that?
Preach the Gospel, and if necessary use words?
Very often people talk about not needing to actually tell the gospel. Rather, the thinking goes, it will be clear to those who get to know you that there must be ‘something different’ about you by the way you life your life, which will prompt them to ask why, opening the door to a conversation about faith. This week my vicar wisely questioned this logic:
If this is our practice, then what gospel are we really preaching? That Christianity is all about living a good life.
Whilst St Francis (and all those who quote him) no doubt meant well, it’s easy to hide behind such sentiments as an excuse not to preach the real gospel; that it’s not about my ‘good’ life, but Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The awesome and practical implications of the Gospel:
The Gospel leads to cultural freedom. Moralistic religion tends to press its members to adopt very specific rules and regulations for dress and daily behaviour. Why? If your salvation relies upon obeying the rules, then you want your rules to be very specific, do-able and clear. You don’t want: ‘love your neighbour as yourself’, because that’s an impossibly high standard which has endless implications! You want: Don’t go to movies or Don’t drink alcohol or Don’t eat this type of food.
Galatians for You p42
Our Father in Heaven
St Mark’s Battersea Rise
9th February 2014
Source: SoundCloud / Charles Thomson