John 17 – One in God!

In John 17:1-26 Jesus is praying the High Priestly Prayer and he is interceding for himself, his disciples and finally for believers who would be chosen by his sovereign grace 200 years later. Jesus’ farewell prayer at the close of the last supper gives an account of his ministry to the Father and there is so much theology packed into these 26 verses that it would take days and weeks to unpack it but let me give you 2 highlights:

  1. V10-12 Jesus’ prayer points to the perseverance of the saints and eternal security. Jesus prayer request was that we would be kept and keep in mind, the Son of God always gets his prayers answered by the Father. As a believer in Jesus, you can have assurance that your faith has a future because the Father would not give to his Son a gift (believers) that would not last.
  2. V20-26 Jesus calls upon the Father to make his church one even as Christ and the Father are one. V13-19 gives us the qualities that are a result of being united with the Father – Joy, Sanctification, Witness and God’s glory.

John 17 points us to the Trinitarian nature of God. Even though the Old Testament introduces us to the Trinitarian nature of God (Gen 1:26-27), the Jews of Jesus’ day were raised in strict monotheism = God was singular (Deut 6:4). Suddenly Jesus Christ arrives on the scene and at his baptism (Matt 3), the Father declares Jesus as his beloved Son and then the Holy Spirit dropped in on the party and remained upon Jesus. It took another 400 years of theological debate before the church formed an official doctrinal position on the trinitarian nature of God. Due to the theological debate and discussions of the Council of Nicaea (325AD) and the Council of Constantinople (381AD) the Nicene Creed was formed and is absolutely essential in helping us understand what the bible teaches about the trinity. A short summary of it in my own words is provided:

“The Christian doctrine of the Trinity affirms the revelation of the eternal Godhead, who has revealed himself as one God, existing in 3 persons; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who dwell in eternal community of interdependent and reciprocal love; distinguishable but inseparable in essence; co-eternal, co-existent and co-equal in nature, attributes, power and glory.”

Why is the Trinity relevant to being ONE in our relationships? What unites the Godhead is perfect intimacy. God experiences divine community within himself and the church is supposed to reflect that oneness in the way we relate to each other and represent God to the world.

Jesus, in perfect intimacy with the Father prays, “I ask for those who will believe in my name, that they may all be one, just as you Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (Jn 17:20-21).

When we are ONE, we point the world to the sent ONE of God = Jesus Christ!

Just as God raised up Israel to be a witness of his glory to the nations, so too has God raised the Church up to be a witness and representation of him throughout the earth. Being unified and authentic in our relationships isn’t about warm fuzzies and being nice to people alone but our unity is a chief sign that God is among us.

Tomorrow we will look at what being authentically ONE looks like practically.

Lead the Change!

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