Text: John 17
21 Portraits of Jesus in John's Gospel

Have you ever been homesick? I have had that experience. Everything may be going just fine and yet there is and ache in your stomach. You have a nagging emotion that nothing seems to satisfy. The only cure for one who is homesick is home.

Did it ever occur to you that the Lord experienced this emotion of homesickness? He left the glories of heaven and came to this earth. Don't you know He missed heaven. As we analyze this recorded prayer it seems we can detect the Lord's desire to be home with the Father. In this state of mind and emotion the Lord prayed this great high priestly prayer. Let us consider many of the teachings of this prayer.

I.    Jesus Prayed and We Have Doctrine About God the Father (v.1)  
In verse one Jesus directs His prayer to the Father. We can evaluate all the expressions of the Lord's prayers in the New Testament and note He always directs His prayers to the Father. Jesus is the Son of God, but on this earth, He accepted the limitations of humanity. He doesn't consider Himself God in the respect of praying to Himself. He lifts His prayer to the Father. Six different times in this prayer He calls upon the Father. In verse 11, Jesus calls Him the Holy Father and in verse 25, He says, "O righteous Father...."

There is support here for the doctrine of God. There is no support for an idea that we are all, gods in embryo. The so called "New Age Movement" that teaches its followers to "deitify themselves" finds no support for their doctrine. Only God is or can be God. He is the Holy Father and we are to pray to Him.

This prayer also teaches us, God is all knowing. God knows everything and will give us knowledge about our life, world and future. In verse one, Jesus said, "...the hour has come,...." Yet on other occasions, He said, "...My hour has not yet come" (John 2:4, 7:30, 8:20). How does He know this? It is knowledge given by the all knowing God to His sinless Son.

Notice verse 24, it speaks of God's knowledge before the beginning of the world. Look also at verses 11 & 20, and the emphasis of God giving disciples and other believers to the Son. Jesus knows others will come to the Father. It is knowledge from an all knowing God.

In verses 6, 18, & 24, it is obvious that the plan of salvation for the redemption of mankind is the work of God. It is not something man made, but it is the plan of God. He cares enough to send the very best. He sent Jesus and He is the way.


II.    Jesus Prayed and We Have Doctrine About the Son.

Many times people have expressed an ignorance about the pre-existence of Jesus. In verse 5, the Lord requests a return of the glory He had before the beginning of this world. Jesus is God, having taken upon Himself the limitations of human flesh. He existed in heaven before His birth on earth. Dr. R. G. Lee used to express it this way. Jesus is as old as His Father and older than His mother. He helped choose His birthplace and His mother. He also chose the time of His birth. He is the uniquely divine Son.

The Lordship of Christ is stated in verse 2. Jesus is Lord over all flesh. He was Lord, He is Lord, and He shall be Lord. No individual makes Jesus Lord. He is Lord and we have an opportunity to acknowledge His Lordship.

Everyone will eventually confess, "Jesus is Lord" (Ph. 2:10-11). For some it will be too late. But He is Lord and this prayer further establishes that doctrine. This prayer further confirms Jesus is the only way of salvation. Read again verses 2 & 3. The Lord spells out what eternal life is and how to get it. I read recently of a German theologian who was ordered to begin his classes with a salute and words, "Hail Hitler." On the day he was to begin this procedure several members of the gestapo were there to see he conformed to the request. He walked in put down his book and clicked his heals, thrust his right arm and said, "Hail Jesus." You see Jesus id Lord and the only way of salvation.

From this prayer we get the source for the true picture of Christ. Today, from a theological spectrum you can get a Morman, Jehovah's Witness or cult view of Christ. The humanities will offer Jesus Christ Superstar of Godspell. But, only in the Word of God do we get the true picture. Notice verses 17 & 20. It says the Word is truth and belief comes through the Spirits use of the Word.

Recently some theaters have shown a movie titled, "The Last Temptation of Christ." I heard one preacher comment, "Going to see this movie in order to learn about Christ, is like going to see Bugs Bunny in order to learn about rabbits." That is an excellent analogy.

The doctrine of Christ is presented in the Word of God. You won't find it in the fantacies of Hollywood. In this, the real Lord's Prayer, several points in a doctrine of the Son of God are established. But, let us look further.

III.    Jesus Prayed and We Have Doctrine About Eternal Life  
Notice verses 11 & 12. Jesus prays stating He has kept and guarded believers. The word "kept" would be something like putting under confinement. The word guarded has reference to standing guard over those who are kept. Our salvation is doubly protected. We have eternal life. How long is eternal life? Don't let the latter part of verse 12 confuse you. Beck is helpful in this translation as he says, "...none are lost, but the Lost one,...."

A few years ago in the Rose Bowl parade, people watched float after float. There were "oohs and aahs" as the many different floats and their imaginative arrangements were appreciated by the crowd. But, one float, not quite as ornate, carried the Salvation Army band and they played "Onward Christian Soldiers." The crowd broke out in spontaneous and thundering applause. It seemed the eternal was appreciated in the midst of all that which was temporary.

The doctrine of eternal security is noted in this prayer. It presents a saviour who saves and keeps for eternity. Now notice the fourth point.

IV.    Jesus Prayed and We Have a Doctrine of the Word of God.  
What is the Bible? Some say just a good book or an excellent collection of literature. Those who like to define the Bible in those terms don't see it as the very Word of God. But, most conservative theologians align themselves with the statement the Bible is the Word of God. It is the authority for matters of faith and practice. In verse 17, Jesus says, "Thy word is truth." Truth doesn't change. If something was true 2,000 years ago, it is also truth today. Jesus said that His word was truth. It is popular to ask at a minister's ordination, "Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God or just contains the Word of God." It can be a revealing question. I believe Jesus would answer, "It is the Word of God."

Also, in verse 17, Jesus says, "Sanctify them in the truth." The word of God is truth and it has a sanctifying effect. One can read Shakespeare and have their thoughts affected. One can read pornographic literature and it may affect their actions. When you read the Bible it has a sanctifying effect on your life.

Karl Barth came to America in the fifties and was met at the dock by the press. He was asked to summarize the truth contained the hist massive Church Dogmatics in a few words. He replied, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

Yes, that's the message of the Bible, it represents the simplest and most profound of all doctrines. It is taught throughout the pages of the Word of God.

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And Beyond.    Amen?    Amen!