I started this series about Jesus’ teachings at the Last Supper (as recorded by John) by saying, “…. Do you think that, just maybe, the things He said to them (the disciples) were perhaps, of special importance for them and – by extension – for all of us, some 2,000 years later?” I also admitted that I had paid no special attention to these particular scriptures, until now. Well, I’m sorry I didn’t get to them sooner, and I am convinced that they are extremely important to all Christians. And, I think perhaps, the most critical messages can be found in what Jesus thought was so important that He went to His Father in Prayer about it.
This prayer is related in the 17th chapter of John. Only 26 verses; but, they say a very great deal. Please read them. I’m going to concentrate on only the first three verses!
Jesus starts out by asking His Father to Glorify Him. Why? For only one reason. So that He, through the events that were about to take place, could in turn, glorify the Father.
And, that’s our first lesson. What we do as Christians is not for our glory; but rather, for God’s glory. (Watch-out for pride). And, just how well are we glorifying God in our day to day living? Do we only worship and praise God at church on Saturday evening or Sunday morning? If so, we really need to rethink that. We should worship and praise God out of our love for Him – not out of habit, fear or a feeling of obligation.
Which raises the question, what should our love for God look like? Hang onto that thought, I’ll come back to it.
First let’s look at verse 2 where Jesus points out that God has given Him authority over ALL people. (OK, folks, that’s very plain. That’s saying, all people – for all time.) Why does Jesus have this authority? So that He can give them (and us) eternal life. (The sole purpose of Jesus’ mission to earth was to make eternal life available to all people).
Then in verse 3, He tells us how to obtain eternal life – By knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ. (Notice how tightly this matches what Jesus said earlier that evening in chapter 14, verses 6 and 7, when He told the disciples, “…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen him.”
So, lesson number two is: We develop a personal relationship with Jesus – which is the same as knowing (having that relationship) with His Father, the one true God. Wow!
I’d like to make three points about this relationship.
A. There is no set design for this relationship. It is what it says it is – a personal relationship between you and Jesus.
B. This relationship is not through pastors, preachers, saints, priests or anyone else. Jesus encourages us to speak directly to Him.
Yes, He already knows what’s going on in your life (actually, better than you do). But, He wants your intentional and undivided attention. He desires that personal contact. Major issues or trivial issues; it makes no difference. God/Jesus gave us our brains and our emotions. I think Jesus wants to laugh with us and cry with us; sometimes, just sit quietly with us – listening as we pour out our dreams, hopes, fears, joys, sorrows, frustrations, angers, failures, triumphs and celebrations. It is what we do with our emotions that matters, and I’m finding the best thing I can do (yes, with all of them) is share them with the only one who can truly understand, and who will give me the best advice, direction, or whatever I need. (You might want to read a previous blog titled, “Yes, but…”).
C. Our relationship with God is based on His unconditional love for us; and, our love for Him, in return. (I said we’d get back to this topic). Jesus said we should love one another and have a servants mentality. (Notice, He did not say a slaves mentality; rather, a servants mentality – or attitude). True love is revealed through our actions. (You know – it’s that old, “Actions speak louder than words” thing). So, by not returning hurt for hurt and insult for insult; but rather, by doing what is inconvenient because it will help someone else, and by giving when it “hurts” we will show what Christian love truly is. Note that in chapter 14, verse 15 Jesus says, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” And in verse 23 (same chapter) He says, “If anyone loves me he will obey my teaching”. That is pretty clear.
And, I think that gives us more than enough to think about for quite awhile. The concept is simple. The execution is difficult – especially at first. Will we always have struggles with this? I sure do! Don’t kid yourself, we all do. I can tell you this, some days are easy, some are tough – and it makes no difference. We can (and should) always worship, praise, and share it all with our God. When we do that, we will be able to stand our ground. We will also stand out as Christians in this fallen world. Beacons of hope to those who have yet to establish their relationship with the one true God.
Thank you Jesus, for opening my eyes to these truths. That part about being a servant always made me feel fearful and uncomfortable. Now, I’m beginning to understand. When I serve others I’m sharing your love with them and bringing glory to you. Awesome.
And, thank you also, for reinforcing in me the lesson that love is best expressed through action.
I guess that “WWJD” fad that went around some years ago, was actually, spot-on. Jesus, help me to see with “Kingdom Eyes,” and give me the courage to do what You would do.