The Battle of Stalingrad…the Battle of Britain…Pearl Harbor…Guadalcanal… Midway…D-day.
Historians say any one of them could legitimately be considered the decisive turning point of WW2.
We are defining “turning point” as the point at which a very significant change occurs; a decisive moment.
There is a decisive moment in the history of the world…A single turning point that changed everything for everyone, forever.
“Jesus… lifted up His eyes to Heaven, and said, “Father the hour has come.”
The decisive “hour” that all human history turns upon was the six hours Jesus spent on the Cross.
All history before Jesus died on the Cross looked forward to it.
All history after Jesus died on the Cross looks back to it.
Jesus explained that it marked the fulfillment and replacement of God’s Old Covenant with mankind when He said, “This is the New Covenant in My blood, which is poured-out for you” (Luke 22:20).
Jesus’ last words from the Cross were the triumphant shout, “It is finished!” No longer would mankind perform temporary rites and rituals, follow religious rules and regulations. God would give believers new hearts – hearts of flesh, not stone.
“It is finished,” but it is not over.
The apostle Paul wrote, “He defeated the rulers and powers of the spiritual world. With the Cross He won the victory over them and led them away, as defeated and powerless prisoners for the whole world to see” (Colossians 2:15 ERV). The same apostle also told us to put on the full armor of God as soldiers in the ongoing spiritual warfare.
After the decisive, turning-point WW2 battles, the war continued. Even though Jesus was victorious over Satan, sin, and death, our cosmic battles in World War Spiritual continue.
Jesus talked to His Father about coming to “the hour,” and about what would happen after.
I’ll organize my comments around two points: #1 Jesus Makes The Father Visible To You, and #2 You Make Jesus Visible To All.
#1 – Jesus Makes The Father Visible To You (v1-5)
You are moved when, at the end of Braveheart. William Wallace screams, “FREEDOM!”
He was defeated and being disemboweled, but he went out in a blaze of glory.
That isn’t glory, or glorious.
“Glory” is a word that should only be used of God.
You’ll notice as we read that some form of the word, “glory,” is used five times. What is “glory,” and how does one go about giving God “glory?”
Glory happens when the invisible qualities, character, or attributes of God are displayed in a visible way; in short, glory is the invisible God made visible.
Jesus told Philip, “he who has seen Me has seen the Father (John 14:9). Jesus made the invisible God visible.
Joh 17:1 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,
I find it interesting that He “lifted up His eyes to Heaven.” Christians tend to bow their heads, praying with eyes closed. God hears you in any posture, but think about Jesus’ example and it’s symbolism.
There is nothing in Jesus’ prayer telling you what to do. No instruction; no steps. It isn’t a model for our praying. It is all Jesus, praying for you.
To be accurate, He first prayed for the eleven. Then, in verse twenty, He prayed for us, their spiritual descendants.
Jesus often told His disciples, “My hour has not yet come.” He meant His crucifixion. It had been long anticipated and planned. God promised our parents, Adam and Eve, He would come as “the Seed of the woman” to win the decisive victory over the devil. The Old Testament progressively reveals the details of His coming.
There is even a passage that calculates “the hour.” The prophet Daniel was given the prophecy of the 70 Weeks.
Daniel 9:24-27 is a detailed prophecy that accurately dated the first coming of Jesus Christ.
You know who looked forward to “the hour?” Lambs, bulls, goats, and birds that were sacrificed by the tens of thousands from the time of Adam and Eve until Jesus. They were placeholders, temporary substitutes, for the final Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.
Father and Son would “glorify” each other at, on, and after, the Cross. It was a “Glory Back-atcha,” a Mutual glorifying. For example, there was a Centurion present at the Cross. After taking in all the things that happened, he said, “Truly this was the Son of God.” Deity was made visible through Jesus’ humanity.
Thomas Boston wrote, “In our redemption by Christ we have the fullest, clearest, and most delightful manifestation of the glory of God that ever was or shall be in this life. All the declarations and manifestations that we have of His glory in the works of creation and common providence, are but dim and obscure in comparison with what is here. Indeed the glory of His wisdom, power, and goodness, is clearly manifested in the works of creation. But the glory of His mercy and love had lain under an eternal eclipse without a Redeemer.”
Joh 17:2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.
Joh 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Jesus has the “authority” to save. “Eternal life” is given as a free gift to any and all who “know” Jesus, and through Him, God the Father.
“As many as You have given Him.” Nothing in that phrase indicates that the Father limited the atonement on the Cross to “give” only a chosen few. Jesus was not, at that moment, praying for the world. He was praying for His eleven disciples. If I pray for a person to be healed, it doesn’t mean I am excluding anyone.
Joh 17:4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
Joh 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
The plan of salvation predates Creation. “Before the world was,” Jesus knew He’d die on the Cross to save us.
He rose from the grave, ascended into Heaven, and is seated there in splendor. He remains God and man forever, the God-man, in His glorious resurrection body.
I can imagine Jesus saying to His Father, “I showed them your grace and mercy when they brought that adulterous woman. The Law demanded she be stoned, true, but I was able to show them that, but for grace, they all deserved death.”
I can imagine the Father saying to Jesus, “How about that guy they let down through the roof? We were always going to heal him, but first I told you to forgive his sins. It showed them where My true priorities lie”
I could have shortened the Bible study by quoting Hebrews 1:3, where we read that Jesus is “the reflection of God’s glory and the exact likeness of his being” (ISV).
“Glory.” Making the invisible God visible.
#2 – You Make Jesus Visible To All (v6-19)
June 6, 1944.
An Allied force of more than 150,000 troops, 5,000 ships, and 800 aircraft assaulted 50 miles of northern France’s Normandy coastline. More than 4,000 Allied troops die, and 6,000 were wounded, but the Allies succeeded in breaching Hitler’s coastal defense of France.
D-day effectively ended the war in Europe. The war, nevertheless, went on another eleven months before General Eisenhower accepted Germany’s unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945.
Jesus “finished the work” His Father “gave [Him] to do.” It is finished, but He is not done.
Neither are disciples “done.” Until He returns for His Church, we are here to make Him visible.
Joh 17:6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
After a night praying to His Father, Jesus chose twelve men to be His closest disciples. I guess you could say it was His Father’s fault. J.C. Ryle writes, “No one can read the four Gospels with attention, and fail to see that never had a great master such weak servants as Jesus had in the eleven apostles. Yet these very weak servants were the men of whom the gracious Head of the Church speaks here in high and honorable terms.”
Having received His disciples from the Father, Jesus submitted to the selection. There was never any talk of replacing them. No ultimatums to straighten up or leave. No threatening. “Not a word against His people,” W.S. Rainsford writes, “no allusion to what they had done or were about to do – forsake Him.”
How very sad when church leaders treat believers that way. For that matter, no Christian should treat anyone that way.
Jesus wasn’t done doting on the disciples. He said, “They have kept Your Word.” How generous is our Lord. He credits them for their perseverance, even as they were scattering. The Pulpit Commentary says, “To Christ’s eyes they have already come out of their fiery trial faithful and true.”
Joh 17:7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You.
Joh 17:8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
For all of their confusion and misunderstanding of Jesus, they realized His words and works proved He was sent from God as the Messiah.
Joh 17:9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.
Joh 17:10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.
There are those who seem anxious to prove Jesus did not die for the sins of the whole world, but only for a limited group. They say, “See! See! Jesus did not pray for the world, only those God gave Him.”
Once again, we point out that this is Jesus’ prayer for these specific eleven guys. It doesn’t cancel the words, “God so loved the world,” or that Jesus said that through the Cross He would “draw all men to Himself” as “the Savior of all men, especially those who believe”
Jesus considered Himself “glorified in them.” Certainly not that night, when they would scatter. In fact, Jesus was probably not talking about specific instances, but was revealing that the work He had begun in them would come to completion. There would be a time, and an eternity, in which you look upon a saint and see Jesus glorified in what He accomplished with so little to work with.
In Iron Man, Obadiah Stane grew frustrated when Stark Industry scientists and engineers could not duplicate the arc reactor. He growled, “Tony Stark was able to build this in a cave. With a box of scraps!”
It must frustrate the devil to see what Jesus does and will do with us. Broken, lost, weary… Jesus makes us beautiful in His time.
Joh 17:11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.
Jesus was still speaking of the eleven. They were about to be scattered, ashamed of the Lord. If that tells us anything, it is that they could not “keep” themselves. The Father kept them, for Jesus’ sake.
God keeps you. You cannot fail so much that He will forsake you.
Joh 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
People compare a difficult task with “herding cats.” (You might remember a series of commercials featuring cowboys herding cats. They are hilarious. They are what the internet was meant to be).
It was no small task to keep the disciples ‘discipling’ for three and one-half years. Especially in anticipation one of them would be lost.
We took a look at Judas in a previous study. His betrayal was supported by Scripture, but not in the sense that he, and he alone, was predetermined to betray the Lord. To say that is to go beyond what Scripture says. He was not a believer, but he could have been. In that case, the Scripture would have been fulfilled another way.
Joh 17:13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.
“I speak in the world” reminds us that the Lord was praying in the presence of the eleven. In their time of forsaking Jesus, they ought remember that Jesus secured the help of God the Father to bring them back in joy.
Joh 17:14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
Joh 17:15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.
Joh 17:16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary says, “Satan, the evil one, as head of the world system, seeks to do everything possible to destroy believers, but God’s plan will prevail. Christians must not take themselves out of the world but remain in contact with it, trusting in God’s protection while they witness for Jesus.”
For the first time ever, more people are leaving California than are coming to live here. I can only hope the newcomers are missionaries. The plight of the State is a Golden opportunity for the Gospel.
Joh 17:17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
“Sanctify” means set apart for special use. A believer is sanctified, set apart for God, the moment they are saved. It is called positional sanctification. Afterwards, we mature, we grow, in our walk with Jesus. Theologians call this progressive sanctification. We make incremental progress towards the goal of becoming more-and-more like Jesus.
The indwelling God the Holy Spirit is primary in our progressive sanctification. His #1 tool in our growth and maturity is the Bible. The Spirit teaches us the Word, guides us to the truth, and uses the Word to give us a clear vision of Jesus and inspire us with a deep desire to be like our Lord. We cooperate with the Spirit’s work in our lives when we believe He enables us to do what it says in the Bible. Like Jesus, we learn obedience. Everything we need for life and godly living is in the Bible. We can do it because we are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Joh 17:18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
Joh 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
Jesus sanctified Himself means He voluntarily set Himself apart in order to die on the Cross, thus offering the world salvation by grace through faith.
He would set them apart, and send them into the world just like He was. Only there would be a lot more of them!
A Christian has been called out from the world by the Gospel. Hopefully we realize that we are a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that [we] may proclaim the praises of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light” (First Peter 2:9).
We are very special. We can say it without pride because we haven’t earned it or deserved it. It is because Jesus said, “Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine,” and we are all together.
Show & tell was a highlight of elementary school. Like everything, however, there are fails:
A teacher reported, “Someone brought their pet bird, dead, in a box, that was going to be buried when they got home later that day.”
“A kid I went to high school with brought a hand-grenade his grandfather had to school for use in a drama production. He thought it was deactivated. The bomb squad confirmed that it was certainly still active.”
Christians are show & tellers. We “tell” others about Jesus, and we “show” Him. We thereby make the invisible, visible.
The originals seemed to be show & tell fails. F.F. Bruce writes, “With the Father’s enabling grace and the guidance and illumination of His Spirit, they would fulfill the mission with which they were now being entrusted and bring glory to their Master in fulfilling it. So confident of this is Jesus that he speaks in the perfect tense – ‘I have been glorified in them’ – as if it had already come to pass.”
We will be show & tell fails. Jesus is confident that He will complete the work He began.
Our Hero didn’t “go out in a blaze of glory.” He is the blaze of glory.
He is coming back in glory:
Rev 19:11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.
Rev 19:12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.
Rev 19:13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
Rev 19:14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.
That is us, by the way, on the horses, coming back from Heaven with Jesus to Earth. Elsewhere the Bible says Jesus will be “glorified in us” (Second Thessalonians 1:10).
William MacDonald explains, “Amazed onlookers will gasp as they see what He has been able to do with such unpromising human beings!”