Chapter Fifteen – John 17:22-23

From “Studies in the Lord’s Prayer,” by Pastor K. David Oldfield

John 17:22-23

Let’s say that next Sunday we have a visitor. He is without a doubt one of the most handsome men that you have ever seen. But, he loves the Lord “with all his heart, with all his soul, with all this strength, and with all his mind.” He has a winning personality that cannot be stopped. He has lots of money, perfect health, a great job . . . and no wife. What’s more, he is convinced that this is the city and church where the Lord wants him to serve Him.

He is, as they say, a perfect catch. And all the young ladies of the church are instantly attracted to his all his charms, but especially to his godliness and spirituality. All the Moms wish that their daughters could have a man like this one. All the Dads are glad to be able to call him their friend.

There is not one girl in the church satisfied in just being his acquaintance. There aren’t any of them who are happy just to know that he’s in church and serving in the Lord. They will not be satisfied until he has asks one of them to be his wife, especially “me, me, me” These young ladies want nothing less than to be united to this young man in holy matrimony: “To have to hold, til death do us part.” Anything less than marriage would be a disappointment.

May I suggest that there is something more wonderful, more beautiful, and more fantastic than a perfect earthly marriage.

It is to be united to Jehovah in an eternal, spiritual and heavenly marriage. Remember that the beauty of the Lord is infinitely greater than anything found in man. And He owns the cattle upon a thousand hills and the wealth in every mine. In him is eternal life, unlike earthly marriages which usually last less than 75 years. And if He sees that there is something that we need He can create it out of nothing if necessary. There is no greater blessing possible than an infinite and infinitely loving union with Jehovah.

The Lord Jesus continues in prayer:

“And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them . . .”

He is talking about the eleven disciples and about each one of the children of God who believe through their on-going ministry. The Lord Jesus is saying that He has given to us the glory that was given to Him by the Father.

And what is this glory to which refers? There is a great deal of division among the experts about this question.

This cannot be the glory of deity, because that was already His, and could never be taken from Him nor given to anyone else. This is not talking about Jesus’ glory as our High Priestly Mediator, because that is a glory that will not be shared with us. This isn’t the glory of service – miracle working, preaching, and such things. Some say that this is the Holy Spirit, the image of God, or the glory of the transfiguration.

I think that this is the glory of grace, the glory of salvation, the glory simply being the child of God. It wasn’t given to the Messiah in order to save Him, but it was His to minister to sinners like us, breaking down all the spiritual differences between us.

Notice that it is a glory which has already been given to us. This might be the “already” of the Christese language. But I think that it is the salvation that has already been given to millions and will be given to many in the months to come.

“That they may be one, even as we are one . . .”

That we Christians might be united, in the same way that the Father and the Son are united. Of course this isn’t speaking about a human unity with the Lord’s deity. It’s a unity between the brethren which parallels the unity within the Trinity.

So how are the Father and the Son united? I’m not sure that we will ever really understand that unity. Maybe in some future day it will all become plain, but certainly not as long as we’re in this world.

The Father and Son are one in essence, in their deity. They are not two separate Gods, but one God. And they are united in purpose, decree and will. So maybe these are the sorts of things to which the Lord refers here:

Salvation brings very different kinds of people together. It takes them from the various sinful families of earth and gives them the same heart before God. It brings us into the unity of the faith; it perfects us as the saints of God. It breaks down the middle wall of partition between us all. Jesus was and is full of grace and truth, and these are things that He bestows upon us in salvation.

A great many differences remain between the people of God, to our shame. But there is a unity that lies at the heart, which one day will control every aspect of our hearts and souls. “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one.”

“I in them, and thou in me . . .”

 

The Lord Jesus is in us, but not in the way that He is in the world. This is not talking about the omnipresence of Christ. But, is this merely the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? Does, or did, the Holy Spirit indwell the Messiah? This is really difficult material, because, once again, it is the conversation of deity with deity. There are things understood here that perhaps we will never completely grasp. And yet…..

How was the Father in the Messiah? If we are talking about the First Person of the Trinity and the Second Person of the Trinity this may be incomprehensible. But if we are talking about the Lord Jesus in His capacity as our Messiah, then perhaps we can begin to grasp this. The Lord Jesus was filled with the Spirit more than any ordinary human being. “He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him” – John 3:31-34.

The Father manifested Himself through the Messiah. He was in the Messiah fulfilling His eternal decrees. He committed unto the Son all judgment. They had one heart, despite having more than one member, so to speak. Again, this is the kind of unity that we are supposed to have.

“That they may be made perfect in one . . .”

This isn’t salvation or some aspect of salvation, such as justification or regeneration. Justification and regeneration are things already accomplished through Christ. And we cannot be more justified than we are already justified.

There is something greater than Heaven; something more perfect in glory. This is speaking about that day when all the saints of earth are brought together in a great company. All the distance, all the racial and gender differences will be erased. All the corrupted theology will be corrected and all the empty chairs at the Lord’s table will be filled.

There was once a specific number of people given to Christ by the Father, for Him to save and glorify. And one day that number will be gathered as a group to begin to praise the Saviour for evermore. The circle will not be broken, by and by Lord, by and by. And glory will be the element of that union. “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them.” The plan of God will be completely completed. God must fail before we can fall. We cannot possibly be more closely united to the Lord In that day, we shall be as close to the Lord as Abraham, David and the Apostle John.

“And that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

How do we know that the Father loved the Son?

First, we have been told in the Word of God: “The Father loveth the Son” – John 3:35. But then there is more tangible proof: “and hath given all things into his hand.” The very life of the Lord Jesus, proved the Father’s love to Him.

And the Lord also loves us, through and for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not the Lord’s love for us as creatures, but as sons and daughters in Christ. So He choose us, covenanted for our salvation, secures us, and cares for us. And again, that is for all of us, not just the best of us from an outward standpoint. This relationship doesn’t just belong to the great Patriarchs and Apostles, but to us as well. Never will the love of Christ be taken from us.

And when the people of the world more clearly see this fact…. When they stand before God to be judged, while they realize that we have been blessed….. They shall bow the knee to Christ and confess that He is worthy of praise. All the world will then realize that Jesus of Nazareth is the anointed of God.

Go to Chapter Sixteen »