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

John 17:6

When the Lord said, “I, the LORD thy God, am a JEALOUS God” He raised some interesting questions. The way that we ordinarily define it, jealousy is something potentially dangerous to humans. It is an emotional poison that when taken in little doses might give us a buzz, but no real harm. But taken in any larger quantity can destroy us and everything around us. The Song of Solomon says, “Jealousy is as cruel as the grave.”

The person who doesn’t love their loved one enough to be potentially jealous doesn’t truly love. And yet, unjustified jealousy is love that’s gone over the edge. Jealousy is a parasite that lives on the body of love. It’s like an infected itch that is so intense that it borders on pain. It lives upon doubts rather than trust. Jealousy is the sister of love, as a demon is a brother of the angels. And yet – the Lord calls Himself jealous.

Paul, speaking for the Lord, says that he was jealous over those saints who were on the edge of heresy. The Bible speaks of God’s jealousy for Israel. And in Exodus 20, where the Lord first calls himself the jealous God, He is talking about the sin of idolatry. The Lord is jealous for Himself.

Jealousy may be the sister of love, but there is another sister in the family named “Pride.” We often jealously guard the honour of things for which we have a sinful pride. But does the Lord have “pride” for his saints or for Israel? Not as we think of pride. And therefore we can assume that His jealousy is not like ours either.

Out of all the things that are yours, for what are you most jealous? Car? House? Children? Spouse? Baseball card collection? How far would you go to protect those things? How bold would you be for those things?

There is something else about the Lord for which He is extremely jealous and protective. He is jealous of his Name. He will go to any length to defend His Name. And He is bold to declare and spread His Name.

“I have manifested thy name . . .”

What is it to “make manifest?” Christ Jesus has made people to know the name of the Lord. But which name of the Lord are we talking about? The “tetragramaton” – Jehovah? Elohim? Adoni? Once again we come back to the Biblical use of the word “name”. When we talk about a name, we are usually speaking of the appellation, designation, or moniker of someone. But when the Bible uses the word “name” it takes us to the character of the being behind the name. Jesus has manifested the attributes, the character, the perfections, the will, the beauty, and the wisdom of the God-head, along with much more.

What sense does Psalm 22:22 have if we are not talking about more than God’s appellation? “I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” Psalm19:55 – “I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law.” I think that Isaiah 26:7-9 makes this use of the Name pretty clear: “The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just. Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early.” As light is to the sun, the name of the Lord is to the Lord Himself.

When the Lord Jesus said, “I have manifested thy name,” He was saying that He made people to know the Lord. And I think that this pretty well summarizes the work of Christ. If this is eternal life to know the Father and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, then as far as the ministry of the Lord is concerned, to make the Lord manifest is the work of salvation.

Christ is not only the “manifester” of the Name, but He is the manifestation itself. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” “Jesus saith unto Thomas, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”

Now we come to an interesting twist. I pointed out last week Jesus’ use of the past tense. “I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” As far as the disciples, overhearing this prayer, were concerned, the work was not finished. But as far as the Lord, who is above time, is concerned, everything was finished.

In verse 6 the Lord is using the same verb tense. Does He mean by it that this part of His work is finished as well? I know that it is open to debate, but I think so. I believe that you and I are only in the kindergarten of the school of God, and we have at least twelve more eons of elementary and secondary school to go. But as far as the Lord is concerned, Who sees us glorified and complete in Him, we have graduated magna cum laude with our Doctor of Theology degree. That doesn’t mean that we can stop doing our home work now. It means that we have the guarantee of a complete and thorough education in eternity.

“Unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world:”

This – making of the Lord known – was, or is, given only to a segment of the people of the world. It was not a revelation made to Mohammed, to Confucius, to Joseph Smith, or to Joseph Stalin. It was made to those people whom the Father gave to the Son.

I have to wonder, if as a young Christian, I never heard a study on John 17, because my early teachers were predisposed to hate the doctrine of election. I have been trying this week to make sense of the first part of Jesus’ prayer – assuming that there was some other way, than the obvious way, to explain these words. But it can only mean what it says: Christ revealed the Lord only to those people, whom the Father specifically gave to Him.

This may be a stupid and simplistic illustration, but I beg your indulgence: Let’s say that my wife bought a bright red dog collar, but she doesn’t have a dog. This red collar is too small for bears, and most birds don’t have necks – it’s a dog collar. Why did she buy it? Because I promised to give her a black Pomeranian puppy. She didn’t buy that red dog collar for any other beast but that Pomeranian that I promised her.

Christ manifested God’s name only to those whom the Father gave to Him. And each and everyone of those recipients were given to Christ from the stock found in the world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave TO his only begotten Son, an innumerable company of sinners out of that world, to whom the Son manifested the name of God. Those people to whom this manifestation was made were not better than the rest of the people of the world. They were filthy, hell-deserving sinners like everyone else, but they were made different by the gracious choice of God. God revealed Himself to these select people through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Thine they were. . .”

Those especially blessed people were not God’s by the right of creation. If that were the case, they would be no different from anyone else. They were the Father’s people, because He chose them out of the world, before the foundation of the world. They were His people before they believed; they were His people before they repented. They were His people because of His sovereign election of them. God didn’t choose them, because they believed or repented. It was His choice, not their choice that activated this election. He didn’t choose them because they learned the lessons that the Son taught of the Father. The Son manifested the Name to them because they were chosen For all intents and purposes, they have always been the Father’s people.

“And thou gavest them me . . .”

When were they given? When the Father saw them believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? No. They were given to the Saviour, by covenant, before the first man was ever created. John 6:37 – “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Is Jesus talking only about His eleven disciples? He is praying for all of those given to Him of His Father, which includes many of us today. This gift of the soul to the Son will eventually mean the faith and repentance of each and every one of them.

“And they have kept thy word.”

These people who were given to Christ by the Father before the foundation of world, eventually in time, heard the Word, heard the Holy Spirit, and heard the call to repent. Eventually in time, they put their faith in Christ Jesus, the Saviour. In time they were born again. But in the timeless eye of God, it had always been a done deal.

We will never have a chance to read our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life, on this side of Heaven. But we can read the characteristics of those who are the people of God. And we can read what the Lord will find in those who are the chosen of the Lord. All those given by the Father to Christ, repent towards the Father, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and learn of them. John 14:21-24 – “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings.”

How can we know that we are among those given by the Father to the Son? By our application of and adherence to the Word of God. So how closely do you look like the Lord Jesus Christ?

There is an interesting side-bar of a lesson here: It is with this verse that the Lord Jesus begins to pray for us. The first five verses He is praying about Himself, but the rest of this prayer deals primarily with us. Perhaps the lesson is this: 20% of this prayer involved prayer for Himself, while 80% was intercession for others. It would be wrong to enforce the same percentages and formula upon our prayers, but we have an example here to make more of our prayers concerning the needs of others and less to concern ourselves.

Go to Chapter Six »