To Know God is Eternal Life

Photo by Ihor Malytskyi on Unsplash

 

Acts 1:6-14

1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11

John 17:1-11

Psalm 68

The first five verses of John today is a prayer by Jesus asking God to glorify him. But don’t ignore the first words: After Jesus said this..NIV It is illegal (or should be) not to look back and see what happened before these words. In chapter 16, Jesus is beginning to prepare the disciples for his imminent death. The chapter ends with these words: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. NIV

Verse 2. For you gave him authority over all people, so that he might give eternal life to all those you gave himGNT God gave Jesus authority over every human. Jesus gives eternal life to everyone whom God gave to Jesus. Jesus claims no credit for saving us. By his death and resurrection, we receive eternal life, but only because God gave us to Jesus. The human Jesus never claimed to be greater than God.

Verse 3. And eternal life is this: to know you, the one true God, and him whom you sent, Yeshua the MessiahCJB The Bible since Genesis has stressed that being close to God is our salvation. Jesus made that closeness easier. Jesus gave us a picture of God. He gave us examples of how a Godly person behaves. As followers of Jesus, we must not lose sight of the true goal—to be close to God the Father of us all.

Verse 4. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to doNIV The entire life of Jesus was God’s plan. Even though we know next to nothing about Jesus for his first thirty years, we do know God was always with him. Jesus never felt the absence of God. I believe that is why Jesus was sweating blood in the Garden the night of his arrest. He understood that he had to go the final steps alone. And not just to die, but to enter Hell and face the Great Liar without feeling God within him. After 33 years of that comfort, can any of us really understand the emptiness Jesus experienced? But he finished the work.

Verse 5. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existedESV We try to understand the relationship between the Father and the Son. In our world, the father is always senior, even as he becomes feeble in age. But God’s Son seems to be an equal in Heaven. On earth, Jesus generally called himself Son of Man, but rarely accepted the title of Son of God. Clearly, Jesus wants us to see him as a servant, as the Messiah. He wants us to act in that same way, as servants. We should not claim any glory until our work is finished and God grants us whatever glory He may want us to have.

Verse 6. I made your name known to the people you gave me out of the world. They were yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your wordCJB Jesus now turns his prayer to his followers. He repeats the claim that God alone chose them. Whenever we read that Jesus said, ‘come, follow me,’ we must remember he did not pick the person. God told him to invite the person.

Verses 7-8. Now they realise that all that you have given me comes from you—and that every message that you gave me I have given them. They have accepted it all and have come to know in their hearts that I did come from you—they are convinced that you sent mePhillips Jesus knew that most of his followers would leave him after the arrest. He knew of the betrayal of Judas and the denial of Peter. He knew the rest would hide in fear. Yet, he said, they are convinced.

Verse 9.  I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yoursESV This is a special prayer. It is for the handful of men and women who were true believers and who would have to face the world and be persecuted for their efforts. He was praying for Stephen who would be the first to die and for John who would be the last. I think we can believe that we who have come to him lately are included, but he was thinking mostly of the people he spent three years with.

Verses 10-11.  All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are oneNIV How could Jesus say that glory comes to him from us?

Stay close to God. That will give glory to Jesus.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

An Excellent Mystery

This is book 11 of 21 Brother Cadfael mysteries. Peters wrote most of them in the ’80’s when I first read some of them. A few years ago I decided to read all of them in order. For the math-challenged, I’m just over halfway there.

The setting is the very real town of Shrewsbury, UK, just England in the 12th Century. The county of Shropshire borders on Wales. Brother Cadfael is Welch. You can Google the town today and see the castle and part of the monastery as well as the river that plays a part in most of the stories.

Ellis Peters is actually Edith Mary Pargeter who published her first novel in 1936 and her last in 1994 (the last Cadfael). While she is best known in the US for the Cadfael series, she received several awards and accolades for translating Czech classics into English and English to Czech.

I understand that her books may not appeal to most modern readers. We now expect to see action on page one. Here is the opening sentence of this novel followed by the last sentence of the long paragraph.

August came in, that summer of 1141, tawny as a lion and somnolent and purring as a hearthside cat… When this golden weather broke at last, it might well break in violent storms, but as yet the skies remained bleached and clear, the palest imaginable blue.

She writes mysteries in a beautiful literary style. Many see it as plodding but I like the beauty of it.  I’ll add that the opening paragraph about the hot summer–repeated a number of times in the story–is a foretelling of the climatic event.

I will say that this is not the best of the first eleven. There is always at least one new character who is an intriguing puzzle and that is true of Brother Fidelis. Yet, I did figure out what was going on much earlier than ever before.

These books are not cozy mysteries but in that neighborhood. Given the author’s age, that should not surprise.

If you are not sure about this series but would like to try one, go to the local library and check out One Corpse Too Many. It is her second of the series and the best of the 11.

Mike Lawrence