Glorify Your Son

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay 

Acts 1:15-26
Psalm 1
1 John 5:9-13
John 17:6-19

If you back up a few chapters in GJohn, especially 15 & 16, you will find Jesus giving his disciples last minute instructions; sort of cramming for the final exam. Jesus knows that his time on earth is nearly over. He has one last duty to fulfill.

It is well that we also take a quick look at the first five verses of chapter 17 because that is where Jesus begins his 26-verse set of prayers. Generally, in the Easter season we read or hear the account in Matthew 26:36ff where Jesus prays to God while Peter, James, and John fall asleep.

John’s account is quite different. At the end of the long discourse, Jesus says, “take courage—I have conquered the world.” NET We next read: After Yeshua had said these things, he looked up toward heaven and said, “Father, the time has come.” CJB

To set the stage a bit, we do not know where Jesus and the Eleven (Judas left) were during all this praying. They finished the meal in the upper room and at the end of chapter 14, Jesus says, “Come now, let us go.” NJB The two chapters of instruction occur, and the first verse of chapter 18 reads: After he had said all this, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron valley where there was a garden into which he went with his disciplesNJB We do not need to know where they were, it is the teaching that is important; but it is a small glitch in the story telling.

Back to the prayer.

Glorify your Son, so that the Son may glorify you — just as you gave him authority over all mankind, so that he might give eternal life to all those whom you have given himCJB

Think back to Genesis where Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Remember that it was from the Tree of Knowledge. Then God expelled them from the Garden so that they could not eat from the Tree of Eternal Life. Now Jesus is ready to give us Eternal Life.

Also note that Jesus, Son of Man, Son of God, has authority over all seven and a half billion people living today.

And eternal life is this: to know you, the one true God, and him whom you sent, Yeshua the Messiah.“I glorified you on earth by finishing the work you gave me to doNow, Father, glorify me alongside yourself. Give me the same glory I had with you before the world existedCJB

Again, if we look back to Genesis, we see that God gave a job to Adam. He was to tend the Garden and protect it from invasions, like snakes. He failed to do his given tasks. Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, all failed to complete their given tasks. They were forerunners of the Messiah but fell far short of being the Messiah.

Jesus did his job.

“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 word.” CJB

Jesus is talking about the Disciples here, but by extension, he is talking about all of us who have become followers and disciples.

They have really come to know that I came from you, and they have come to trust that you sent me. “I am praying for themCJB

Even at this late date, Jesus is claiming to be God’s messenger. He is still human and does not yet share equality with God. That will come soon, but not this night.

In verse 11 Jesus looks ahead to his glorious reunion with his Father. Now I am no longer in the world. They are in the world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, guard them by the power of your name, which you have given to me, so that they may be one, just as we areCJB

Jesus was already making the transition from earth to Heaven. He did not mean that he was no longer in the world in the physical sense; only that his spirit is ready. “I am coming to you,” stresses that point.

It may well be that Jesus gave the name of God to his disciples; that is, His true name that no human save Moses and Jesus knew. If not his name, then he told the disciples what God is, who God is, and why God is; so they now know God. We do not know God’s name. It is not YHWH. That is considered in Judaism to be a substitute name, and it is too Holy to speak aloud.

It is the power of God that Jesus speaks of here.

“I have given them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world — just as I myself do not belong to the world.” CJB

This is one of the hardest things Christians must live with. We are not of this world. But we live in this world. Too many have plunged themselves into the social and political aspects of the world, forgetting that we are citizens of Heaven. While we vote for the candidate we think will be the best for all, it does not matter who is elected. If the government causes us to suffer, we only share in the suffering of Jesus.

Jesus went on to ask God to protect the disciples. I don’t ask you to take them out of the world, but to protect them from the Evil OneCJB That protection did not keep them from worldly harm; eleven of them were executed and John spent years under arrest. The protection was from Satan.

In his final words in this portion of his prayer, Jesus says, “On their behalf I am setting myself apart for holiness, so that they too may be set apart for holiness by means of the truth. CJB

In verse 20, Jesus opens a new segment of the prayer that includes every follower of the Way down to our own times. All of us are set apart for holiness. Holiness does not engage in discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorderNIV 2 Corinthians

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

Remain in My Love

1903 Wright Flyer (A19610048000) at the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum. February 27, 2017. Smithsonian photo by Eric Long (A19610048000.3T8A5583) (NASM2018-10795)

Acts 10:44-48
Psalm 98
1 John 5:1-6
John 15:9-17

God is love.

What can be said after that? Does love exist apart from God? Is God more than love? Is it possible for humans to love?

The English word, love, is used all over the map. I love you. I love Disneyland. I love cookies. I love action movies. I love paying taxes.

If you used the Greek words—phileos, eros, agape—only philos would be used in the examples above. It was the most used term in the ancient Greek world and was appropriate to use of the gods. The idea of phileos is love of other people, brotherly love. Eros referred to sexual circumstances.

While all three terms were used in the Greek translation of the OT, eros is never used in the NT. The third word, agape, was little used in Greek writings and had a vague if pleasant meaning. Probably within months, the first followers of Jesus—they called it being in the Way—began to adopt agape as meaning that unique love that can only be ascribed to God and His Son.

Verse 9 of John’s Gospel reading literally has: As loved me the father so love you, remain in the love. The first two uses here is agapao which has the sense of great or much love. The last use is agape, love in the plural, love-feast.

Christians quickly began to equate love from God as the most powerful form of love. Because they believed Jesus to be God’s Son, his love was just as powerful. Jesus commanded us to practice that same agape love.

Think about the word practice for a moment. No one goes to the Olympics and wins the 400-meter race without some practice. No human can agape without practice.

It is interesting that in the first 12 chapters of GJohn, he used agape and philos almost interchangeably. The rest of the Gospel stresses agape love.

Look at this passage from John 21:15-17. When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you agape me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I phileo you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you agape me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I phileo you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you phileo me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you phileo me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I phileo you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheepNIV

This is clearly an opportunity for Simon to express his love and devotion to Jesus whom he betrayed three times before the crucifixion. It is tempting to argue that Jesus asked for agape love, but Simon could only admit to phileo. The problem is that the conversation did not occur in Greek. Most likely, they spoke Aramaic, less likely Hebrew. Each language has only one word that is translated as love. John was just doing his thing of mixing the two terms in the Greek.

What is most important in this passage is that Peter’s love is one which makes it possible to follow Jesus’ command to feed and care for Jesus’ sheep. If Simon loves fellow humans (phileo) he will also love Jesus (agape).

The is instructive for all of us. How can I love a God I cannot see, touch, or hear? I love Him by loving the people He created.

If you read the first two chapters of Genesis, clearly, God created the universe for us. Not in the sense that He built a playground and then left us to it, but in the sense that He wants to share this playground with us. He gets to watch our joy as we see, understand, and grow within the playground. He gets to share Himself with us and lead us back to that perfect place He first created for us.

We can only return there by loving every human on earth as much as God does.

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence