In the Hands of the Father Accompanied By the Holy Spirit

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically today’s passage is found in the seventeenth chapter of this gospel. “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come, glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work with thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:1-5).

 

            “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I am come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I. kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and thse things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:6-13).

 

            “I have given them thy word; and the world lhath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth” (John 17:14-19).

 

            “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 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, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not. Known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:20-26).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will encounter the conclusion of this encounter and experience between Jesus and His disciples. By this time supper had already ended and Judas had already departed from the upper room to go and consult with the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel to betray Jesus into their hands. At this time Jesus had already washed the feet of the disciples and had already began teaching and speaking unto them concerning His departure and return unto the Father who was in heaven. The words and language found here in this passage of Scripture call and draw our attention to Jesus deliberately and intentionally taking the time to prepare and make ready His disciples for His departure from the world which would take place after He suffered in the flesh and after He had been crucified at the hands of the Gentiles and sinners. What is presented before us in these chapters is Jesus preparing and making ready His disciples for His departure from this world and their being left behind in the world to experience life in His absence. Having spent three and a half years walking with and following Jesus as He engaged Himself in public ministry the disciples were now being prepared for life without Jesus being present with them in the flesh. It is actually quite remarkable when you consider the words found in this passage of Scripture for we know that Jesus was indeed the Word which was made flesh and dwelt among men and yet now He was preparing His disciples to no longer be with them in the flesh. The time and hour had come for Jesus to suffer in the flesh and to ultimately be killed and crucified before being raised from death to life on the third day and it would be that suffering and death which would be the door through which He would pass through to not only experience resurrection but also ascension as He would ascend unto the right hand of the Father.

 

            If there is one thing I can’t help but be absolutely captivated by when reading the words found in these chapters it’s that the Lord Jesus Christ would spend thirty years in the town of Nazareth as the Word made flesh yet not publicly revealed or manifested. For thirty years Jesus would remain and abide in the town of Nazareth being assumed to be the son of Mary and Joseph together with His brethren. When Jesus turned thirty the time and hour of His manifestation and revealing had come and He would make His way to the Jordan River where He would be baptized by John the Baptist. It would be there at the Jordan River where the heavens would open after He emerged from the waters and the Holy Spirit would descend and rest upon Him in the bodily form of a dove. Not only this but the voice of the Father would speak from heaven and emphatically declare that this was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. Immediately following the events at the Jordan River Jesus would be driven by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where He would be tempted of the devil. Once those temptations were ended and Jesus had overcome and resisted the tempter He would return in the power of the Holy Spirit unto Galilee—and not only unto Galilee but also unto His hometown of Nazareth. It would be in the synagogue of Nazareth we find Jesus standing up for to read among them in their midst and finding the place in Isaiah where this ancient Hebrew prophet spoke of the Spirit of the LORD being upon Him and anointing Him for ministry. It would be there in the midst of this synagogue the Lord Jesus Christ would declare that the words which the prophet Isaiah spoke would be fulfilled in their hearing and presence. Of course we know those in Nazareth rejected the words which Jesus had spoken and as a result of their being offended with Him would thrust Him out of the town and bring Him to the brow of the city where they would attempt to cast Him down. Of course we know and understand that Jesus would pass right through them and would depart from that place being untouched and unscathed.

 

            From the time Jesus departed from the town of Nazareth He would be the Word made flesh and dwell among us in manifestation and revelation. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this as for the next three and a half years Jesus would be the Word made flesh and dwelling among men in power, in love, in compassion and in the demonstration of the Holy Spirit and the kingdom of heaven. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we understand the words and language we find in this passage of Scripture for although Jesus would indeed be the Word made flesh and dwell among men in the earth He would at this time prepare His disciples to suffer in the flesh and be crucified in the flesh before being raised from death to life on the third day. After Jesus had been raised from death to life on the third day He would remain within and upon the earth for forty days demonstrating and proving Himself to be alive with many infallible proofs. For another forty days after His resurrection from the grave Jesus would continue to abide with His disciples and followers as He would teach them those final things He needed to speak with them before the time of His ascension had come. It would be the apostle Paul who would write that during that forty day period of time Jesus would reveal Himself unto Peter as being alive before ultimately revealing Himself unto the rest of the apostles. Not only this but during this forty day period of time Jesus would show Himself unto upwards of five-hundred at one time. This isn’t even including Jesus’ manifesting Himself unto Mary in the garden on the morning of His resurrection as well as unto the two men who were traveling from the city of Jerusalem unto the town of Emmaus. During those forty days Jesus would indeed continue to abide with His disciples and followers teaching them and preparing them for what would take place in the coming days.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with the fact that what is presented here is Jesus preparing His disciples for His departure from this world and for His no longer abiding with them in the flesh. He would indeed spend three and a half years abiding with them in the flesh, however, the time and hour had come for Him to suffer in that flesh, for Him to be crucified in that flesh, and for His ultimately departing from this world after being raised from death to life. The sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by John. Mark, the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the physician Luke and the first chapter of the New Testament book of Acts written by Luke all describe Jesus’ ascension unto the right hand of the Father and it would be John Mark who would even punctuate his gospel account by describing how Jesus ascended unto heaven and sat down at the right hand of all glory, all majesty and all power. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this as it helps us to understand the words Jesus would speak unto His disciples on this particular night. Jesus knew and understood that the time and hour of His departure had come and that He would no longer abide with them in the flesh. They had indeed enjoyed abiding with Him in the flesh for three and a half years and yet they were being prepared at this point in time to dwell and abide in the earth absent the person of Jesus in the flesh. Jesus was taking the time before His suffering in the flesh and before His being killed and crucified to prepare and make ready His disciples for His departure from this world and His no longer being with them in the form of physical flesh.

 

            I sit here this morning thinking about and considering the words found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but think about the fact that although Jesus was departing from this world and no longer being present within it in the form of human flesh He would emphatically declare unto the disciples that He would come again unto them. It is quite remarkable to read the words found in these chapters for although Jesus was preparing to depart from this world and no longer be present with and among them in the form of human flesh He was preparing to come again unto them. With this being said we must recognize that there are essentially two different elements and aspects of His coming again which are highlighted and punctuated in these chapters. There would indeed be the initial coming to them which would take place in and through the form of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. While Jesus was present in the earth in the flesh He could indeed dwell and abide WITH them, however, there were certain limitations and restrictions that surrounded His being in the form of human flesh. We know that Jesus’ dwelling in the flesh would be the literal fulfillment of that which the ancient prophet Isaiah had prophesied when he wrote and spoke of the Messiah coming as Immanuel which literally translated means “God with us.” When Jesus came into the earth He would indeed come in the flesh that He might dwell and abide with us and it would be through that dwelling and abiding with us that the eternal Father would also dwell with us. It would be through the person of the Lord Jesus that the living and eternal God would indeed dwell with us for the first time. Pause and think about that as we find for the first time the living and eternal God actually dwelling with men in the form of human and physical flesh. For thirty years God would dwell with men in obscurity before He would dwell in the midst of men in the flesh in manifestation.

 

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for through Jesus’ being present in the form of human flesh He would literally dwell and abide with us. Despite that being said, however, there were certain limitations and restrictions which surrounded His dwelling and abiding with us—perhaps the main one being that He was limited to being in one place at one time. So long as Jesus was in the flesh—not only could He only be in one place at a time but He could only dwell and abide with us. This is what is so incredibly significant about the words Jesus spoke in these chapters for although Jesus was departing from this world and leaving this bodily form of human flesh having been made a little lower than the angels He would come again in an entirely different form. Through these chapters we learn and discover that the Lord Jesus would indeed come again unto His disciples and followers—albeit in an entirely new and different way. On this particular night Jesus prepared His disciples for His departure from this world and subsequent return unto the right hand of the Father, however, He would also declare that He would come again unto them. The question that is raised is how Jesus would come again unto them if He was departing from them in the form of human flesh. The answer to this question is quite simple when you think about the language surrounding the Comforter and the Holy Spirit for it would be through the Holy Spirit Jesus would not only come unto His disciples and followers again but how He would move beyond dwelling with them to dwelling within them. Oh it is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand the language of the Holy Spirit within these chapters as they present us with a powerful picture that not only would Jesus Himself come unto and dwell within us but so also would the Father come unto and dwell within us.

 

            The more we read the words found in this passage of Scripture the more we encounter the tremendous truth that our Lord Jesus—although He would depart from this world in the form of human flesh—would come again unto them in an entirely different form and person. For three and a half years they had walked with and followed Jesus in the flesh and now they were being prepared to experience something entirely different as they would no more walk with Jesus in the flesh but would with Jesus in the Spirit as He would dwell within them. When the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost we find the beginning of the Holy Spirit’s presence dwelling and abiding within the hearts and spirits of men as the Holy Spirit was not confined to dwelling men in the form of physical flesh. In all reality it is quite amazing to consider how the Holy Spirit would come unto the earth and be publicly manifested among men for through the person of the Holy Spirit Jesus would come again unto His disciples and followers. While Jesus was in the flesh He could only be in one place at one time, He was able to suffer and be killed, He would hunger and thirst just like everyone else did, He was able to be tempted just like everyone else did, and His physical body would be subject to growing older just as everyone else. Through the person of the Holy Spirit, however, we find Jesus being able to dwell within men rather than merely dwelling with them. For three and a half years the Lord Jesus would dwell with men in the form of human flesh and could only be experienced by those who were present in that place where He was. When, however, the Holy Spirit would come unto the earth—not only would Jesus come again unto His disciples and followers but He could be with them wherever they were at any particular time. What’s more is that through the person of the Holy Spirit Jesus could dwell and abide within the hearts of men throughout the day—even when they were at home with their families, or going on a long journey, or even sleeping in their beds at night.

 

            This first element and reality of Jesus coming unto His disciples and followers is absolutely astonishing when you take the time to consider it for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that Jesus would no longer be confined to the limitations of physical flesh and merely dwelling with men. In all reality I would dare say there was a certain joy that filled the heart of Jesus as He was preparing to depart from this world and returning unto the right hand of the Father as He knew that He could and would be able to dwell within men. I am sure there was a certain joy that was present within the heart and soul of Jesus when He thought about the fact that He would depart from this world and return unto His Father in heaven and yet would come again unto His disciples and followers in an entirely new and different way. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus rejoiced knowing that His departure was drawing nigh for He knew that no more would He merely dwell with men but could now dwell within men. When Jesus returned unto the Father who was in heaven and would be set down at the right hand of all power, all glory and all majesty He would indeed send the promise of the Father which was the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. It would be through the person and form of the Holy Spirit Jesus was now able to dwell within the hearts and spirits of men. Not only this but the New Testament book of Acts highlights the manifestation of the Holy Spirit among the Gentiles which is something that would and could not happen while Jesus was in the flesh. So long as Jesus was in the flesh—not only could and not only would the Spirit not come and be manifested in the earth but so also would the Gentiles not be able to experience Jesus through the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit.

 

            I wrote how there were indeed two manifestations and realities of Jesus’ coming which were presented in these chapters and the first of these manifestations is Jesus’ coming again UNTO them in the person of the Holy Spirit. It would be through the person and presence of the Holy Spirit Jesus would come again UNTO His disciples and followers that He might dwell and abide within them. With this being said, however, we must also understand that in addition to their being a coming UNTO His disciples and followers there would also be a coming again FOR His disciples and His followers. Those which were present in the days of the early Church thought that Jesus would return during their days and were preparing themselves for His return during their generation. Here we are almost two thousand years removed from Jesus’ presence within and upon the earth and He still has not come again FOR His disciples and His followers. There were those present during those days who thought Jesus would and could return during their lifetime and there were even those who doubted His promises and were offended with Him because He had not yet returned. The apostle Paul when writing unto the Corinthian and Thessalonian saints wrote of Jesus’ coming again and return in the glory of the Father with His holy angels as He would descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel and at the sound of the trumpet as He would gather together unto Himself both the dead in Himself as well as those which were alive and remained upon the earth. The apostle Paul made it very clear that at the sound of the last trump the dead in Christ would be the first to rise from their dwelling places in the earth as they would be caught up together with Christ in the air before those who were alive and remained upon the earth would also be caught up together with them to meet Him in the air.

 

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this as it brings us face to face with the fact that there was the initial and first coming of Jesus which would take place when He would come in the form of human flesh as the Word which became flesh and dwelt among us and as Immanuel “God with us.” There would be the initial and first coming of the Lord Jesus unto and among us in the physical form of human flesh and yet there would be a second coming of the Lord Jesus which would take place in the form of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. The words which we find in these chapters highlight and underscore the tremendous truth that although Jesus was departing in the flesh He would indeed return and come again in the Spirit. Pause for a moment and think about that for although Jesus would be present in the earth in the form of human flesh and would depart from the earth leaving that flesh behind He would return and come again in the form of the Spirit. The first time Jesus came to the earth he would come in the form of human flesh having taken upon Himself both the seed of man as well as the seed of Abraham. When, however, He would return and come again He would come in the form of the Spirit as He would no longer dwell with us but dwell within us through the person of the Holy Spirit. This is absolutely incredible when you take the time to think about and consider it for it brings us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that the Lord Jesus would indeed come again in the form of the Holy Spirit and would no longer be confined to the limitations and restrictions of human flesh. Through the person of the Holy Spirit Jesus would indeed come again unto us and would actually dwell within us rather than merely dwelling with us. Oh it was true that at Jesus’ first coming He came to dwell with us, however, when He came again He would no more dwell with us but would dwell within us through the person and presence of the Holy Spirit.

 

            With all of this being said it is absolutely necessary that we recognize that Jesus would indeed come again in the form of the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, however, Jesus would come again in the glory of His Father. At the first coming of the Lord Jesus He would come in the form of human flesh that He might dwell with us while at the second coming of the Lord Jesus He would come in the form and person of the Holy Spirit that He might dwell within us. At the end of the age, however, Jesus would come in another form entirely and altogether different from the first two as He would come in the glory of His Father with His holy angels. It is when He comes in the glory of His Father and with the holy angels that He would not only gather together unto Himself both those who were dead in Him and those who were alive and remain but He would also execute the vengeance of the living God within and upon the earth against, upon and in the midst of the nations of the earth. We must needs recognize and understand that the Lord Jesus Christ did indeed come in the form of human flesh and would be manifested among us as “God with us” in the flesh, however, He would return and come again in the form of the Holy Spirit—still as “God with us” and yet no longer as God with us in the flesh but God with us in the Spirit. What makes this all the more powerful is when you think about the fact that through the person and presence of the Holy Spirit not only would Jesus come again unto and dwell within us but so also would the Father come unto and dwell within us. Oh we have a great need to recognize and understand this as it helps us to truly understand the words and language found in these chapters and how through the person of the Holy Spirit Jesus would be able to dwell within us at any time wherever we are and in the midst of whatever we face.

 

            In addition to all of this language of Jesus coming again unto us a second time through the person of the Holy Spirit He would also come again for us that He might gather us together in Himself that where He is we might also be. It would be in the opening verses of the fourteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John we find the Lord Jesus declaring that He went away to prepare a place for them—a place in His Father’s house. The opening verses of this chapter present us with the tremendous truth that in the Father’s house were many mansions or dwelling places and if it weren’t so Jesus would not have told us. Because there were many dwelling places in the Father’s house Jesus would go to prepare a place for us that where He and the Father were there we might also be. Oh that we would truly understand and acknowledge this as it draws and calls our attention to the fact that Jesus would first come in the flesh that God might dwell with us where we are and yet there is coming a time when He will come in glory to gather us together with Him that He might bring us into the Father’s house that we might dwell with the Father where He is. What a truly wonderful and powerful transition it is to think about the fact that Jesus would indeed initially and first come in the form of human flesh that God might dwell with us where we are and yet the ultimate objective is that God would not dwell with us where we are but that we might dwell with Him where He is. This is what is truly astonishing and amazing about the words found in these chapters for Jesus would depart from this earth—not only that He might send the promise and person of the Holy Spirit but that He might prepare a place for us. Jesus would indeed depart from this world and leave the form of human flesh behind for He would prepare something better for us.

 

            All of this language is incredibly unique and powerful when you truly take the time to think about it for it forces us to understand and acknowledge that although Jesus would depart from this world and depart that physical body of flesh and blood He would come and return again in the power, the presence and person of the Holy Spirit. Jesus would depart in the flesh, however, He would come again in the person and form of the Holy Spirit that he might dwell within us right where we are and wherever we are. Stop and think about how absolutely incredible this truly is as it brings us face to face with the wonderful truth of Jesus’ departure from the body of flesh and blood that He might return unto the right hand of the Father who is in heaven. In all reality I would dare say that Jesus’ departure from this world and from the flesh and blood He was given to is in and of itself a powerful portent and picture of that which we have been called to as we who believe in Him have been called to leave this flesh and blood behind and to take on that which is incorruptible and that which is immortal. It would be the apostle Paul who would write that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven and it is for this reason we will cast off this physical body of flesh and blood and bone and marrow and will take upon ourselves that which is incorruptible and that which is immortal. This is precisely what is so powerful about the words which Jesus spoke at this particular time for not only would He declare unto His disciples that He would come again unto them but He also declared that He would come again for them. Jesus would depart from them and would go unto a place where they could not immediately travel and journey to but there would come a point in time when they would be able to follow and be with Him where He was. Although He would depart from them and from their presence and go unto a place where they could not immediately follow there would come a time when they could indeed follow Him as He would return and come again to gather them together and lead them as one corporate body into the Father’s house which is in heaven.

 

            All of this serves as the foundation for what we find in the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John for what we find in this chapter is no more Jesus preparing His disciples for His departure and their abiding and remaining in the earth but actually praying for them as they remained and abode in the earth. The words and language we find in the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John is truly astonishing and remarkable when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that Jesus would transition from preparing His disciples to remain and abide in the earth without Him to now praying for them as they would remain and abide in the earth. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of what is found within the seventeenth chapter for everything Jesus had taught and spoken would culminate here in this chapter as Jesus would turn His eyes to heaven and unto the Father as He would lift up His voice in prayer for His disciples. Having taught and spoken unto His disciples concerning His departure and their remaining and abiding in the earth we find Jesus turning His gaze and His attention heavenward as He would pray for His disciples and for those who walked with and followed Him. Jesus knew and understood that His disciples would remain and abide in the earth and He desired to pray and intercede for them in the hearing of the Father which was in heaven.

 

            It is absolutely necessary and imperative we pay attention to the words found here in the seventeenth chapter for these words bring us face to face with Jesus’ prayer for His disciples before He would suffer in the flesh and ultimately be killed and crucified before being raised from death to life. What makes this prayer so unique and powerful is that the entire context surrounding it is the disciples remaining and abiding in the earth absent the physical presence of Jesus with them. They had walked with and followed Him for three and a half years and now Jesus was preparing to depart from the earth and leave them behind as He returned unto the Father who was in heaven. Even before He would suffer in the flesh and even before He would be killed and crucified Jesus would pray and intercede for His disciples—essentially praying for them to be able to truly be His disciples and followers after His departure. If there is one thing that is so incredibly powerful about the words in this chapter and the prayer of Jesus it’s that Jesus’ heart, Jesus’ passion and Jesus’ desire was that those whom He would leave behind would be able to handle and manage living in the earth without His physical presence among them. You cannot read the words found in this passage of Scripture and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth that the Lord Jesus sought to pray and intercede for His disciples and His followers that they would be a strong, a faithful, a committed and powerful people which would remain within and upon the earth. Oh the words in this prayer essentially remind me of the words which Jesus spoke in the company of the disciples when He declared unto Simon that Satan had desired to have them that he might sift them as wheat. Despite the fact that Satan desired to have them that he might sift them as wheat He prayed for them that their faith would not fail. When they were converted after that shaking and the testing and trial of their faith they would strengthen their brethren.

 

            If there is one thing that so captivates me when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s Jesus’ level of communion and fellowship with His Father. There would be other times when Jesus would lift His eyes toward heaven and pray to the Father such as at the tomb of Lazarus and at another time when He thanked God that He had hid the mysteries of the kingdom from the wise and had revealed it unto babes. There were certain times when the gospel authors present us with Jesus lifting His eyes toward heaven and praying before and unto His Father. That which we find here is the longest prayer of Jesus recorded in the gospels and brings us face to face with the very heart of Jesus knowing that He was departing from this world and leaving the physical tent of human flesh and blood behind. The words which we find here in this chapter give us a wonderful context of the heart and desire of Jesus for those whom He would leave behind as He recognized the struggles, the conflicts, the trials, the suffering, the persecution, the warfare and the tribulations they would experience. It would be through this prayer the Lord Jesus would entreat the Father on behalf of His saints and those whom He would leave behind that they would be kept by the Father whom He was returning to after His appointed time of suffering and death had been completed. In all reality what we find here in this passage of Scripture is Jesus leaving the disciples and followers in the hands of the Father as He would depart from this earth and would return unto His Father who was in heaven. What we must needs understand when reading these words it’s that the Lord Jesus was leaving His disciples and followers behind and was leaving them in the hands of the Father.

 

            I have to admit that as I read the words found in this passage of Scripture I am absolutely gripped and captivated with the fact that Jesus prayed before and unto his Father who was in heaven that He would care for and watch over His disciples and followers. The words found in this prayer before us must be recognized and understood as a passionate plea and intercession of the Lord Jesus for His disciples and for His followers that the Father might watch over and look after them. So. Long as He was in the flesh He Himself would watch over them and would even declare unto the Father that He did not lose any save the son of perdition for whom it was ordained and appointed. This is in direct alignment with the words found at the beginning of the thirteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel when we read of Jesus loving His own which were in the world and loving them unto the end. Within these chapters we find Jesus coming unto His own and loving His own unto the end as well as Jesus emphatically declaring that He had not lost one save the son of perdition for whom it was appointed. The words in this prayer are entirely and altogether remarkable when you take the time to think about them for they call and draw our attention to the fact that the Lord Jesus sought to leave His disciples and followers in the hands of the Father as He would watch over and care for them. Essentially what Jesus did in this passage of Scripture was entrust His disciples and followers into the hands and care of His Father who was in heaven that He might watch over and protect them in His absence. Jesus knew that He was departing from this world and leaving His disciples and followers behind and as a direct result of this would ask the Father to watch over and protect them.

 

            The more you read the words found in this prayer of Jesus the more you will find His desire for the glory of the Father—not only that the Father Himself might be glorified but that the Son might be glorified in the Father and by the Father. You cannot read the words of Jesus’ prayer and not encounter and come face to face with Jesus praying unto the Father that He would glorify the Son and that He would glorify the Son with the glory which He had with Him before the foundation of the world. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for it would be this glory of the Son and this glory of the Father that would be put on full display when Jesus comes again for His Church and for His body. We have already mentioned that Jesus would come again a second time in the person and form of the Holy Spirit that he might dwell within us, however, there is another coming of Jesus in which He will come in the glory of His Father together with the angels as He gathers together all those who are dead in Him and those who are alive in Him that they might not only meet Him in the air but might also be ushered into the presence of His Father who was in heaven. Within this prayer you will find Jesus entirely and altogether desirous of the glory of the Father and for the Father to not only glorify the Son but that by and through glorifying the Son He might in turn glorify the Father. At the very heart of this prayer was the desire of Jesus for the glory of the Father to be manifested in the earth among His disciples and followers. This glory would be evidenced in and through His suffering, in and through His death, in and through His resurrection and even in and through His ascension. The glory of the Father would be seen in the death of Jesus through the earthquake that would strike the earth and the veil of the Temple being rent in twain. It would be a Roman soldier who would witness the events at Calvary and would exclaim that this truly was the Son of God. It would be the glory of God that would be seen at the tomb as on the third day the earth would again shake, the stone would be rolled away and the Spirit would raise Jesus from death to life and bring Him forth from the grave.

 

            What makes this prayer so incredibly powerful when you take the time to truly read it is when you find Jesus rehearsing in the hearing and presence of the Father how He had finished and completed the world. It would be in the fourth verse of this chapter Jesus would declare unto the Father that He glorified Him on the earth and finished the work which was given unto Him to do. IN the eighth verse of this chapter we find Jesus declaring unto the Father that He gave unto the disciples and followers the words which were given unto Him of the Father. In the sixth verse Jesus declared that he manifested the name of the Father unto the man which were given unto Him by the Father. I HAVE GLORIFIED! I HAVE FINISHED! I HAVE MANIFESTED! I HAVE GIVEN! Please don’t miss and lose sight of that which is found in these words for there is something truly powerful about this particular time in the life of Jesus for although He had not yet suffered in the flesh and although He had not yet been crucified upon that cruel Roman tree He was able to declare in the hearing of the Father that He had glorified Him in the earth. Not only this but he would also declare before the Father that He finished the work which He had given Him to do in the earth. Moreover we find Jesus declaring unto the Father how He had manifested His name unto the man which were given unto Him and how He gave unto them the words which were given unto Him by the Father. Oh while these words were spoken and prayed by the Lord Jesus unto the Father concerning His time in the flesh within and upon the earth we must needs understand that they serve as a powerful invitation within our own hearts and lives to a life of faithfulness in the presence and sight of the living God. Pause and think about how utterly astounding it is to be able to pray before the Father and not only declare that you have glorified Him in the earth but also that you have finished the work which He gave you to do. Imagine what it would be like to stand before the Father in prayer and not only confidently declare that you glorified Him upon the earth but also how you finished the work which He gave you to do.

 

            The more you read the words found in this passage of Scripture the more you will find Jesus’ passionate plea in the presence of the holy Father that the disciples which would remain and abide upon the earth would be one even as He and the Father were one. As Jesus was preparing to depart from this world and would return unto the Father He was concerned that His disciples and followers would be one even as He and the Father were one and that they would love one another even as the Father and Son loved one another. If you truly take the time to read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find and discover Jesus’ passionate desire and passionate plea that His disciples be one with each other and would be of one heart, one mind, one spirit and one fellowship in the Son. Moreover Jesus was concerned that they would love one another even as He and the Father loved one another. We know that Jesus left them a commandment to love one another even as He had loved them and now we find in this particular prayer the Lord Jesus praying for them and praying for this love that it would be modeled and fashioned after the love which the Father and the Son had for each other. Oh how incredibly wonderful it is to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and come face to face with the fact that Jesus desired of the Father that He watch over, protect, guard and preserve those whom He would leave behind knowing that He would not be together with them in the flesh. Jesus was incredibly desirous in the presence of the Father that He watch over those whom He left behind and that He would keep them in His name and keep them in His word.

 

            Oh the more you read the words which are found in this chapter the more you will encounter the use of the word “world” and you come face to face with the tremendous truth that Jesus was departing from this world and yet He was leaving His disciples and followers behind in the world. Jesus was indeed departing from this world and was leaving the flesh and blood He had taken upon Himself behind and yet His disciples and those whom He had kept in the name of the Father were being left behind in the world. We know that there was an entire Christian fiction series written by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins entitled “Left Behind” and that there were even movies made based on these books, however, we must needs recognize that prior to this “left behind” at the end of the age there was another left behind which took place. As you read the words found in these four chapters in the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John and as you read the final chapters in the gospel narratives written by Mark and Luke, and as you read the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will find there was another “left behind” which took place—one which would take place around the days of the early Church. There has been a lot of discussion about this second left behind and those who are going to be left behind when Jesus returns in the glory of His Father and with His holy angels and yet what we find in these chapters is Jesus leaving behind His disciples and followers. With this in mind we must needs recognize and understand that although Jesus left behind His disciples and His followers in the earth He would in fact pray and intercede for them. You cannot read the words found in this passage of Scripture and not encounter the tremendous truth that the Lord Jesus desperately and earnestly sought to pray for His disciples and followers knowing what they would face and knowing what they would become and were called to be.

 

            KNOWING WHAT YOU WILL FACE, KNOWING WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED TO BE! I sit here today writing these words and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the face that within these chapters—not only are we presented with what the disciples and followers of Jesus would face in the earth being left behind but we are also presented with who and what they would become in light of His departure. In all reality I would dare say the disciples would and could not become who and what they were ordained and appointed to be so long as Jesus was still present among them. There is not a doubt in my mind that the disciples could not truly step into that which they had been called to do until and unless Jesus departed from this world and returned unto the Father. It would be the departure of Jesus in the flesh and His coming again unto them in the person of the Holy Spirit that the disciples and his followers could begin to step into that for which they had been called and that for which they had been chosen. Jesus’ departure from this earth would indeed be the catalyst and the launching pad that would catapult them into the destiny which had been ordained and appointed for them. There is not a doubt in my mind that it was necessary and expedient for Jesus to depart from this earth that the Holy Spirit might come and be manifested in the midst of it, however, I would also say that it was necessary and expedient for Jesus to depart and return unto the Father that the disciples and the early Church and followers might step into and become that which they were called, ordained and appointed unto by the eternal Father.

 

            I am absolutely convinced that this prayer was absolutely critical and vital—both for Jesus as He was preparing to depart from this world and leave His disciples and followers behind as well as for the disciples themselves. There is not a doubt in my mind that this prayer was not made in secret nor was it made in private but was instead made in the hearing of the disciples and those who were with Jesus at this time. It is actually quite astonishing to read the words found in this passage of Scripture for within you get the sense that Jesus would transition from a place of teaching to a place of intercession as He recognized that those whom He was leaving behind needed more than simply teaching. TEACHING ALONE WASN’T ENOUGH! The words found in this passage of Scripture present us with an incredibly powerful understanding that although Jesus did in fact teach the disciples concerning His departure from this earth and although Jesus did in fact prepare them for His return unto the Father He would also commit and devote them to prayer. Although Jesus would indeed teach the disciples concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit who would be another Comforter for and unto them He would also commit them unto the Father in prayer. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that the gospel narrative written by the apostle John could have transitioned from Jesus’ final words in the sixteenth chapter and moved directly into what we find in the eighteenth chapter. Jesus could have moved directly from teaching the disciples concerning His departure from this world and the coming of the Holy Spirit and left it at that, however, the truth of the matter is that Jesus sought and earnestly desired to commit them to the Father in prayer.

 

            I sit here writing these words and I am brought face to face with the incredible truth that teaching alone was not enough at this particular juncture for Jesus and His disciples. It’s nice to think that teaching alone would and could have been enough for the disciples to prepare them for what was ahead, however, I would dare say that Jesus recognized that He needed to seal the words He spoke in prayer and needed to commit those whom He was leaving behind into the hands of the Father. IN THE HANDS OF THE FATHER ACCOMPANIED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT! What a truly wonderful truth is found in this chapter for within it we are brought to the place where we not only recognize that the disciples and followers of Jesus who were left behind were left and committed into the hands of the Father but also that they were accompanied by the Holy Spirit. Not only were they accompanied by the Holy Spirit but they would be indwelt with and by the person of the Holy Spirit as Jesus would both send the promise of the Father and would come unto them. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and realize when reading these words it’s that this prayer of Jesus was designed and intended to commit His disciples and followers into the hands of the Father knowing that they would have the person of the Holy Spirit dwelling within and among them. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of what is found in this chapter for within it there is a profound truth surrounding those whom Jesus left behind as being men and women who were committed into the hands of the Father and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Although Jesus would indeed depart from them in the person of the flesh He would come unto them again in the person of the Holy Spirit and would dwell within them. Oh I still wonder what it would have been like for those who walked with and followed Jesus during those three and a half years and knew what it was like to experience His presence in the flesh to now experience the personal and intimate indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

 

            One of the greatest questions I ask myself when reading these words is what it was like for the disciples and those who walked with and followed Jesus to remain in the earth apart from His presence among them and yet being accompanied and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. What was it like during those ten days following the ascension of Jesus and the arrival of the Holy Spirit as they neither had the One whom they had walked with and followed for three and a half years and they did not yet have the person of the Holy Spirit. There would be an intense period of waiting, of tarrying and abiding in Jerusalem while they waited for the promise of the Father which Jesus would send not knowing when the Holy Spirit would indeed come and be manifested among them. The beloved physician Luke presents with details surrounding the events of the day of Pentecost and yet I wonder what it was like for the disciples and those who had walked with and followed Jesus for those three and a half years to experience the person of the Holy Spirit—and not only experience the person of the Holy Spirit but also experience Jesus in an entirely new and different way. Jesus was very clear when speaking unto the disciples that He would come unto them and that He would not leave them Comfortless but would send the promise of the Father which was the Holy Spirit. This is truly captivating when you consider what it must have been like for the disciples and those who were with Jesus from the beginning—from the time of the baptism of John until the time of His ascension—to experience Him in an entirely different way. They were used to walking with and following Him in the flesh for three and a half years and yet now here they would be experiencing Him in and through the person of the Holy Spirit whom they could not see but whose very presence they would undoubtedly be aware of.

 

            I absolutely love the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for the words presented here bring us to the place where we recognize that those whom Jesus would leave behind would indeed be accompanied and indwelt by the Holy Spirit and would be cared for by the Father. Jesus would not pray these words in secret but would pray them in the hearing of the disciples on this particular day. It is quite stunning to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and come face to face with Jesus praying for the disciples and for them to actually hear Him praying for them. They had heard Him praying before and they had undoubtedly watched Him as He prayed before, however, this prayer would be entirely and altogether different as He would pray for them knowing that He would be departing from this world and leaving them behind. With this being said I absolutely believe that Jesus recognized and understood that while He did in fact teach and prepare His disciples for His departure from the earth He also prayed for them. Much like He declared unto Simon how He prayed for them that their faith would not fail so also He prays for them here in the presence and sight of the Father in heaven that they might be cared for and watched over the Father. How absolutely incredible is it to think about the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ would leave His disciples behind in the earth and yet would leave them with the Holy Spirit present within them and would commit them into the hands of the Father. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it was like for Jesus as He departed from this world knowing that He was leaving His disciples and followers behind. We know that there was a certain joy and rejoicing that was present within His heart and soul knowing that through and by His departure another Comforter would come unto them through the person of the Holy Spirit.

 

            If there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading the words presented to us in this passage it’s that although Jesus was indeed departing from among His disciples and followers He would send unto them the Comforter and would also leave them in the hands of the Father. Pause for a moment and think about what this would have done for the disciples knowing that Jesus had prayed for them, knowing that the Holy Spirit was sent unto them, and knowing they were in the hands and care of the Father. Jesus prayed for His disciples and followers—those who He knew He was going to leave behind—and He prayed for their unity and their love. Jesus knew and understood that in His absence two of the greatest needs they would have was being united together having one heart and one mind and loving one another. In all reality—if we are honest with ourselves and with the Holy Spirit—there is a great need for the body of Christ to not only be that corporate body that is united together in spirit, in heart and mind but also love one another. You cannot convince me otherwise that two of the greatest needs presented within our culture and society is for unity and for love and that the Church and body of Christ must needs be an example and lead the way with this. If the Church desires to see unity in the culture and society and if the Church wants to see true change and reformation in the culture and society in which they find themselves they must lead the way in terms of loving one another and being united one with each other. We cannot expect unity in the world around us if it is not found in the Church. There are countless men and women who are looking for unity to be manifested within our culture and society and yet because it is missing in the church it is guaranteed to be missing in the culture round about it. Make no mistake about it because if the church itself is not modeling unity within itself and love one for another then we dare not and cannot expect the world, the culture and society around us to. We cannot and must not expect the world around us to be the model for unity and love—particularly and especially since there is the strong potential for it to be skewed and warped according to entirely different standards.

 

            As I draw this writing to a close we must needs recognize and understand the words and language found in the seventeenth chapter of the gospel written by the apostle John. The words and language we find here in this passage of Scripture brings us face to face with the call for the body of Christ—the true Church of Jesus—to be united within itself as they are of one mind, one heart, one spirit, one purpose, one calling and all under one God. Our currency in the United States of America screams of one nation under one God and yet the truth of the matter is that we are anything but one nation under God. With this being said this cannot and must not be something that is said of the church as the Church must needs be one people united together as one body under one God through one Spirit in the name of Jesus. There is a great and powerful need within the Church and body of Christ to be united and having the same mind, the same heart, the same purpose and to truly be united together. I am absolutely convinced that as the Church’s unity goes so also does and so also will the unity in the midst of the culture and society around it go. As the love one for another within the Church wanes, grows cold and departs so also can and will the love within the culture and society go. It is no coincidence that Jesus prayed for unity and love prior to His departure from this world and return unto the Father for He knew that in His absence they would need each other in the midst of the culture and world in which they were living. Jesus knew and understood that His disciples and followers would in fact need love one for another, unity one with another and a strong fellowship and community with each other. This is something we must needs realize and understand in the midst of the culture and society in which we are living as we cannot hope to truly thrive and survive in these last days without love one for another and unity one with each other. It is with this in mind I leave you with the following words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts:

 

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:41-47).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s