Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part IV: Presentation Of The Messenger Of Salvation
D. Christ's Credentials Revealed In His Preparations For The Cross
4. Christ's Credibility Seen In His Intercession For The Church In VIEW Of His Coming Cross
a. Christ's Credibility Revealed In His Prayer Regarding Himself In Preparation For The Cross
(John 17:1-5)
  1. Introduction
    1. Mirrored in the December 1994 Life magazine article title, "Who Was Jesus?" is a belief among many parties that Christ's followers and even Jesus Himself struggled with His identity. Karen Armstrong, Professor of Religion at Leo Baeck College wrote of this identity crisis regarding Jesus, saying: "To say that a crucified man was God was blasphemous in the Jew ish world." (Ibid., p. 76, 82)
    2. Knowing that a "crucified Messiah" was itself a contradiction in terms to the Jew, John wrote about how Jesus identified Himself IN VIEW OF His coming cross. The WAY He did so gives unquestionable, SETTLING insight to today's believers into what Jesus felt was His identity and mission (as follows):
  2. Christ's Credibility Revealed In His Prayer Regarding Himself In Preparation For The Cross.
    1. In the presence of His disciples with whom Jesus had just finished addressing, Jesus assumed the posture of prayer used in His day to pray to the Father in front of His followers, John 17:1a with John 16:33.
    2. In the first part of that prayer, in John 17:1b-5, Jesus clarified His identity, His mission involving the cross and what was its purpose, and predicted His exaltation following that mission of the cross as follows:
      1. Jesus clarified in prayer to the Father that the time had come for a momentous event to occur, Jn. 17:1b.
      2. In view of that momentous event, Jesus asked the Father to glorify Him that He might in turn glorify the Father, John 17:1b. Just what is involved in the glorification of the Father through the Son's glorification is further amplified by Jesus' words to th e Father that follow in John 17:2-5:
        1. Jesus stated He had been granted authority over all men by the Father to give them eternal life, 17:2.
        2. Then Jesus revealed what this eternal life involved: it was a personal intimacy of a human being with the Father and the Son in the spiritual realm, Jn. 17:3. (a) The word translated "know" is ginosko, meaning experiential intimacy, cf. Bible Know. Com., N.T., p. 331. (b) Thus, the eternal life Jesus gives men is a life that is characterized by a relationship of spiritual fellowship with God. (c) We know from other passages that this eternal life comes by a human's faith in Christ, John 5:24; 20:31.
        3. In kinship with this gift of eternal life, Jesus mentioned that He had finished the work the Father had given Him on the earth, glorifying the Father, John 17:4. Since the cross was yet future, Jesus must have been speaking in a relative sense, stating His cross is considered an accomplished event in the future so that He can view His glorifying the Father as obeying Him in dying on the cross for the sins of the world, cf. John 17:3b with John 1:29. (Ibid., Bible Know. Com., N.T.)
        4. Following Jesus' glorifying the Father by fulfilling His will to die as the atonement for man's sins, Jesus asked the Father in turn to glorify Him by raising Him from the dead so that He could take back the heavenly glory He had laid aside to come to die o n the earth, John 17:5. Jesus' reference to regaining the external display of His divine GLORY that He had WITH the Father "before the world was" (KJV) ("before the world began" NIV) shows Jesus viewed HIMSELF as the ETERNAL GOD, John 17:5b. He had no question as to His identity OR mission!
Lesson: In front of His disciples with a prayer He INTENDED them to HEAR, Jesus declared He saw Himself as the ETERNAL GOD along WITH the FATHER Who left the outward expression of His divine glory to take upon Himself humanity and obey the Father's will of submitting to being the Lamb of God for the world's sins. Accordingly, He asked the Father to glorify Him before men by raising Him from the dead and exalting Him with the Father back in His former eternal abode.

Application: Since JESUS DECLARED HIMSELF to be the ETERNAL GOD Who GAVE Himself on the cross for our sins only to RETURN to His glory as GOD, be SURE we realize our Savior KNOWS He IS GOD! Thus, we must be CONFIDENT that our Christian faith is CR EDIBLE!