Summary: Looking to Jesus as an example of how to live the abundant Christian life.
INTRODUCTION: I would like to begin today by asking you a question. Are you living or existing? You see there is a difference. The vast majority of people on earth today are existing. They are waking up in the morning, going to work or school, keeping house, whatever the case may be. They are going about their business but they have no real sense of purpose in their lives. Their happiness and fulfilment in life depends largely on their cirumstances or their achievements. If they were completely honest with themselves they would have to admit that inside they are empty. That is existing. Christ came however that we might have life and have it more abundant. If we are going to experience this kind of real life we must look to Jesus the source of life.
In John 17 Jesus is at the end of his life. He is facing the cross. He uttered these words either on his way to Gethsemene or in the upper room. This chapter is known as the High Priestly prayer of Jesus. In this first verse Jesus begins to look to God as he faces his hour of darkness. In this text we see how Jesus lived.
I asked the question, "are you living or just existing?" The answer to that question can be determined by three questions based on our text.
I. ARE YOU LIVING WITH A DEPENDENCE ON THE FATHER
As Jesus entered his hour of trial the bible says, "He lifted up his eyes to Heaven and said, "Father". Jesus didn't look at his outward circumstances and try to figure a way out. He didn't even look inward for answers, even though he was the Son of God. He looked upward to Heaven, to the one He knew as His Father.
Jesus lived with complete dependence, not on his own person, or his own humanity, but complete trust and dependence on the Father.
One of the most eye opening verses I have ever read is John 5:30. There Jesus says, "I can of myself do nothing". Every person Jesus ever healed when he was on the earth, every sermon he ever preached, every temptation he ever overcame, he did it not by trusting in who he was as the Son of God, but by depending on the Fathers strength and guidance.
If Jesus who is God's Son could "Of himself do nothing" how much more can we of ourselves do nothing". The problem with many Christians today and churches is that we are depending primarily on our own natural abiblities, our reasoning abilities, our talents, our education, our financial resources to accomplish God's work. And we of ourselves are doing nothing. We are existing by and large completely in the natural. But when we live with this dependence upon God that Jesus lived with, the natural begins to give way to the supernatural and God begins to work.
I read all of the texts where the bible says Jesus "lifted up his eyes". One time he lifted up his eyes to God and he stuck his fingers in a deaf mans ears and the man received his hearing. On another occassion he lifted up his eyes in dependence upon God and thanked God and called Lazarus forth from the grave. On another occassion he lifted up his eyes to God and took two small fishes and five loaves and fed thousands of people.