Summary: Wherever you are at, the challenge for us today is to lean into bearing the Name of God.
JESUS PRAYS (WEEK 2 OF 4): YOUR NAME
As we begin today, I want to jump right into the Scriptures.
READ JOHN 17:6-12 (ESV)
I have manifested Your Name to the people whom You gave Me out of the world. Yours they were, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they know that everything that You have given Me is from You. 8 For I have given them the words that You gave Me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 All Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your Name, which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are One. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in Your Name, which You have given Me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
We are on week 2 of 4 in looking at the prayer of Jesus in John 17. As I was reading and re-reading this portion of Jesus’ prayer where He prays for His disciples, I noticed several phrases that keep repeating. When God repeats Himself, it is because it is important. We should always take note of the truths God finds important.
The first phrase which is repeated the most, which oddly is not what we will focus on today, is a phrase that is repeated 7 times in the prayer: “You gave Me” or “You have given Me.”
God gave a people group to the world defined by Him that produced Jesus.
God gave that people group a Savior named Jesus.
God gave Jesus Himself and He is God. Complicated and true.
God gave Jesus all authority and He is God. Which is also complicated and true.
God gave Jesus the wisdom and teaching and covenant to share and live out.
God gave Jesus twelve disciples to mold and shape and to be the foundation of the Church.
God gave Jesus His Name and He is God. Still complicated and true.
GOSPEL MESSAGE SIDE NOTE BEGIN
As a small important side note, God gave Jesus and Jesus died on the cross for you and for me to give us the opportunity to have our sins forgiven. Jesus Christ gives us the opportunity to have a life-giving relationship with the Almighty God. We can have God as our Father. We can have a clean soul. That only happens by way of Jesus Christ. If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior… you are truly missing out on all that God has given.
GOSPEL MESSAGE SIDE NOTE END
So, seven times in this prayer Jesus reflects and speaks about what God has given. On the surface, we should be aware of the giving nature of God; Jesus certainly was. God is not a taker or a tyrant, but rather the gift-giving life-creating God of the Universe that gives and gives and gives some more. God gives good gifts. He often gives when we don’t deserve it.
Again, that repeated phrase is not the focus of our time, but rather another repeated phrase. Jesus speaks three times about the Name of God and how significant that is for Himself and for those that follow Him
Verse 6: “I have manifested Your Name to the people”
Verse 11: “Holy Father keep them in Your Name”
Verse 12: “I kept them in Your Name”
Jesus is saying something very significant in His prayer, but I would also say that anytime Jesus speaks it is significant! As Jesus is praying and reflecting on God and Himself and His disciples, He dwells on the truth that God’s Name is in Him and His Name is in them and the majority of them have kept in His Name.
What does that mean?
Why is that important?
To answer those questions, we need to go back into the Old Testament and sift through many passages which talk about God’s Name and find two passages which are significant because they speak about the Name in the same way Jesus is speaking about the Name.
First, Exodus 23.
Second, 1 Kings 8-9.
EXODUS 23: BEARING THE NAME MEANS PRESENCE
In Exodus 23, Israel is receiving the Law of God at Mount Sinai with Moses before they strike out for the Promised Land. In Exodus 24, the covenant is confirmed. Exodus 25-31 we see instructions about the Ark, the Tabernacle, Priests, and many other aspects of worship that will set Israel apart from the other nations and other people. Exodus 32, the people of God are impatient and make an idol. So those are the things going on around Exodus 23. In Exodus 23:20-24, God instructs Israel about how they will be getting to the Promised Land and how they are to act.