Summary: Who cares about what goes on in our lives and the lives of others? The good news is that Jesus cares and here he shows us why and how much He cares.
John 17: 6, 7
A Young School girl is kicked and beaten at Ballymena bus station by one of her school mates, whilst other young people stand and watch, some were scared the same would happen to them if they intervened, and others were joining in with the jeering. Who Cares? A crowd of yobs runs riot through Ballymena, breaking shop windows and throwing bricks at the police. Who Cares? 4 nurses are killed in a Presbyterian Mission Hospital in Pakistan by grenades thrown by an Islamic group. Who Cares? A widow sits all alone in her house, finding each hour getting longer and each day a little more unbearable. Who Cares? It is surely these attitudes that caused the great English statesman, William Gladstone, to write, "Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race." Robert Browning was obviously thinking of the result of such selfishness when he commented, "Man seeks his own good at the whole world’s cost." Selfishness seen in so much today, whether it is in our work, our homes, or even our prayers - maybe even when we are praying for someone else, "Help my wife to get better, so she can start doing the dishes again" or "Help my boss to become a Christian, so he won’t be so nasty". Jesus is not selfish, although for 5 verses here He prays for Himself (but this is always for His Father’s glory though), but now He prays for others. Who Cares? - Well as we shall discover here - God cares. He cares very much about our situations, our worries and our fears. Why?
1. God’s Belongings
From we are no height we are encouraged to write our names upon things that belong to us - clothes; books; toys. As we get older we keep an inventory in our heads of our belongings, stacking them up in order of value - houses, cars, gold, silver, china & wives!!
How would God’s inventory stack up? Surely we see the answer to that here. Jesus says that the disciples were originally God’s - that they belonged to Him. In an important sense, everything that exists is God’s. The cattle on a thousand hills is His, and we can give Him nothing He doesn’t already have. This is an important concept to understand, because people so often think, if I give Him this money, He’ll be pleased with me and reward me - or, If I give Him a couple of hours of worship on a Sunday, then He will be well pleased! We can give God nothing that He doesn’t already have. Since He has made everything and owns everything He can do with it what He pleases. From the tiniest atom to the greatest star, all that exists is God’s, for He made it originally, and ultimately controls it’s purpose and duration.
As God possesses all things in a general sense as the creator and sustainer, there is also a possession which is more specific. It is His possession of a holy people. They are special because of His election of them to salvation. This is surely what Christ is speaking of when He says,
v6 - "... the men whom You have given me out of the world. They were Yours ..." - This ought to come as a blessed comfort to all who are saved. Our salvation is nothing to do with our ability to choose and keep choosing to be good living, to keep the commandments, or even to trust in Christ for salvation. If we are saved it is because we are part of God’s great purposes and have become His possession. We belong to God, not just because He made us, but also because He chose to save us.
2. Christ’s Bequest
When Prince Charles came of age he was invested as Prince of Wales. In a sense this was his bequest. The Queen did not abdicate her responsibility for the people of Wales, but chose, in time-honoured-tradition to share this responsibility with her son and heir.
v6 - "You gave them to me ..." - Those who were the Father’s in this special elective sense, were then given to Jesus, so that they became His possession AS WELL.
Have you ever considered how Jesus felt or what Jesus thought as He went about during his earthly life, particularly during His ministry years? He was sinless, gracious, winsome and loving. He made the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the blind to see, and He even raised the dead. He preached as no-one else, and He showed love and compassion to all. Was He loved for it? NO, He was hated to the point where eventually He would be crucified. Was Jesus down about this? NO. Did He ask for His Father to take Him back to Heaven since it had all be one big mistake? NO. Did He go into hiding, hoping one day it might all get better? NO. Why not? The simple reason was, that Jesus knew those whom the Father had given Him, and knew that they would all come to Him. Therefore Jesus was under no illusions about His ministry. In John 2:24, 25 we read, "He did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man; for He knew what was in man." He knew that doing something more spectacular wouldn’t win more souls, or teaching some more palatable doctrines, or preaching with more eloquence wouldn’t alter things. All He needed to do was honour God and do as God required, and those whom the Father had given Him would come to Him. We mustn’t compromise the gospel simply to reach a wider audience or hope we make the gospel more palatable. Our primary aim and responsibility is to honour God and He’ll do the rest! Keith Green used to sing, "He’ll take care of the rest" & spoke of how Noah & Moses simply had to do as God had instructed and leave the rest to God. So what did Jesus do in His ministry?