These four words summarize John 17.
Love We all want to be loved and appreciated. This is a strong human desire. And God knows this, so we are told:
- “ . . . the love You [God the Father] have for Me [Jesus Christ] may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (vs. 26).
- “. . . that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me” (vs. 23).
It is amazing that God the Father loves Christians as much as He loves His Son, Jesus Christ. This is true because God’s love is perfect and can’t be improved. “. . . even as You love Me.” That means that God loves believers with the same intensity, the same forever commitment, the same quality that He lavishes on His Son, Jesus Christ. If the reader is a Christian, he/she is loved by God.
Confident that we are loved, we are enabled to handle stress, fear, the unknown, the past and the future better than we otherwise would. Relax, you’re loved. Bask in that reality. Pull it around you like a blanket on a cold night. Burrow into it. Enjoy it.
One Again and again we read of oneness, meaning unity and agreement; meaning concord and harmony. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one.
- “. . . so they [believers] may be one as We are one” (vs. 11).
- “. . . that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You” (vs. 21).
- “. . . that they may be one as We are one” (vs. 22)
- “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You loved Me” (vs. 23).
The world aspires to have unity, but ambitions and rivalries and selfishness make it impossible. Christians are one with God, and they seek to be fully united with others Christians. This is not achieved as often or as completely as we would like, but believers come much closer to this ideal than non-believers.
Gave (give, given) appears 14 times in John 17.
- “For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those you have given Him” (vs. 2).
- “ . . . those You [God the Father] gave Me” [Jesus Christ] (vs. 6).
- “I have revealed You to those You gave Me out of the world. They were Yours; You gave them to Me” . . . (vs. 6).
God the Father is / was so impressed and pleased with the willingness of the Lord Jesus Christ to trade His life to atone for the sins of humanity that He gave to Jesus Christ those who believe in the Redeemer (Psalms 2:8). And He – Jesus Christ – has authority to give forever (eternal) life to people.
All people are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1), with no ability to respond, believe, repent or earn a redeeming relationship with God. God must enable people to repent and believe or it simply never happens. “Eternal life” is given, not earned, merited in any way or obtained by anything human. Total gift. This is contrary to the Catholic view which claims that each person retains the power to believe on their own, making salvation of human origin.
Knowing that we can have no part in our own salvation offends us. We like imagining that we can believe any time we want. We are the master of our fate. No, eternal life is given, not earned or obtained by anything human.
In We like being in. We like belonging. We are made secure by being well thought of by others who are included, invested, incorporated and involved. We like in.
In John 17, we see this concept and phrase numerous times:
- “. . . have a full measure of joy within them . . . .” (vs. 13)
- “. . . Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You” (vs. 21)
- “. . . may they also be in Us . . . “ (vs. 21).
- “I in them and You in Me” (vs. 23).
- “. . . the love You have for Me may be in them” . . . (vs.26).
An American soldier was killed in World War II. His friends wanted to give him a decent burial, but when they appealed to cemetery authorities, they were refused. The best these soldiers could do was to bury their friend just outside the cemetery fence. The next morning – before departing the area – they returned to pay their final respects. But they could not find the burial site. When they asked the authorities, they were told, “We should have allowed you to bury your friend in the cemetery, so we spent the night moving the fence to include him.”
The greatest relationship we could be in is with Jesus Christ, God in a human body. If you have that, you have everything; if you do not have that, you have nothing.
John 17 carries much encouragement for believers, found in four words: In, Given, One and Loved.
- Acts 13:48; John 15:16. Ephesians 2:1 says all people are dead in trespasses and sins. How dead is dead? Can a dead person still wiggle his foot? Open his eyes half way? No. He is dead. All the way dead. It is inconsistent with the term to imagine that a “dead” person can repent and believe.