There are a lot of words flying at us these days, and I’ve discovered that even though some may be in my native language, they don’t necessarily mean the same thing they meant when I first learned them as a child. We have to check and double check we know what someone’s talking about before we can just accept what they’re saying as fact. Even then, we may be on shaky ground.
Jesus has the words we can trust, because they open the door to salvation.
This is just one more reason I’m happy to be spending some concentrated time listening to Jesus these days. As we continue in John 17, listening to his prayer, we find the words we can trust.
I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.John 17:6-9 (NIV)
In the earlier verses, Jesus told us the exact meaning of eternal life: “that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (v.3) Now, through his prayer, he’s making it clear to us how he made God known: by giving us the words of God. In hearing those same words, we also learn in this prayer how we gain eternal life — by accepting and obeying them, believing Jesus is the Christ, sent from God.
Jesus came, made God known through both his actions as the incarnated Son of God and also through his words, which are the same as the words of the Father. Believing in what Jesus said and did gives us access to God himself through salvation. That knowledge, the intimate relationship with God and Christ, begins on this side of heaven and continues for eternity. Those who reject God’s word and Jesus as the Christ, do not know him now or for eternity — that is damnation, ultimate separation from God.
Why were these words of Christ important for the disciples to hear?
They affirmed their status as believers. Jesus, in conversation with the Father, is letting them know that they’ve believed the words and are in relationship with God. Would that faith be shaken in the coming days? Yes, but none would be lost…not even the one who denied him.
They would have only about fifty days to be in this holding pattern of belief until the coming of the Holy Spirit would seal that faith firm and tight, but still, they were not to worry — because Jesus was praying for them.
Are you listening to the words of Jesus but unsure of their veracity? Doubt no longer! Jesus’ words are trustworthy and true, because they are God’s word of life and salvation. All that’s required is for you to believe, and when you do…you’ll know, because you’ll know God!
Are you a long-time believer, but had some days of denial like Peter? Jesus is still with you, just confess and get your slate clean with him. You’ll know him in an even deeper way, if you do.
Trust not the words of man…trust only those of God…and live!
Grace and Peace