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"'I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
"'I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They are 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." John 17:4-8 NIV.
With what calm assurance Jesus could speak to His Father of His submission and obedience! How could He do that? From our perspective His work was far from done. He listened to the Father and did what the Father told Him to do. That's it! This is how a true son should be.
Jesus came from the Father with a specific task to perform. Contrary to the many ideas people have about His mission, He revealed in His prayer the one reason why He came -- to reveal the Father.
"The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." Hebrews 1:3 NIV.
In the Old Testament the Son revealed the nature of the Father in His dealings with His people. He spoke to individuals directly on many occasions through His appearances as the angel of the Lord; to Abraham when He came to tell him of Isaac's birth and the destruction of the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and when He stopped him from sacrificing his son on Mount Moriah; to Moses at the burning bush; to Gideon in the winepress; to Isaiah in the temple, and to many more.
Jesus has many titles but the one specific and appropriate to the Apostle John's record of His life is "the Word." In Hebrew thought, the word is a manifestation of God in another form. John saw Jesus as God's spoken word to the world in visible from. Through Him God spoke and the words He spoke were a sacred deposit in the lives of those to whom they were given.
The Father gave the gift of twelve men to Jesus, men who belonged to Him because they were a fragment of His chosen people. Jesus viewed them as a sacred trust to whom He was to give the treasure of God's words, placed within their spirits as seed where they would grow, mature and bear fruit as these men believed and did what the words instructed them to do under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus had spend a whole night in prayer before He chose twelve men out of the many who followed Him at the start of His public ministry. When we look at them, we would think that He made some rather poor choices! But they were the ones the Father had given to Him and they were the ones with the potential to continue His mission to the world.
It is impossible for us to grasp the significance of these eleven rough, unshaped "diamonds" the Father had entrusted to Him! At this point they were uncomprehending, frightened and confused individuals, but Jesus had such confidence in His Spirit that He could view them as believing, obedient disciples, filled with God's word and fully equipped to carry on Jesus' mission in the world -- to reveal the true nature of the Father to both Jew and Gentile.
Jesus' prayer was not begging and pleading but giving thanks and expressing His trust in the Father that He would do in them through the Holy Spirit all that He intended when He chose them to be Jesus' disciples. What an encouragement to us who feel so inadequate for the tasks entrusted to us! Jesus assures us that union with Him is the key to fruitfulness.
"Apart from me you can do nothing," He said but, "We can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength."
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