Blessings of Grace and Peace from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. We are honored to share with you today from God’s Word, and we are thankful you choose to join us. We are Heralds of Hope, and every week our Bible teaching is broadcast around the world via radio. This is one way we are achieving our vision of using media to make disciples of Jesus Christ, and we believe Christians working together can accomplish the great commission in our lifetime.
Another way Heralds of Hope is working to accomplish our vision is through Bible and literature distribution. Working with partners throughout the world, we distribute the Bibles in areas where the Bible is not easily accessible. We do this because Jesus has saved us, and we want to serve Him and build His kingdom while we are on earth.
Today we will continue learning from the book of John, and we are starting chapter 17. When you heard John 17, some of you immediately recognized this as the High priestly prayer. You are correct, and Lord willing, we will be taking the next 3 weeks to look at this prayer and learn from it. Our title for today’s lesson is The Difference in Jesus.
In verse 3 Jesus tells us what eternal life is; He said, and this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. You and I know we will not be on this earth forever. Death is something we all have in common, and we may ask. What happens after I die? Or exactly what is death? These are good questions and our answer to these questions has a huge impact on how we live. It is worth your while to seriously think through the questions of life and death. Let’s do that before we get into today’s teaching.
To really understand eternal life, it is helpful to understand death. Think of death as separation. When someone dies physically, their soul is separated from their body. Scripture promises this death is temporary; someday, every soul will be reunited with its body. Right now, there are many people who are dead. This is not permanent; all will be resurrected, some to eternal life and some to everlasting death. But now they are physically dead; their soul is separated from their body.
Another separation is when a person’s soul is separated from God. This first happened when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, and they lost the connection they had with God. They were still physically alive, but they were spiritually separated from God, or dead. Jesus came so no one would not have to stay in this separation. He has provided a way to regain the connection with God which was broken by sin. So, while we all are separated from God spiritually, we don’t have to stay there. Through Christ, we can have spiritual life.
There is a third type of death, and this is often called the second death or eternal death. This is separation from God forever, and Rev 20:13-14 says, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” Jesus has also come to rescue us from this death, and He wants all humanity to experience life with Him forever. The only way to avoid the eternal death is to know Jesus.
And Jesus tells us eternal life is knowing God and knowing Him. People that know Christ do experience physical death, but remember this is only temporary; in the resurrection, their soul will be reunited with their body, their eternal body. This is taught in I Cor 15. And the other 2 types of death, spiritual death, and the 2nd death, will not affect a Christian. Because of Jesus, our souls are no longer separated from God, both now and in eternity. This, my friend, is true life; knowing Christ and knowing eternal life is ours is the most important thing you can do in this life.
I thank you for thinking with me about life and death. It is our prayer that you will know Christ and never know spiritual or eternal death. Now, let’s give our attention to Bible teacher J Mark for some more thoughts from John 17.
There are no two people who are exactly alike. Sometimes we may see someone who reminds us of a friend, but we are all a little different. Yet, we can say Jesus has no one nearly like Him. No, the Bible calls Him the only one of God. That may be a little hard to grasp, to really understand, but the Bible calls Jesus the only one of His kind.
The mystery of God in the flesh cannot be simplified. We must say that it is a miracle, and miracles cannot be simplified. But our hope lies in the fact that He is different.
That Jesus is different is well shown in His prayers. In our study of the Gospel of John, we come to one of the Prayers Jesus prayed. John 17 is the longest recorded prayer of Jesus. The others we have in the record are quite short, although we know from the Gospels that Jesus sometimes spent whole nights in prayer. On one occasion, He fasted for forty days and surely spent much of that time in prayer.
THE DIFFERENCE IN JESUS can be understood from the first part of this prayer in John 17:1-8
- These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
- As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
- And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
- I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gayest me to do
- And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
- I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
- Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
- For I have given unto them the words which thou gayest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
We are in the prayer room of Jesus. From this part of Jesus’ prayer, we are shown that He had certain outstanding POSSESSIONS which made Him different.
In a unique way, He Possessed Eternal Life.
He had received as a gift from the Father the power to give that life to others. “Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” Eternal life, my dear friend, is a gift; it is not earned. There would be no way that you or I could earn eternal life. We do not receive it for wages, for work done. No, Jesus possessed eternal life to give to those whom the Father had given Him, to those whom the Father knew. To them, Jesus gave eternal life. I can add: to them, Jesus now gives eternal life.
Well, what is eternal life? Jesus prayed, “This is eternal life, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” That is eternal life. Now that is not so difficult. No, not when we have the Bible and when I can come to you like I am and explain to you that Jesus gives eternal life because He possessed eternal life and the Father gave Him the right to give it to those whom God had given Him. Oh, praise the Lord for that!
Along with that eternal life, He Possessed the Eternal Glory.
Here in His prayer, He asked the Father to glorify Him with the same glory that He had before the world was. He said He had finished the work that God gave Him to do. In that, He glorified the Father. His work was assigned to Him. It was outlined beforehand. During His lifetime, He finished that work. Surely that brought glory to God, His Father, to have finished His work exactly like the Father had planned it.
So, He asked for that pre-world glory. Let me explain. He said, “Glorify me with thy own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” Say, that’s a wonderful thought, isn’t it? Jesus was with the Father before the world was ever made. That shows us that He is eternal; it shows us that He shared the Father’s glory.
Jesus possessed the eternal glory, and He was asking the Father to restore to Him that same glory which He had had before the world was.
Jesus not only possessed eternal life and glory, but He possessed the Eternal Word.
The Words of Jesus are the Words of God. He prayed, “I gave them the words which thou hast given me; and they have kept thy word.” The Word was given to Jesus to give to the disciples, and they kept or observed to do what the Words told them to do.
It is important to note that this is the eternal Word because it comes from the eternal God. You see? To receive the eternal Word from the eternal God is an enlightening experience. Revelation is light; it pierces the darkness; it throws back our ignorance, and we come into the light of understanding. So Jesus gave what He had received, and they received it from Him. And the result was, they believed that God had sent Jesus.
It still works that way. Jesus possessed the eternal Word, and when we receive His Word, we receive the Word of God. It will generate or create in us, faith, or belief.
These possessions that Jesus had set Him apart from all others. No one else can make such claims as He made: to give eternal life, to share eternal glory, or to teach the eternal Word. He invites you to believe on Him, strengthen your faith in Him, and fasten your hope upon Him.
My friend, was this teaching helpful? If you’d like a copy, either in print or on an audio CD, just contact us and ask for it by the title. Or log onto our website heraldsofhope.org
The quickest way for you to connect with us is to send an email to [email protected]. That email address is [email protected]. Or write to Hope for Today, Box 3, Breezewood, Pennsylvania 15533. Remember, you can request a printed manuscript or an audio CD of this teaching. We’d be happy to send one to you.
And when you contact us, you can request our Bible Study Guide, Hope Herald. It follows these radio programs and will help you learn more about what we’re studying from John’s Gospel. So, ask for your free copy of Hope Herald today.
Here’s the contact information again. Our email address is [email protected]. Or write to Hope for Today, Box 3, Breezewood, Pennsylvania 15533. Remember; you can request a free copy of this teaching. It’s available in print or on an audio CD. And you can also request a free copy of our newest publication, Hope Herald. It will help you gain more value from our study in John.
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Now, I urge you to tune in next week as Pastor J. Mark continues our study from John’s Gospel. You won’t want to miss it. And until then, keep looking to Jesus; He’ll give you hope for today!
This episode is an exposition of John 17:1-8 by J. Otis Yoder, re-recorded by J. Mark Horst, with a new opening and closing by Arlin Horst.