In John 17 we have the privilege of overhearing a private prayer between Jesus and God the Father. It has been called the “High Priestly Prayer.” Jesus is concerned at this point for the glory of God the Father, the welfare of his disciples and obedience to the word of God.
Jesus himself has been obedient to the Father in revealing his name to the disciples who God had already identified to be called out of the world into the kingdom of God. Revealing or making manifest God’s name is much more than a simple name. His name includes God’s identity, character, works and words. Earlier in John 1.18 John says of Jesus, ‘No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.’ Part of Jesus’ role is to make the whole nature of God known to mankind. When we see Jesus, we see God. This is a major reason for the modern Christian to regularly return to the gospels where his portrayal takes a narrative form. We can find out how he reacts to various people and circumstances. We can learn how he organises his life. We have the great honour of listening in to prayer. We witness obedience to God’s word in action as we discover the minutia of Jesus’ life. All of this had formed part of the disciples’ education into who God is.
They learnt the closeness of Jesus’ relationship with the Father. They must have been amazed at the power of God over creation seen in the quietening of the storm. How lives are transformed when faith enters people’s lives when the resurrection power of God was revealed through Jesus raising Jairus’ daughter from her death bed. How God has compassion on ordinary people who seek after him in the feeding of the five thousand. They learnt that God did not tolerate false religion that pampered to human pride. They witnessed the rejected in society experiencing mercy and inclusion into the kingdom of God whether that was a Roman tax collector, a leper or an alien woman with a dubious moral history. When anyone recognised Jesus for who he was and turned away from their sin and toward him they were welcomed with open arms.
The ones God had revealed himself to through Jesus were indeed a mixed bag but Jesus was able to say of them, ‘Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.’ v6 How much does that reflect our own experience and what we know of the modern church. How has God revealed himself to you through Jesus?
The challenge then passes on to the modern church and each individual Christian, to reveal to the world this Jesus and in doing so Jesus manifests the whole Trinitarian Godhead. How can this be done? The first clue lies in the end of verse 6, ‘and they kept your word.’ To be able to do that we must first of all know the word of God. Then we need to live under the authority of the word.
What a beautiful name – Hillsong Worship