Joy of the Gospel

The Good News of Jesus Christ

Reason to Accept Jesus

“…I kept them in your name…” – John 17:12

What can Jesus do for us? This is a question people might have when someone tells them they should accept Jesus. People want a reason to follow Jesus. Or they at least want to know why it is critical that they accept Jesus. And there is nothing wrong with wanting a reason to follow Jesus.

A reason we accept Jesus is that he accepted us. And another reason is that he did not accept us by himself. He accepted us because God accepted us. Most people are familiar with this verse: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). But how many of us really understand how God’s love relates to Jesus? That is to ask, “If God loves us, what is our relation to Jesus?

Well, the Bible says Jesus “kept his disciples through God’s name” (John 17:12). This means that Jesus protected his disciples, being God on earth. How does this passage say Jesus was God on earth? Here, the term “name” is onoma. Onoma figuratively means to be the same as the person. Here, it means to be the same as God. It means to be God’s equivalent. Thus, when Jesus says he kept the disciples in God’s name, he is saying God, himself, protected the disciples on earth.

Jesus asks God to continue to protect his disciples in God’s own name when he [Jesus] leaves the earth, after he is crucified (John 17:11). He also prays for us who believe the disciples of Jesus (John 17:20). This request is the same as his asking God Himself to protect Jesus’ disciples and those who believe them. So we can take comfort in knowing that Jesus not only prays for us, but is God for us. Because of Jesus, we have a request for God’s protection from someone. But this request from Jesus is exactly what God wanted to hear because He wants to protect us. Jesus asks for us to have exactly what God wants to give us.

One Focus

“…that they may be one, as I…” – from John 17:11

How are we supposed to relate to Jesus? We should see ourselves as one with him. Now, seeing ourselves as one with Jesus takes a little more work than we might think. For instance, asking ourselves “What would Jesus do?” kind of goes against seeing ourselves as one with him. Jesus saw himself as one with God. Therefore, he says in John 17:10, “All mine are yours, and yours are mine.” This statement is more than saying, “My house is your house” or “Mi casa es su casa.” The statement of Jesus is more than sharing an object. His statement shows a sharing of personhood.

In other words, Jesus says, “Since we are the same, what I have is yours, and what is yours is mine.” Thus, when Jesus later prays that we “be one as I” (John 17:11), we should understand he is not talking about Christians being one. Of course, Christians being one, as of one faith and purpose, is crucial. But this passage speaks to something greater. This is why the Greek word used for “I” in verse 11 is egó instead of “we” (hémeis). Here, Jesus emphasizes the “I” at the end of his statement. When he does this, the emphasis is undoubtedly on him and him as one. It is on Jesus as one, and his oneness with God.

So the prayer of Jesus for us, here, refers more to us being one with Jesus than being one with other Christians. Again, it is important to be united with other believers. But our focus should not be on other people. Our primary focus should not be to make ourselves agree with other Christians. Our primary focus should be to make ourselves one with Jesus. When we do this, everything else falls into place like a puzzle. Jesus is not some far away person. And we can experience the same oneness as Jesus did.

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