John 17-21


When Jesus finished His teaching on the Holy Spirit He lifted His eyes toward Heaven and prayed for Himself, His disciples, and those who would come to believe in Him as a result of hearing the Word of God proclaimed by His disciples. Jesus instructed us how to pray in Matthew 6:5-15 which also includes what we call the “Lord’s Prayer” or the “Our Father” which many study and know by heart. John 17 is truly our Lord’s Prayer and we would do well to study and learn from this prayer for it reveals the heart of our Lord and His love for all mankind.

In Chapters 18&19 we read of the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. As we discussed previously, about the conviction of the Holy Spirit, these events open the door for that conviction because it forces a decision about who Jesus is, first, on the people who were immediately involved, as was the case in Chapter 19:15, but also for each and every person who hears the testimony about the life and crucifixion of Jesus for their sin. It really doesn’t matter who a person is or what he has achieved, for in these chapters we will read of political rulers, religious rulers, soldiers, people who came to gawk, mock, or people just passing by. All of the people, and even among those gathered at the foot of the cross, there is only one who is sinless, Jesus, yet He was crucified for sin. The sin He was crucified for was our sin and the sin of the world.

In Hebrews 1:3 we read that Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of God’s nature.  In Exodus, after the children of Israel had worshiped the golden calf Aaron made, Moses asked God to forgive the people of their sin. God showed Moses His nature in Chapter 34 verses 5-7. Here we read that the Lord God is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in loving kindness and truth. He  forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin yet He doesn’t let the guilty go unpunished. You see, iniquity, transgression, and sin, must be punished, yet God forgives these very things because of His nature. In His loving kindness towards us our sins, transgressions, and iniquities were transferred on Jesus as He hung on the cross and He took the punishment due us for our sins.  The punishment for sin is death. Jesus suffered the penalty for our sin that was placed on Him as he hung on the cross. However, that is not the end of the story. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:21, He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. NASB

Death means separation, separation from God. Separation from God in Heaven is to be dwelling in the depths of Hades. Jesus descended to Hades but because He knew no sin Hades could not hold Him so He rose from the dead. It is the resurrection of our Lord and Savior that demonstrates that what Paul said in the verse above is true. We, who believe in Him and have asked for and received forgiveness of our sins, are righteous in the sight of God for when God looks on us He sees His Son. In this, God's Love and nature are revealed to us very practically.

What about you? Do you believe your sins are forgiven? Do you truly believe this or do you believe you have done things that can’t be forgiven? Peter knew that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Jesus had even met with the disciples after He was raised from the dead but in his mind, Peter had failed the Lord when he denied Him. Over the years I have met people who have felt the same way. They think they have committed a sin that can’t be forgiven and they carry around a burden of guilt and shame. So what did Peter do? In Chapter 21 we find Peter went back to what he was doing before the Lord told Peter to follow Him. He went back to the old life. He went fishing, and more than that he led some of the other disciples to do the same. But they caught no fish. What they did find was that the Lord was there waiting for them on the shore. As Jesus had done in the beginning He directed them to throw the net back in the lake and they caught a great number of fish. It was then they realized this was Jesus, the one that they had abandoned their boats and fishing business, in order to follow Him three years earlier. Jesus invited them to have breakfast. After breakfast Jesus took Peter through a series of questions that were meant to bring about restoration. Peter, now humbled by what he had gone through, was learning what servant leadership and shepherding is all about. The Lord is the Lord, not Peter. Peter is to not second guess the Lord, he is to follow Jesus and Jesus has a plan for Peter. Our Lord also has a plan for each and every one of us as well, but we, like Peter, have an enemy that wants us to abandon our faith in our Lord.

Our enemy is just waiting for us to slip up so he can point his finger in our face and charge us with failure and condemn us for our sin. Back in Luke 22 Jesus warned Peter that Peter’s pride and boasting was going to bring about a sifting by Satan to show that Peter was mostly chaff with few kernels. Jesus said in verse 32, “but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” NASB

Satan wanted Peter to focus on the chaff in Peter’s life but our Lord saw the kernels, the fruit of Peter’s ministry for the Lord. Peter had to get his attention off his failure and on to the Lord in order to carry out God’s plan for Peter.

You and I have an enemy as well. He will seize any and every opportunity to point his crooked little finger in our face and try to condemn us and convince us that charges against us have been filed in Heaven, but remember this, we began this study in Chapter 17 and in this chapter our Lord has prayed for you and me. God has a plan for you and me. He sees in us what Satan is trying to make us blind to with his diversion. God sees the kernels of fruitfulness in our ministry to the Lord. I pray that we will never be distracted by Satan’s tactics, and that we will never go back to what we were before we were saved. However, we can expect a sifting from time to time especially if we let the worthless chaff of the world start to build up. So when the enemy attacks what I do is take out my Bible and turn to Romans 8:31-39 and do battle. Ephesians 6:17& Hebrews 4:12. The truth of these verses puts Satan back in his place!

If you are not yet a Christian I urge you to make that declaration of faith right now.   God created you and wants you. God has a plan for you and God wants you to be free of guilt, shame, and condemnation. Jesus is standing at the door of your heart and knocking. Why not open the door and let Him come in?

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 NASB

Pastor Dave