Wade's Weekly Word

John 17:2, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. (Read John 17:2, 6-9, 11-12, 24)

During the Advent Season, no two words are more frequently in people's thoughts and upon their lips than are "giving" and "gifts."  However, I fear much of our giving is of the nature of Farmer Applegate's cow.  A summer boarder once asked, "How much milk does that critter give?" The poorly educated dairyman replied with his usual drawl, "Wal, ef ye mean by voluntary contribution, she don't give none.  But ef ye kin git her cornered so's she can't kick none, an able-bodied man kin take away 'leven quarts a day!" Much of our giving this time of the year is due to a sense of obligation produced by someone else giving us a gift.

It is only when we direct our thoughts God-ward that the overwhelming, incomparable, immeasurable nature of gifts and giving takes on eternal significance and meaning.

The idea of giving and the use of the word is found 76 times in the gospel according to John. In His high-priestly prayer in John 17, our Lord Jesus uses the word "give," in its various forms, 17 times in the space of 26 verses. This incredible prayer contains three unspeakable gifts from the heart of the God who gives. I want to focus our attention upon only one. The Father's gift to His Son.

His gift was wrapped up in human flesh – the God-man. And I must tell you, viewed from a purely natural, human perspective, Jesus was not given the grand prize, but the booby-prize!

The Unworthy Nature of the People Given

The Father's gift was unique - it was freely given by Him to His Son, and freely accepted by the Son, but had to be bought by the Son before he could finally open it! Because you see the gift had been mortgaged to the broken law of God and payment in full must be rendered before the Son could fully take possession of His gift! And the most amazing thing in all the universe is the Son joyfully accepted the responsibility to redeem His own gift, even with all the strings attached! 

His People's Plight by Nature

God the Father gave a people to His Son as a peculiar possession before time began. (Ephesians 1:4) The scriptures reveal that His decision to give this people as a gift to Christ was not based upon their merits, morals, future usefulness to God, or the misery which their lostness had produced. Neither was God robbed of His sovereignty to choose or give to whom and to as many as He pleased because He foresaw those that, given the right circumstances, would freely give themselves to Him, thus, He had to give them to Christ.  (Jn. 15:16; 2 Thess. 2:18; 2 Tim. 1:9; Roms. 9:16-18). We must remember that the right of choice always belongs to him who chooses. A gift is a matter of choice and differs from compulsion, the paying of a debt, discharging an obligation, or responding to the requirements of justice. For a gift to be a gift it must be given freely and sovereignly. The Father selected the exact size of the gift and the exact composition of the gift. 

The Unbelievable Nobility Given to the People

A. His People's Position by Grace

1. They are the objects of His love - John 17:23,26 - Dr. J.I. Packer gives us a scriptural definition of God's love: "God's love is an exercise of his goodness towards individual sinners whereby, having identified Himself with their welfare, He has given His Son to be their Savior, and now brings them to know and enjoy Him in a covenant relation."

God loved us when their was nothing good to be seen in us and nothing good to be said for us. Jeremiah 31:3, "The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you." Ephesians 1:4, "...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,..."

Puritan Thomas Brooks said "the only ground of God's love is His love."

And can it be that I should can and interest in the Savior's blood? Died He for me who caused His pain, for me, who Him, to death pursed. Amazing love how can it be, that Thou my God shouldest die for me!

  1. They are the subjects of His prayers – John 17:9,15,20 - "Behold me, my Father, your co-equal Son! You know how I emptied myself, took upon myself the form of a bondslave, and am about to become obedient to you, even to the point of death on the cross. I pray for them! Father, I know the delight that you have in the people you have given me, the desire that you may be to them a Father and they me be to you sons. You have given them to me to be washed from their filthy sins, clothed from their nakedness, gathered from their wanderings, instructed from their ignorance. I know that their salvation shall redound to your glory and honor and fill Heaven and earth with Thy praise. I pray for them!

“I pray for their safety, - keep them through thine own name. I pray for their security. May they know they are mine and thus Thine as well. I pray for their unity, make them one in the Spirit. I pray for their victory, bring them from where they are on earth to where we are in Heaven that they may behold my glory! I pray for them!”

  1. They are the projects of His mission - King Jesus came to this earth on a designated redemptive mission. His assignment was based upon the terms of the everlasting covenant which the Father purposed, and the Son agreed to purchase (Hebrews 13:20). He came with a distinguishing love in order to provide a definite atonement. He became the Surety (which means the bondsman) of the covenant for all those named in that agreement. He became the substitute, the Redeemer, the Savior of His people.

The gospel that the scriptures heralds is a positive redemption, not just a possible one; a certain redemption and not a contingent one. The New Testament reveals that Christ gave himself for His people (Matt. 1:21), for His friends (Jn. 15:13), for His sheep (Jn. 10:15), for His church (Eph. 5:23-26), for many (Mk. 10:45), for us (Titus 2:14), for a great multitude that no man can number (Rev. 7:9).

When the gift is fully, finally packaged, so that not one person is missing, Jesus will open His gift for the whole universe to see!

The 7th chapter of the book of Revelation reveals numerous final aspects of the Father’s gift to His Son. We see that it involves a people that are:

  1. universally congregated – Revelation 7:9a; 5:9
  2. effectually called - Revelation 7:10
  3. thoroughly cleansed - Revelation 7:14
  4. gloriously covered - Revelation 7:14,15
  5. ultimately and gladly conquered - Revelation 7:9a – Spurgeon would have us remember the power of the cross for the conversion of sinners: "Do not say of any man that he cannot be saved. Do not say of any district that it is too sunken to be redeemed. Believe in Christ crucified, and preach boldly in His name, and you shall see great things and gladsome things. Do not doubt the ultimate triumph of Christianity. The cross must conquer; it must blossom with a crown commensurate with the person of the Crucified, and the bitterness of His agony. His reward shall parallel His sorrows. Trust in God, and lift your banner high, and now with psalms and songs advance to battle, for the Lord of Hosts is with us, the Son of the Highest leads our van. Onward with blast of silver trumpet and shout of those who seize the spoil. Let no man's heart fail him! Christ hath died! Atonement is complete! God is satisfied! Peace is proclaimed! Heaven glitters with proofs of mercy already bestowed upon ten thousand times ten thousand! Hell is trembling, Heaven adoring, earth waiting. Advance, ye saints to certain victory! You shall overcome through the blood of the Lamb!"
  6. officially commissioned – Revelation 5:10
  7. tenderly cared for - Revelation 7:16,17

God is the greatest of all givers.  “For God so loved the world that He gave….”  God’s gifts proceed from the greatest of all virtues, love.  “Every good and perfect gift comes from above.”  Salvation in Christ is the greatest of all His gifts. This salvation is God’s greatest deed because it solves man’s greatest need. This gift of salvation is so great that no other gift can compare with it. And finally, this gift is only appreciated by the person who has a proper relationship with the Giver. 

Although God’s gift of salvation is in Christ alone, faith is the hand that receives it. Have you received the gift of eternal life in Christ? If so, you can sing with meaning the words of the hymnwriter: "Joy to the world the Lord is come; Let earth receive her King”, because you have, by faith alone, received, believed, trusted, given allegiance, to Christ alone.

Truly this is the only Gift that keeps on giving and giving unto the ages of the ages!

Write a Comment

Comments for this post have been disabled.