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Sermon Notes

of the Manhattan Church of Christ

Flower

This is Eternal Life

John 17:1-8

Jesus Takes His Disciples into Prayer

Jesus began the evening washing the disciples’ feet. He has led them through profound spiritual preparation for what was coming – many images: new command; my father’s house, the coming Advocate, God at home in you, vine and branches, a dangerous world, sorrow and joy, pain of childbirth.

Now he lets them enter with him into prayer – the inner sanctum of his life with the Father. Inside the meaning of the whole story they are part of, the depth, mystery and wonder of what is being accomplished in what will unfold.

Glory and the Cross

The “hour” has come – consummation: death/victory over death; shame/glory; total vulnerability/complete authority; exalted/lifted up on a cross; injustice and violence/overflowing love. “Glorify your Son” means “lead me to the cross.”

“Glory” carries the Hebrew sense of kavodh – weight, true reality, full significance.
The self-giving love of Jesus as he gives himself for us on the cross is the most direct window into the heart/true reality/glory of God possible on earth.
To learn to see the reality of the cross is to change your vision of the world.

“This is Eternal Life”

The powerless Jesus has “authority over all people” not as a tyrant but to give eternal life to all who believe him.  We do not have eternal life in ourselves.

Eternal life is not just extended survival, living on and on. It is not life after death. It is God’s own divine life. Jesus can give it because he unites God and humanity. It is his own life – his Glory/reality before the world began. His divine reality makes it possible for him through death to break the grip of death and bring the resurrection reality of God’s new creation into the present. By the presence of the Holy Spirit it becomes our true life before death, life not subject to death.

Knowing God

Jesus defines “eternal life” as a relationship – Knowing You, the only, true God. Knowing about God is only a beginning. This is entering a relationship of trust with God – seen in the face of Jesus the Messiah – at the center of life. No other God. Everything else has its value and place in the light of the reality of God.

Nothing here is mechanical/magical. Personal knowledge can’t be faked with God. In Jesus God does everything to make this relationship possible. We receive.

Hope for Disciples

In spite of the misunderstanding and failures of the disciples, Jesus sees their obedience, knowledge, faith. God understands where we are and knows what we can become. He is more generous with us as we seek him than we can imagine.

We begin, receive grace. In Jesus God gives everything we need – eternal life.

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