How to Know the Father and Jesus — John 17:1-8

I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do (John 17:4).

When Jesus prayed aloud to His Father, His disciples learned that Jesus glorified His Father by finishing everything His Father sent Him to do. His Father had sent Him “so that everyone who believes in him [Jesus] may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16). In John 17:3, Jesus defined eternal life saying, “This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” By Jesus’ loving and caring ways, by His power to meet every human need, and by His teaching the word of God, His disciples came to know the Father and the Son. By describing His disciples’ responses to Him, Jesus’ prayer teaches people how they can know whether they know the Father and Jesus or not. First, the same as Jesus’ first disciples, today Jesus’ disciples know that everything Jesus had, including His disciples, were given to Him by His Father. Second, they know that the very words Jesus spoke were His Father’s word [message or teaching]. Third, the same as Jesus’ first disciples, today Jesus’ disciples receive Jesus’ words. They know and believe “in truth” that His Father sent Jesus into the world. Fourth, Jesus’ first disciples and today’s disciples keep [obey] the word of God, the words the Father gave Jesus to give to His disciples (see John 17:1-8). In John 14:15, Jesus taught, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” In 1 John 2:3, John explained, “Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments.” Today, Jesus’ disciples still glorify God by finishing the work He gives them.

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by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.