The Plan of Redemption, John 17:1-3
Thesis: The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.
It is obvious, self-evident, and a sad reality, that we live in a world marked by sin. We see it all around us. It is present all day. We see it on the news. We hear about it in our neighborhoods. We all know by our very consciences that things are wrong when we see them. They don’t measure up to what is good and right. Examples range from strife in the state, in politics, in families, among friendships, between ideologies, nations at war, criminals on loose, rampant evils of drugs, pornography, and various forms of adultery. This is just the tip of the iceberg. This is the start of the List.
All of this confirms what the apostle Paul taught; being left to our own devices, we fall into progressively more grotesque sin. Left to our own “depraved minds” we become “inventers of evil.” (Rom 1:28-32). That means, we are creative evildoers.
Main Question: In light of this reality, there is a universally urgent questions we all have. Does God have a plan?
Does he have a plan for the world, some grander scheme, a purpose, a rescue plan, an exit strategy? Preferably, one other than what Paul concluded: The wages of sin is death! He means, what we earn by sin is death. Like Adam and Eve, “Eat of this tree and get death!”
[bringing this home] In the quiet of your own heart, mind, and private thoughts, Q: do you ask, “Does God save? Where do we go when we die? Is there a way out of the impending death and darkness which we face? A way out of this desparate estate? A God who is out there? A savior? A rescuer? Does God have a plan for all of this?” Especially since, “I am so sinful. I try to outweigh my sin with good, but can’t. I know my heart, my thoughts, my internal processes, and it is so bad, so sick, so twisted at times.” Which leads to asking, “If there were a saving God, could he even help me?”
Q: Does God have a plan? This prayer of Jesus reveals God’s plan of salvation!
Context: In John 16:26-28 Jesus told his disciples that He was there mediator, representative before God the Father. He is the high preist who acts on their behalf. So, we pray in his name, i.e. in light of his office as high priest. He taught them this because they were about to see him die on the cross. He did not want the o misread this as a victory for sin, but His victory over sin. And then, he prayed for them in John 17.
Evidence: When he prayed he did so in a strange way. 1, “He lifted his eyes” as if he was speaking in the presence of the Father, right there in front of him. It is as if he was on earth, but was seeing a vision of the Father. Like Saint Steven, when he was preaching in Acts 7, saw Jesus in a vision! “I see Jesus sitting on the throne.”
Also, he prayed in present and perfect tenses (i.e. already completed in the past) about things that have not yet happened, v. 11a “I am no longer in the world”- i.e. on earth. 12a, “While I was with them.” v. 22, “The glory you have given me, I have given them…”
He also spoke about himself in the third person, 2 “Jesus Christ whom thou has sent!” It is like Jesus is not on earth. He is present in the state of glory in heaven.
This is the design of this prayer. Jesus made a specific point by doing this.
Notice, v.1. “The Hour has come…” which means that this is the appointed hour which God set from all eternity. The Prophets looked forward to it (5, 24), we look back to it. The time came when God would save. He would, in space and time, accomplish his plan! The clock was ticking ever since the sin of Adam and Eve, when the savior would come!
1) Jesus Gave a Glimpse of God’s Eternal Plan for Salvation!
He pulled back the veil. He lifts the cover and reveals: Yes, God has plan. God has had a plan for all eternity (5, 24). The sin we see in this world, the sin in our hearts, and the wages of sin, God nailed to the cross of Jesus!
App: Since, Jesus reveled that God has a plan of salvation for his people; we need to know it and trust it. We need to cling to it for dear life!
Need: many excuses come up: like, “I am just too busy right now. Life is crazy. I have got too much on my plate, and really cannot think about this right now.” But, what could possibly be more important than your eternal destination? What could be more important that the cold hard fact, “the wages of sin is death.” There is no greater and deeper need. There is not more urgent need than this! There is no higher priority.
Others say, “Why don’t we just leave that stuff to the theologians? I just know Jesus and him crucified!” First, If Jesus gave us the glimpse into these things, it makes sense that he wants us to understand them. Second, if you don’t use your mind to learn the truth God sets forth, if you check your mind out because you think you’ve got it all figured, then you are all but doomed to get things wrong. And these are not the sort of things you want to get wrong! They have everlasting significance. They matter for you, for what you tell your children, for what you tell you spouse, for how you approach death.
These things are too important to ignore, or excuse.
Therefore, we will be marching through John 17 in order to learn what Jesus reveals about God’s plan for salvation. My goals are that you would know the text, the theological terms we use to describe it, and most of all that you have it in your heart as your very own salvation, your comfort in this life, death, and the everlasting world to come.
Q: What is God’s plan for Salvation?
Notice, in v.1 he prays, “Father, Glorify thy son” which means he is asking for the final state of resurrection and glory. Glory means recognition of due praise for something meritorious. Something great deserves glory. But Jesus is asking for God the father to recognize how great he is.
This is the doctrine of glorification. Jesus is asking his father, “Glorify me.” He is praying for his eternal state to come about. We talk about glorification for Christians as the resurrection, when God the father recognizes those in Jesus and glorifies us with him. That is the day of glory!
Further notice, v.2, “As/since you gave me dominion/authority over all flesh.” This hearkens back to the Creation of Adam, when God commanded, “Have dominion over [all flesh]…” (Gen 1:27-28). His reason here is that he had been given rule, charge over all flesh, and thus was the rightful ruler of it all, like Adam. Jesus acts like the second Adam. He is responsible for the new creation! He accomplished God’s command, and God gave him rule!
Q: Why pray for glory? Because he earned it! Notice that he says his purpose was to “Glorify the Father” (1c), In Phil 2:7-11! Paul said that because of Jesus’ work in the flesh, the Father was raised him up and he glorified the Father. Jesus did something none of us can, He earned his glory! Here he prayed for the glory due to him for his work having accomplished God’s plan (4-5, 24).
What was God’s plan?
2)God’s Plan from All Eternity Is to Glorify Jesus!
Doxology: This pulls back the curtain. Here is God’s plan. Here is the interpretation of the OT in a nutshell. God planned to glorify the Son and so saved, and so be glorified. Here is the rescuer. Here is the savior! Here is the king of the new creation, who enraptured in prayer speaks in light of that glory he would soon enter! Who said to the thief next to him on the cross, “Today you will be in paradise with me.” Who suffered and died because he was so certain, so deliberate, so focused on that eternal plan God had—He must accomplish salvation! He must do it. He then will enter his glory! He enters into this state of prayer that tells us he and the Father, from all eternity, planned to save, planned for him to come in the flesh, planned for him to die and rise again!
Segue: Immediately, though, the question comes up: Why is it so important that God glorified Jesus? Why is it so important that God gave Jesus his reward? Hid due glory?
[The reward of sin is death, but the reward of Jesus’ work was eternal life. Thus Salvation is a free gift, but it was earned at the cost of the death of the son of God!!!]
Consider the purpose clauses in 2b, and 3. He says, “that… I may give [those you gave to me] eternal life.” (2b), and the way of applying “eternal life” through knowing the true God in the Gospel, i.e. the true God sent the son to reconcile you to himself. Knowing this grasps hold of eternal life. So he told the content and the way of getting eternal life. He states his purpose in this prayer. He says “Glorify me because as a result I may give eternal Life to the elect.”
Notice that there are three parties in the Covenant: Lord (Father), Son (Jesus), and those the Father gave to the Son (the elect). If the Son does the Father’s command and is glorified, then he gives that glory to the Son’s elect! Let me put this in context. This is the same kind of relationship we all have to Adam. He was the representative for the whole human race before God. He broke the command. As a result all mankind was plunged into sin, misery, death, and calamity. The “wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). Adam earned the wages of sin for us, death. But Jesus, he earned eternal life. Thus, “the gift of God in Jesus is eternal life!” (Rom 6:23b).
This is precisely what Paul taught in 1Cor 15:20-22, the first Adam earned death, the last Adam earned life. Now the Lord Jesus is characterized today in the office of “Life Giving Spirit!” (v. 45). This means he is in the immortal state, giving eternal-life to his people!
Here is the point, the reason why it is so important that God glorifies Jesus!
3) Jesus Gives us his Glory!
App: Our sensitivity is that we cannot get something for nothing, even salvation. The Bible could not agree more. That is why Jesus did this on our behalf. He had to enter his glory for us to join him!
App: His state purpose in this passage is that “they would know the true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” The result of this is gaining glory!
Turn over to John 11:22-27, Martha came to Jesus when her brother died, and he comforted her, “He will rise.” She affirms it. Then Jesus says something striking, “I am the resurrection and the life!” Jesus call you to faith today! By this faith he says we gain eternal life, “This is eternal life, that they know you, the Only true God… and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (17:3).
Some say, “my sin is to great, I know I’m destined for death and hell.” The Bible says, “Our savior is greater, and he gives eternal life because he bought it with his own blood on the cross!”
Does God have a plan? Can he rescue? Can he save? Yes! The Wages of Sin is death, but the Gift of God in Jesus Christ is Eternal Life!