John 17:1-5 God’s Unity in His Glory
John 17:1-5 God’s Unity in His Glory – Unity, Harmony, and Community – Part 1
In the beginning of eternity (if you could say that), there was God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit – the Trinity. They enjoyed perfect community. They reflected each other’s glory. Let me tell you something – something really amazing:
GOD NEVER HAD AN ARGUMENT
God never had an argument. God never had a disagreement with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. No conflict. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit never had conflict. In these verses in John 17, we see the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. While the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in this chapter, He is mentioned in the previous chapter and therefore we know that He exists as a member of the Divine Team.
IT TAKES JESUS TO GET TO GOD
God gave Jesus power – authority. Jesus took that power and gives it to us in the form of eternal life. Because God delegated authority to Jesus, you have to accept that authority. If you ask God for eternal life, He will say: “Talk to my Son about it. He is the One who knows all about that. He handles the Eternal Life Department.” God says: “I could give eternal life to you. But I am going to make you ask my Son. You accept Jesus and you get life. Therefore, Jesus is the only way to God.
God does not say: Go to Mohammad, or go to Buddha, or go to someone else who thinks they have eternal life. God says if you want eternal life, go talk to my Son. Ask Him and He will give you the access key.
Why does God say that? Because Jesus gives God glory when Jesus does what God asks Him to do. God says that He will not share His glory with another.
I am the LORD, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.
(Isaiah 42:8 NKJV)
He will only share it with Jesus.
God will not allow someone else to come in and try to tear the unity He has with Jesus. That’s why God says:
“You want eternal life? Then come to Jesus My Son.”
“You want unity? Get to know Jesus.”
Whatever comes through Jesus, gives Me glory, God says. God says that when you know Jesus, you will glorify Me.
DEFINITION OF GOD’S GLORY COMES FROM HIS LOVE
Let us first define the word glory. You hear it every time you say the word “doxology.” Here is the theological definition: The glory of God is the revelation and manifestation of all that God has and is. It is His Self-revelation in which God manifests all the goodness that is His. God is honored when He gives all of Himself. God is praised when He gives all of Himself. God is acknowledged as God when He gives all of Himself. This revealing of the glory of God is in all of the good that He is. The source of this good comes from His love.
DEFINITION OF GLORIFYING GOD
Now if that did not put you to sleep, here is a simpler explanation. Because God is at His foundational quality love, Jesus is said to glorify God by praising and honoring God and acknowledging God’s love in the good things He does. This is what it means to glorify God. So here is a definition:
To glorify God is to praise and honor God and acknowledge God’s love in the good things He does.
Jesus asks for God to do the same thing. He wants God to praise and honor Jesus and acknowledge Jesus’ love in the good thing He is going to do. Jesus is going to the cross to die as an act of love for GOD – so that God can step in and be with His children.
LOVE BETWEEN GOD THE FATHER AND GOD THE SON
Without the death of Christ, God cannot reach us. But with the death of Christ, God can truly love us. But the love is first between God and Christ.
Jesus looks forward to the time when He and God can continue sharing in the love and unity that They both had before Jesus came to earth. This is why He says for God to glorify Jesus with God Himself as the Father.
Jesus looks forward to the day when He is back up in heaven, hanging out with God the father, enjoying perfect community. He wants to enjoy the happy times He has had with God before He was on earth.
I don’t think that Jesus is talking about community like the way we may see it on television or the way we influenced to have community. There is a commercial that has two guys sitting around having a beer and saying: “It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Jesus and God sitting around and enjoying one another is much more. They have been praising, honoring, and acknowledging each other’s love (along with the Holy Spirit) for a long time – actually longer than time in fact.
Is God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit sitting around having a beer watching the angels play football? No, I don’t think so. I think they are doing something better. I think that this is a primitive comparison. It is like trying to draw the murals of the Sistine Chapel with a crayon on a piece of paper. We are not masters at this art of unity, harmony, and community. We are just school children learning from the Master.
SINGING AMAZING GRACE IN UNISON AND HARMONY
Now if you are trying to picture the community and unity of God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and you can’t grasp it – well, I don’t have a complete answer. But I do have an illustration that may help.
I could sing a song. I could have all of you sing it with just my voice. It would be like having 100 people like me singing the same song the same way. That would be nice. But it could be better.
Let us all try to sing together in unison. We will sing the song Amazing Grace – a famous hymn, but we will just sing the melody. Let us all sing the same notes the same way. This is when we sing together.
Now, let’s sing it with parts – tenor, bass, alto, and soprano. Let’s sing it in harmony. Which one sounds better to you? Why does it sound better to sing in harmony? Because you are putting your own personal voice. With the tune that you are enjoying with others.
No one can sing it exactly the same way. But it sounds much better in harmony, why? Because we are united, but at the same time we are sharing our diversity.We are united with the same song. We are diverse in our contribution to that song. We are sharing community in that song.
UNITY AND HARMONY IN THE TRINITY
God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are united in the same Trinity relationship. They are all part of the triune Godhead. They are One God with Three personalities.
They are diverse in their each separate contribution to that relationship of divinity. They are sharing full community in that relationship. They will enjoy doing that forever. They give us an example to live as Christians. We should be praising, honoring God and acknowledging His love for us.
GOD IS AN EXCLUSIVE GOD
We should be more united in the God that we believe as Christians. We don’t believe in just any god. We don’t believe in a God that is representative of every god in all religions. We can’t group God with other deities in the world’s beliefs. We can’t say that the God of a Muslim is the same as the God of a Christian. Our God is exclusive in that sense. He is separate and unique. We believe in a God who sent His Son Jesus Christ to the earth to save us.
That is why we don’t have much in common when it comes to the word God when it is spoken by Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, and every other religion. Our God is unique and the only way to Him is through Jesus Christ. Jesus is our point of unity as Christians. But Jesus will separate us from other religions.
MY CONTRIBUTION TO GOD SHOULD BE UNIQUE
We should be diverse in the contribution to the God we believe in. Every Christian should serve God. We have different gifts, talents, abilities, treasures, and passions. We come from different backgrounds, different nations and different families. So our contribution will be unique.
We should be sharing community for the God we believe in. You are not alone. You are not meant to be alone. You were hard-wired for communion, community, fellowship, and friendship with other Christians. You can’t do everything alone and you weren’t supposed to. Jesus didn’t raise Himself from the grave of death. He had help from His Father. You need help too.
God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit represent a perfect family. You can share in a church family here at IBC Bremen. We have house groups where you can begin to go from drawing with crayons to painting Sistine chapels in the art form of getting to know God. God wants every person to praise and honor God, and acknowledge His love in the good things He will do for you.