There’s a whole lot of givin’ going on in John 17. I should never cease to be amazed, as I read this chapter, that I get to eavesdrop on the Son as He communes with the Father. I should consider it great privilege to have revealed to me the heart of the Shepherd for His sheep. And, in the midst of Christ’s great intercessory prayer, I notice He talks a lot about giving.
The Father is a giver. He has given the Son authority over all flesh. And, He has given His Beloved a work to do. The Son, in turn, has given His followers the word, which, by the way, was also given to the Him by the Father. But what’s hit the “wonder button” for me this morning is a reminder of the unfathomable grace that declares me “Given,” as well.
I have manifested Your name to the people whom You gave Me out of the world. Yours they were, and You gave them to me, and they have kept Your word. . . . I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. (John 17:6, 9 ESV)
If I’ve counted right, seven times in Jesus’ prayer, He refers to those who would receive the word, know the truth, and believe in the Son (v.8), as those who the Father has given to Him. And thus, by extension, I am given, as well.
What does that even mean? That the Father has given me to the Son? How deep is the mystery of God’s grace that He would determine to gift to His Son those who were once dead in trespass and sin? What wonder that the Son would consider it such joy to receive those who were once enemies so that He might, in turn, give them eternal life? How much would the Son desire such “gifts,” that He would, for the joy set before Him (Heb. 12:2), gladly submit to the Father’s will and become the atoning sacrifice that would make possible their redemption, their regeneration, and their eternal reconciliation?
We’re entering the season of gift giving. And many of us in the Kingdom are on high alert, doing our best to ensure that the joy we have in giving — and, let’s be honest, in getting — doesn’t obscure our focus on God’s gift to us in His Son. But what will it do to our season joy if we also add the dimension of remembering that we also have been gifted to Another?
Given, that we might have eternal life, to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent (v.2-3). Given, that the Son might manifest the Name of the Father (v. 6) to those who now have ears to hear and eyes to see. Given, that we might be one even as Father and Son are one (v. 11). Given, that we might partake in the glory bestowed upon the Son (v. 22). Given, that one day we might be with the ascended Son of God beholding His glory, face to face, the glory given Him because of God’s love for Him before the foundation of the world (v. 24).
O’, what is it to be given? Not because of who I am, but because of who You are . . . not because of what I’ve done, but because of all You have accomplished through the cross.
Given . . . what jaw-dropping grace!
To Him be all glory . . .