God Values Us
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 17:6a (Holman) “I have revealed Your name to the men You gave Me from the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me . . .”
By revealing God to the disciples, Jesus fulfilled the trust His father had placed in Him. We are in safe keeping when we belong to Jesus. God has committed us to Him for our care, as sheep to the shepherd for watching; as a patient to a physician for healing; as a child to a teacher for learning. These are precious thoughts for believers.
Our text also sounds a somber note. Since people belong to God, they are accountable to Him. Daniel Webster, asked what was the greatest thought he had ever entertained, answered, “That man is responsible to his Maker.”
People need to be told they will someday give an account to God. God owns each of us. God has every right to claim us because He created us. We owe Him our allegiance. Human lostness is rebellion against Heaven.
A creator has the right to determine the outcome of his skill and industry. People are created by God, not evolved from each other. Our lives and beings derive from God. Adam’s first breath came from God’s lungs. Our every breath is drawn from His atmosphere.
God has every right to claim us because He reigns as King. “The Lord is King forever and ever” (Psalm 10:16). He did not remove Himself from the scene after creation. The Father is not aloof. He is still vitally concerned with His creatures and oversees them. Since He is a monarch currently enthroned, He has every right to receive the loyalty of His subjects.
God can claim us because He redeemed us. Due to sin, we are all by nature criminals under a death sentence. Rebellion against our Creator-King makes us worthy of everlasting perdition, but Jesus purchased us from this penalty. “You were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish” (I Peter 1:18-19).
With His own blood, Jesus purchased us. Having paid the price for our deliverance, He deserves our allegiance.
No wonder there has to be a Hell. What else could there be for anyone who shuns the Creator, defies the King, and ignores the Redeemer?
God wants us to choose a better option. He seeks our affection and allegiance. He delights in our having a personal relationship with Him.
John 17:6b “. . . and they have kept Your word.”
Keeping God’s Word is the essence of Christian belief and behavior. It is our distinguishing characteristic, the imperative duty of God’s people. Keeping God’s Word refers to more than only reading or memorizing Scripture. It essentially carries two ideas.
One, obedience. There is no discipleship without obedience. Keeping the Word means conforming our life to His Word. Believers accept Christ as Master, making His words the law of our life. The oldest confession of Christianity is simply, “Jesus is Lord.”
As long as we desire independence, there is no discipleship. We can not be Christ-followers as long as we primarily wish to do what we like. Discipleship involves submission.
Two, keeping God’s Word entails inner acceptance, giving it the chief place in our heart. The entire intellect, heart, conscience, and will must be subjected to it. We need believers who will treasure the words of God, letting them become a part of our very make-up and fabric.
We need to absorb God’s Word to the point of radiating it. Sydney Smith once said of a man, “The commandments were written on his face.”
Love the Word. Realizing death was near, Margaret Ogilvie, mother of Sir James Barrie, asked for her Bible. She opened the Book, but her failing eyes could not make out the words. She feebly put her lips to the page and kissed it. “Will that do instead?” she asked. “It did perfectly,” someone later wrote.
John 17:7 “Now they know that all things You have given to Me are from You.”
The disciples finally discerned Jesus’ words and power were from God. They still had misconceptions, their faith was yet imperfect, but Jesus recognized their attitude toward Him was basically right.
They were weak, but beneath their inadequate apprehension lived faith and love. They were struggling, but coming, wanting to do what was right. They became living examples of Jesus’ words, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
Jesus could see what they truly wanted to be. In the seed, He saw the full blossom. Take comfort from Jesus’ generous estimate of His imperfect disciples.
In and of themselves, they had little to offer Him, but He took it and cultivated it rather than spurning it. “He will not break a bruised reed, and He will not put out a smoldering wick” (Matthew 12:20a).
If we’re struggling to stay clean, if holiness is a battle, if temptations assail, if strength is gone, fall before God with desire. If our lamp of determination flickers, He will help it gain new strength. Christ pities our weakness. “He knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).
The Lord is good. Knowing our hidden potential, He sees more in us than we see. He knows more about our deepest feelings than we ourselves know.
God sees value and worth in us. Abraham, standing before God, said, “I am but dust and ashes.” God said, “He is my friend.” The centurion said, “I am not worthy that You should come under my roof.” Jesus said, “I have not found so great faith; no, not in Israel.”
Zaccheus was the most unpopular man in Jericho, but Jesus went home with him and said, “Salvation has come to this house.” Peter once said to Christ, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.” Jesus eventually said, “Blessed are you, Simon.” The Lord loves us, dear people. Revel in it.
John 17:8a “The words You gave Me, I have given them.”
Everything we teach and believe derives validity from the fact Jesus’ words are the very words of God. On the truth of this statement stands the whole fabric of our doctrines. It is the ground of authority for the preacher, the teacher, and even the Bible itself.
In Jesus we find the finality of an authentic word. His message is the essential thing. We stress His words because he had a God-given message.
Many assert Jesus’ words are not final. When people reject Jesus’ message, they flounder. Apart from Jesus, assurance about spiritual matters is elusive.
Confident, assured words about life, death, salvation, God, Heaven, Hell, cannot be found outside Christ. Lost people are shaky in their theological thinking, to say the least. Apart from Jesus, people can at best feel relatively sure their vague ideas might possibly be somewhat accurate.
As the teachings of Christ are less revered, the spiritual foundations of Western civilization are being undermined, with no one offering a viable substitute. Assurance found in God’s word is crumbling all around us. We can recover a sense of spiritual security only if we return to the confidence that can be found in Jesus through God’s Word.
When all else is collapsing, remember Paul’s words, “God’s solid foundation stands firm” (II Timothy 2:19). There is security in the Lord. An old believer had marked many Bible promises with the letters “T” and “P”. Asked what they meant, he replied, “Tried and Proved.”
John 17:8b “They have received them and have known for certain that I came from You. They have believed that you sent Me.
Discipleship is based on the belief Jesus came from God. The believer is a person who realizes Jesus is God of very God, and enters into a personal relationship with Him.