John 17:2 Power Over All Flesh 2/27/2011 ßą
#1. The Father Answered His Son (John 17:2, 2Cor 4:17, John 5:44, 12:28, Isa 53:5)
#2. The Son Should Give Eternal Life (John 17:2, John 3:15, 6:54, 10:28, 1Tim 6:12, 1John 5:11,13)
#3. Who Are These Lucky Ones? (Num 23:21, Jer 31:3, Rom 9:13, 4:8,25)
Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to John, John 17:1 (2X). We have here truly the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord Jesus was praying to His heavenly Father. To whom was this prayer addressed? It was addressed to His heavenly Father. This is not a piece of Scripture to make us feel good. This is not a piece of Scripture to incite us to doing good works for one another, or to give us directions to love one another. This is not a piece of Scripture to guide us in our horizontal relationships. But this is Scripture filled with doctrine, very deep doctrine reaching into the heart of God; doctrine that God loves to give us so that we get to know Him, and get to know the Lord Jesus Christ. And for this reason it is also intensely practical, for being able to distinguish between the true God and the idols of the world is intensely practical. The sermon topic is taken from John 17:2, “As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh”. That is why this sermon is titled, “Power Over All Flesh” (2X). It is the purpose of this Lord’s Prayer to get to know who the God of the Bible is, so that we will not stray into another gospel and pray to another god, so that we do not bark up the wrong tree and be condemned. God wants us to know Him personally, like the Lord Jesus knew the Father personally. Let us then read the first ten verses, John 17:1-10,
Joh 17:1-10 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
Let us now realize that these words are written in earthly language, because we cannot fully understand what truly was spoken by the Lord Jesus, for we cannot understand heavenly language. For example, we read in verse 1 that the Lord Jesus lifted up His eyes to heaven. Where is heaven? You might say, “Heaven is up there”. But we all know that this earth is a round sphere, and when you point to heaven above, to the people on the other side of the earth it seems that you are pointing to heaven below. This is not logical, and this is not what God had in mind when He dictated these words to the apostle John. In other words, heaven is really all around us, and the spirits in heaven are able to see everything on this earth as if it was flat. And so, let us not get tangled up into the three dimensions that we humans live in. We must get to know the Lord Jesus, and we must get to know who God is.
When the Lord Jesus said, “Father, glorify Thy Son”, do we understand what the Lord Jesus was saying? He was asking the Father to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, as if the Lord Jesus was not glorified already. What was He really asking for? Was He asking the Father to nail Him to the cross? Yes, but that is not the whole story. He was asking the Father to give Him the power to atone for all the sins of all those whom the Father had given Him. He was asking the Father that the work He was going to do in paying for the sins of His elect would truly be to the full satisfaction of the righteousness of God. And only God could give the man Christ Jesus that power, for this full payment would be equivalent to an eternity in Hell. Look at the historical facts: Even Satan did not believe that the Lord Jesus could make a payment that was so great. Satan entered into Judas Iscariot to deliver the Lord Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees. If Satan believed that the Lord Jesus could pay the ransom by simply dying on the cross, would Satan be eager to have the Lord Jesus be captured and sent to the cross? Would Satan be eager to accelerate his own condemnation? Absolutely not! But Satan knew that simply dying on a cross would accomplish nothing. Satan knew that the righteousness of God demanded that the full payment for our sins would require the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, and Satan knew that this full payment would have to be endured by a man; and this, he was convinced, the Lord Jesus could not pay in His human nature. That is why he went to indwell Judas.
And so, when the Lord Jesus said, “Father, glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may also glorify Thee”, the Lord Jesus focused on the particular mode of glorifying the Father on which His heart was set, and the aspect of the glorification of Himself which He here prays for; that is “to have power over all flesh, and to give eternal life to as many as the Father had given Him”. And thus we see that Christ prayed to be “glorified” not for His own sake, but for our sake and that the Father might be glorified in our salvation.
#1. The Father Answered His Son (John 17:2, 2Cor 4:17, John 5:44, 12:28, Isa 53:5)
John 17:2, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
And how did the Father answer this request of the Lord Jesus? We read that an angel was sent to strengthen Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. We read that God the Holy Spirit worked in the heart of Pontius Pilate, for he said repeatedly, “I find no fault in Him”. We read that God the Father drew Barabbas, a murderer, to the Lord Jesus when he heard that the Lord Jesus took his place on the cross. We read that God the Father drew Simon of Cyrene, who was just passing by, to meet the Lord Jesus when he was compelled to help carry His cross. We read that God the Father drew the dying thief to the Savior while He was hanging on the cross, and made him plead for mercy. We read that the veil of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom, as if the finger of God tore it in two. We read that darkness enveloped the whole earth for a period of three hours, as a time of sadness in heaven for the Savior who suffered the torments of the equivalent of an eternity in Hell in His soul. We read that the earth did quake so fierce that the rocks were rent. We read that God the Holy Spirit worked a confession from the heart of the centurion who stood guard at the cross when he said, “Truly, this was the Son of God”. We read that after His resurrection many graves of the saints were opened and their bodies arose and they went into the holy city, the New Jerusalem in heaven, and rejoiced that their Savior had finished His atonement for their sins.
There is much for us to learn in this prayer of the Lord Jesus. First, let us mark the connection: “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son”. The hour of My suffering has arrived; let Me focus My thoughts not on the painful suffering but on the future glory. And we should also take that to heart. We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen (2Cor 4:17), and we put our hopes on the future glory, rather than on the discomforts we feel in the present vale of tears. This is how we can endure the present sufferings. Secondly, look at what Christ sought: not to be glorified by men, or to be honored by the world, but to be glorified by the Father. This should also be our desire. The Lord Jesus said in John 5:44, “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” If we claim to be saints, then in all our works we will seek the praise of God more than the praise of men. If our preaching does not draw men to this church, then let us be clear that we are not preaching to please men, but we aim to please God. Thirdly, note that the Lord Jesus asked for that which He knew would be given Him. The Father said in John 12:28, “I have both glorified, and will glorify again.” If we ask anything that glorifies the Father, we shall have what we ask for, for that is according to His will. If we ask for wisdom in our study of the Bible, we shall have what we asked for.
Will the Father withhold anything from His children whom He loves? Whom does the Father love most? The Father loves His only begotten Son most of all. He loves the Lord Jesus more than anyone else. Let us understand what that love means. The Father caused Christ to be whipped by cruel Roman whips. And why? So that by His stripes we are healed (Isa 53:5). The Father caused Christ to wear a crown of thorns. The Father caused Christ to be nailed to a cruel cross. That was totally undeserved for a man who came to do nothing but good to a world of sinners. He made the Lord Jesus Christ suffer the wages of sin, which was the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. That also was totally undeserved for a man who was given the honor to be the Judge of all mankind, who should receive honor for handing out the penalties, rather than paying for those penalties. And yet He did pay for those penalties, and this was all arranged by God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Is this the love of God for His only begotten Son? Yes! It is the love of God for His only begotten Son in giving Him a gift of the highest glory. What is this gift? It is the gift of a glorious temple of God; a temple made without hands; a temple consisting of the souls of individuals who need salvation, because they are sinners of the worst kind. If Christ would build a temple made from angels, that would already be a glorious temple. If Christ would build a temple from the souls of good people, that would certainly be a very glorious undertaking. But if Christ would build a temple from the scum of this earth, from people who were on the way to Hell for sure, from people who hated God since they were born, from people who were responsible for murdering the Son of God, now that would certainly be a very glorious result. And this is what He has done. These were the people whom the Father gave to the Son to be His bride after He has cleansed them. For certainly, He first has to cleanse them from all their sins before they would be worth anything in the eyes of God. But now the righteousness of God enters the picture, for the righteousness of God as the Judge requires that the vicarious payment for sin by Christ has to be equivalent to the payment that the sinners have to pay if they had to pay it themselves. And thus, only the payment of the equivalent of an eternity in Hell would be a payment in full for the sins that the Lord Jesus has to pay. But since we humans cannot comprehend infinity, nor can we perform calculations with infinity, we must leave it up to God to judge if the payment Christ made from Thursday evening in the Garden of Gethsemane until Friday at about 3 O’clock in the afternoon, on April 3 in the year AD 33, was sufficient to satisfy the righteousness of God. But since God raised Him from the dead two days later, it is absolutely certain that Christ made the payment for our sins in full, to the complete satisfaction of the justness and righteousness of God. And for this we have to give Him thanks forever.
Please turn to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 28:18 (2X). Did the Lord Jesus receive this power over all flesh, as He requested it on Thursday evening? Indeed He did after His resurrection. We read in Matt 28:18,
Mt 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
This means that the Son of God, the person who is the union of the Divine nature of the God the Son and the human nature of the man Christ Jesus, this person whose hands and feet were pierced by nails, was elevated to be the King of kings and Lord of lords of heaven and earth. Now, after His resurrection, He did receive power over all flesh as He requested in John 17:2. And what does it mean when we read the words “all flesh”? Does it mean the flesh that we carry in our bodies and the flesh of animals? But that would exclude plants, and bugs, and bacteria, and certain sea creatures. And so, we realize that this is the wrong interpretation. When the Lord Jesus Christ was made King of kings and Lord of lords He certainly ruled over our souls also. And thus we can say that the words “all flesh” must refer to all living beings that God has made. And since He has been made Lord of heaven and earth, we can say that He is also Lord over all inanimate objects, such as rocks and rivers and continents and oceans. But let us now get a good grip on the words “all flesh”. We now understand it to mean “all the souls of men”, both the living and the dead, for all the souls in heaven are now also under the authority of Christ. In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 3, John the Baptist was quoting from Isa 40:4-5, and there we read,
Lu 3:5-6 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God (2X).
These words refer to the end of time when Christ shall come the second time to judge the living and the dead. Then the words, “all flesh shall see the salvation of God” refer to the fact that every eye shall see Him when He comes. This is an undeniable fact of Scripture that all people shall see Him. And we may not spiritualize this fact, like the man on the radio does, to fit it into his heretical theology. Please turn now to the 24th chapter of the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 24:22 (2X). This is a most terrifying verse. I have discussed this before. This is the last time I am going to bring this up. The Lord Jesus is speaking about the length of the Final Tribulation Period. From other passages in the Bible we know that this is a period of time where there is relative calm throughout the world. People are buying and selling, and are eating and drinking, and are marrying and giving in marriage; it is just business as usual in the world shortly before the Lord comes to judge the world. It is not a period of great bloodletting. It is not a period of physical persecution. Physical persecution has always been the seed for the true church. No, it is a period when the saints are going to be reduced, but not by persecution. This time it is going to be different. It is not a period of tribulation for the unsaved in the world, but it is a period of great tribulation for the saints, for the saints are able to see the great apostacy in the churches, and the saints are able to see abominations all around them. But to the unsaved all is well, for they have been so accustomed to sin that they will not recognize that the churches have gone astray, and that Babylon has overrun the church. We read in Matt 24:22,
Mt 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
We saw the meaning of the words “all flesh”, meaning all people. Here we see the words “no flesh”, which means: “No, Not One”. Look at the words, “no flesh be saved”. What does this mean? What kind of saving does God have in view? One meaning of the word “saved” means physically saving your life. But this is not in view, since during the Final Tribulation Period it will be business as usual, and there will be a relative calm in the world. In fact Satan will not be fighting the church, but he will have joined the church, so that people are led astray by false gospels preached from pulpits that they trusted in. For example, Rev 13:7-8 speaks about this as a certainty. And thus when the Lord Jesus speaks about “no flesh be saved”, He speaks about the fact that “no people will be saved from going to Hell.” There would be no saints living, if those days will not be shortened. And the word “shortened” does not refer to making the days shorter than 24 hours, but to the length of the Final Tribulation Period. But for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. For the sake of having some of the elect alive when Christ returns, the Final Tribulation Period will be shortened. In other words, the Lord warns us here that the number of saved people will gradually diminish. But before they will be totally extinct the Lord will return.
Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Genesis, Gen 6:1 (2X). And so, what would be the mechanism whereby the number of saints dwindles away? Is there not for every generation a next generation which takes their place? God’s answer is a frightening “NO!” When the end of time approaches the next generation will fall away, so that the dying saints will not be replaced. We can only speculate how the next generation will fall away, but most likely it will be through marriage, like in Gen 6:1-3, and there we read,
Ge 6:1-3 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
Then, after 120 years, God destroyed the earth with a flood. The trigger was the business of being unequally yoked. And this is the warning that the Lord Jesus gave in Matt 24:22. Does this then mean that no one of our children would be saved? NO; for the words, “for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” also include a promise of mercy for those who have not yet fallen away. Those words may include elect children, for those words can carry a promise of mercy for children living at that time. Please turn again to John 17:2 (2X).
#2. The Son Should Give Eternal Life (John 17:2, John 3:15, 6:54, 10:28, 1Tim 6:12, 1John 5:11,13)
John 17:2, “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” What is the meaning of “eternal life”? Eternal life means life forever; once you have received it, no one can take it away from you. The Roman Catholic heresy is that eternal life begins only after you die. Is that really so? Let us ask God to give us understanding of this concept. We read in the Bible the following six verses,
Joh 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life (Present tense).
Joh 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Joh 10:28 And I give (Present tense) unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (While living on this earth they shall not lose their gift of eternal life.)
1Ti 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, (Lay hold on it.)
1Jo 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (Past tense.)
1Jo 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (You have presently eternal life.)
This is just a small fraction of the verses that pertain to this question. And so, what is the conclusion after reading these six verses? God says, “Eternal life begins now!” It is not some vague promise for life after death, but if we have not received it in this life, we will never receive it. When we experience the new birth by God the Holy Spirit that is the moment we received eternal life. That is the moment we have been given faith unto salvation by the grace of God. That is the moment God the Holy Spirit regenerated our soul and applied to it the cleansing power of the atonement of Christ, and made it a dwelling place for the Father and the Spirit of Christ. But that is not the moment that God has given us the promise of a future life in the NH&NE, for that promise was already given to us at the time that the Father chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. There are three points in time that we should know about. #1. Before the foundation of the world the Father chose us and placed our names in the mind of God the Son, and justified us from eternity past. #2. On April 3, in the year AD 33, the Lord Jesus Christ atoned for the guilt of our sins on the cross of Calvary and justified us at His resurrection. #3. On a certain day in the 20th or 21st century AD God the Holy Spirit took away our sins, and justified us completely, and gave us faith. From here on down we live as a child of God since we have died with Christ, and we now live a new life in Him. From here on down we no longer live under the law, but under the grace of God. And then we read in John 17:2, “that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him”. What does this mean?
Please turn in your Bibles a few chapters back in the Gospel According to John, John 6:37 (2X). We already know, from Eph 1:4 that the Father has chosen and placed all the elect in Christ before the foundation of the world, and we already know from Luke 10:20 in what way we were placed in Christ before the foundation of the world, for we read in Luke 10:20, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” In other words, our names were written in the mind of God the Son. And since the Lord Jesus Christ is the incarnation of God the Son, we conclude that we were in Christ, and we continue to be in Christ from the beginning of His incarnation. Therefore Christ has borne our griefs (meaning our sin-sicknesses) and carried our sorrows from the day that He was born. From the first day of His life Christ was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isa 53:3-4). But now we read in John 6:37,
Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
Can you see that the request of the Lord Jesus in John 17:2 is a prayer which He knows for sure that it will be answered, for He is convinced of its certainty? The Lord Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me.” No if or maybe, but a definite “shall come to Me”. And why shall they come to Him? Because the Lord says in John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” The Father who chose His elect, and placed them in the mind of God the Son before the foundation of the world is instrumental in drawing those people to Christ at the time that they will be born again. And Christ shall raise them up on the last day to give them the NH&NE. The Lord repeated this message in John 6:39 (2X),
Joh 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
This verse differs slightly from verse 37, in that the personal pronoun has been changed. What is the meaning of “but should raise IT up again at the last day”? We can understand it better if we read the previous words as follows, “that of ALL which he hath given me I should lose nothing OF IT”. What does the “IT” refer to? IT refers to this world, the heritage of the heathen. Christ has been made Ruler over this world, which He bought (not redeemed but bought) and which He will take and burn with fire and will give to His elect a NH&NE in its place.
#3. Who Are These Lucky Ones? (Num 23:21, Jer 31:3, Rom 9:13, 4:8,25) Please turn to the passages shown.
Let us first of all realize that there are no lucky ones. Lady Luck exists only in the demonic world; for it is the providence of God that controls all of world history. To be pleasing to God we should clean up our language. Instead of speaking of the lucky ones we should speak of the blessed ones, for they are blessed indeed. Who are these blessed ones? They are those whom God has called blessed from eternity past. They are the elect whom the Father has chosen to be in Christ. Let us review four verses about God’s love for His elect from eternity past:
Num 23:21, “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel.”
Look at this. God has not beheld iniquity in the deceiver Jacob. God always loved him, even when he tried to deceive his brother Esau, even when he tried to deceive his blind father, and even when his sons murdered the entire city of Shechem. It means that all these actions of Jacob were in the plans of God, and God did not see iniquity in the actions of Jacob. They all bore God’s approval. They all fit in the plans of God.
Jer 31:3, “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love.”
I have loved you, Jeremiah, with an everlasting love, with a love that began in everlasting past, and I will still love you in everlasting future. Why is this so amazing? Jeremiah is not unique. Jeremiah was one of God’s elect. God says this to every one of His elect. God says this also to us here in Bellflower. It means that God also has not beheld iniquity in us, if we are one of His elect. He has not charged our sins to our account. Is this not an amazing love of God, and it began already in everlasting past.
Rom 9:13, “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
Yes, God said this before the children were born. How long before the children were born? There is no good reason to assume that God said this a few years before the children were born. No, God said this from eternity past. In eternity past God said, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” And this is in total agreement with the previous passage, Num 23:21, “God hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob.” And why not? It is because Jacob was one of God’s elect. This is how God deals with His elect. And if we are one of God’s elect, then God shows us here how much He loved us, that He was willing to have His only begotten Son pay the high price for our sins.
Rom 4:8, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
No Sin! Who is this man who is so blessed? We have already seen that Jacob and Jeremiah would fit in these molds, but the only reason for this is that Jacob and Jeremiah were of God’s elect. Every one of God’s elect would get this royal treatment. Every one of God’s elect was loved by God from eternity past, and God has watched over us and cared for us all our life as an eagle fiercely defends her young. This is why I said earlier that we were justified from eternity past. It is true that Rom 4:25 says, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification”, but that was not the beginning of our justification. We were justified from eternity past, in that the guilt of our sins was never charged to our account, because God loved us from eternity past before we were born again. This is the God whom we worship. This is the God whom we love. This is the God of the Bible.
AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.