One of the ways the world dismisses the teachings of the Bible is to assume that (if) God exists and (if) He created our world, He isn’t directly involved in it. Perhaps there is (some kind) of supreme being out there, but (he, she, it) just wants us all to get along and do our best to be good people. God doesn’t really have anything to do with us personally.
Those who believe lies such as these have never really examined the words of Jesus. You can’t read the gospels and come away with any other conclusion; God is very personal and very intimately concerned about each of us, individually. Of course, this belief is built on the foundational truth that Jesus is God who appeared in human flesh and the words He spoke were coming from God Himself.
If you want to know God’s heart for you, read John 17. Please read this chapter for yourself!
In my Bible, this chapter is entitled, “The High Priestly Prayer,” affirming Jesus as the sinless High Priest who was getting ready to offer Himself as the sacrifice which would atone for the sins of the world. Others refer to this as the true “Lord’s Prayer,” because Jesus is pouring out His heart to His Father.
John 14-17 covers the many important things Jesus wanted to say to His disciples before He went to the cross. As would all of us, when we’re facing death, we want to be sure we say “all the things” to the people we love. At the end of John 14, they leave the upper room and begin to walk towards the Garden of Gethsemane; as they walk through the olive trees and grapevines, Jesus teaches how to abide in Him, as the branches abide in the vine. Jesus also takes time to pray along the way. John is the only gospel writer to record these comforting words. In the last few hours before the soldiers came to arrest Him, Jesus was praying for His disciples – those gathered near Him, as well as His future disciples – you and me.
John 17:20 – I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word.
The words of Jesus’ prayer reveal so much theological truth. The fact that He is God, that He is One with the Father, that the Trinity exists (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and that when we come to faith and are “in Christ,” we are one with Him, in the same way that He is one with the Father, in perfect unity. He prays God’s heart for us, that we be sanctified in truth, the truth of His Word. He asks the Father for divine protection for His disciples, that as we are sent into the world, we will not be of the world, but protected from the evil one. Finally, He asks that the same love the Father has for Him will be experienced and known by His disciples, whom the Father also loves.
Our relationship with God is very personal to Jesus. In the last few words of His prayer, He makes a very specific request of His Father:
John 17:24 – Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory, which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
Jesus is looking forward to our meeting Him in heaven, where all His glory will be on display, just as much as we are looking forward to meeting Him! He is anticipating that moment when we are face to face, and all that we have hoped for in faith becomes sight. How much more personal could He be?
God is not an impersonal deity unconcerned with life on earth. He is sovereign over every detail, and He is working all things out for our good and His glory. Jesus came to show us just how personal God is, and He can’t wait for us to come home to His Father’s house. For those in Christ, death is simply a door that opens into eternity. We will take our last breath, step over the threshold into the glory of God and meet the One who is waiting for us.