How could you say “no”?

Today’s reading:  John 17

The setting for our assigned scripture today is the Last Supper.  Judas had departed the gathering to go get the Roman officials to arrest Jesus.  Meanwhile, Jesus was laying it all on the line, trying to prepare his disciples with everything they need to know.

It is easy for me to read this scripture today and see the full picture, so I’m quick to wonder how the disciples were confused and/or missed how everything fit together.  Then I remember.  In the midst of the events they didn’t have the “benefit of hindsight” that I have as I read this story all these years later.  In addition, the disciples were dealing with real-time emotions.  They were scared, confused, sad and timid all at the same time.  Things were happening so fast they didn’t have the luxury to stop and make sense of it all.

Today, let’s take advantage of our place in history and review Jesus’ powerful message from John 17 as a way to “hide his word in our hearts” so when we are in the midst of emotion – scared, confused, sad, timid – we can rely on him to carry us through.

  • God gave Jesus authority over all people so he could give eternal life (John 17:2).
  • Eternal life comes from knowing the one true God and his son Jesus (John 17:3).
  • Jesus came to earth to glorify God and accomplish God’s plan (John 17:4).
  • Jesus and God are one – all he has is God’s and all God has is his (John 17:10).
  • Jesus was leaving earth and returning to God (John 17:11).
  • The world does not know God, and is against followers of Jesus (John 17:14,25).
  • God’s word is truth (John 17:17).
  • God sent Jesus to the world to love people (John 17:23,26).

Jesus prayed for his followers.  Take note he was clear that his prayer was not for the world, but was specifically for those who believed in him (John 17:6-8, 20):

    • For their protection and safety (John 17:11,12).
    • That they may be “sanctified”, or set apart, by the truth (John 17:17)
    • That God would take them out of the world and protect them from the evil one (John 17:15).
    • For their unity (John 17:21-23)
    • For them to eventually be re-united with him (John 17:24).
  • Today, after meditating on this passage, I share an old song God put on my heart.  The words are convicting.  Knowing all Jesus has given for you, how could you say “no” to him?

Thorns on His head, spear in His side
yet it was a heartache that made Him cry
He gave His life so you would understand
Is there any way you could say “no” to this Man?

If Christ Himself were standing here
Face full of glory and eyes full tears
He’d hold out His arms with His nail-printed hands
Is there any way you could say “no” to this Man?

How could you look in His tear-stained eyes
Knowing it’s you He’s thinking of?
Would you tell Him you’re not ready to give Him your life?
Could you say you don’t think you need His love?

Jesus is here with His arms open wide
You can see Him with your heart
If you’ll stop looking with your eyes
He’s left it up to you, He’s done all that He can
Is there any way you could say “no” to this Man?

(Mickey Cates and Billy Sprague (1984))