John 17 - Was Jesus' Ministry a Success - Part 2

Last week we discussed the lens through which we are going to look at Jesus’ prayer in John 17.
·  Specifically, the lens consisted of two things.
·  (1) The prayer gives us an insight into Jesus’ heart.
·  (2) The prayer is spoken in context of a ministry that Jesus considered a success.
o   John 17:4 (ESV) — 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.

Today, we are going to finish where we left off last week with respect to number (2) above.
·  This will require that we survey aspects of Jesus’ ministry as found in John and the other Gospels.
·  Doing so last week, we saw that, from a worldly perspective, there was reason to argue that Jesus’ ministry seemed to fail at many points.

For example, given His claims about His identity
·  I am the bread of life” (6:35)
·  I am the light of the world” (8:12; 9:5)
·  I am the door” (10:7, 9)
·  I am the good shepherd” (10:11)
·  I am the resurrection and the life” (11:25)
·  I am the way, the truth, and the life” (14:6)
·  I am the true vine” (15:1)
·  …before Abraham was, I am” (8:58)

It seems reasonable to expect a much better acceptance rate by His fellow Jews.
·  However, as we explored last week, we saw quite a bit of rejection.
·  Even His own disciples had understanding deficits, and betrayed and temporarily abandoned Him.

And as we explored the tension between Jesus rejection and His characterization of His ministry as a success, we raised some questions which we need to try and answer.
·  If Jesus really was God, Creator, Ruler, Messiah and Savior, how on earth could He be rejected by so many?
·  How could He consider His ministry a success in the face of all this rejection?
·  If Jesus came to seek and save the lost why did so many of the lost reject Him?
o   Wasn’t the main reason for His incarnation to save people?

Before we get to these we have to lay some ground work as mentioned above.
·  We need to look back at Jesus’ ministry.


We have to consider if the reason for so much rejection was simply a lack of evidence.
·  Did Jesus give the Jews who rejected Him sufficient reasons to believe in Him?
·  We will look briefly at three categories of reasons to believe in Christ.
·  (1) Signs and Wonders
·  (2) Teaching
·  (3) Testimonies

(1) Jesus’ Signs and Wonders:
In John’s Gospel we see the following examples and the power they demonstrated (W.M. Dunnett):
·  Water changed into wine—Jesus’ power over quality
·  The nobleman’s son healed—Jesus’ power over distance
·  The impotent man healed—Jesus’ power over time
·  The five thousand fed—Jesus’ power over quantity
·  Walking on the water—Jesus’ power over natural law
·  The blind man healed—Jesus’ power over helplessness
·  Lazarus raised from the dead—Jesus’ power over death

Throughout the Gospels, we also see where He calmed a storm, cast out demons, withered a fig tree, cleansed lepers, and cured a paralytic.
·  All told, the Gospels record over 30 miracles for us.
·  However, as John tells us, He did many other “things” – presumably miracles – than recorded.
·  John 21:25 (ESV) — 25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

And even the Jewish historian Josephus makes the following comment:
·  “Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works—a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure” – Josephus.

(2) Jesus’ Teachings:
It is clear that Jesus’ drew large crowds because of His signs and wonders, but it is also true that the Jews recognized something in Jesus’ teaching that they had not seen before.
·  Matthew 7:28–29 (ESV) — 28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
·  Luke 4:22 (ESV) — 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
·  John 7:45–46 (ESV) — 45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!

And we know from Jesus’ own words the source of His teaching.
·  John 14:10 (ESV) — 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

And as we saw from Josephus earlier:
·  “Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works—a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure” – Josephus.

(3) Testimonies on Behalf of Jesus:
Andreas Kostenberger points out “the need for multiple witnesses” is taught “in Hebrew Scriptures” and “Jewish tradition
·  John 8:17 (ESV) — 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true.

Witness 1 – John the Baptist
·  John 5:31–35 (ESV) — 31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he [Father] bears about me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.

Witness 2 – The Father
·  John 5:36–38 (ESV) — 36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.
·  Mark 1:11 (ESV) — 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Summary of Reasons to Believe:
So did Jesus give sufficient reasons to believe in Him?
·  We have a 30+ year old man who is walking on water, turning water in to wine, healing people, teaching with authority, having a voice from heaven speaking on His behalf, interpreting and redefining the law, identifying Himself with Psalm 110:1’s “exaltation” and Daniel 7’s “son of man” and thereby making claims of divinity.
·  It seems to me the answer is clearly, yes.
·  And we didn’t even get into Jesus’ fulfillment of Messianic prophecy such as riding into Jerusalem on a colt as prophesied in Zechariah, or the coming resurrection.
·  The Jews, confronted with more than enough evidence, responded with amazement, astonishment, terror, fear, awe, wonder, opposition and hatred – but not belief.

Pascal has some great insight into what many call the hiddeness of God (Pensees – 430):
"God has willed to redeem men and to open salvation to those who seek it. But men render themselves so unworthy of it that it is right that God should refuse to some, because of their obduracy, what He grants others from a compassion which is not due to them. If He had willed to overcome the obstinacy of the most hardened, He could have done so by revealing Himself so manifestly to them that they could not have doubted of the truth of His essence; as it will appear at the last day, with such thunders and such a convulsion of nature that the dead will rise again, and the blindest will see Him. It is not in this manner that He has willed to appear in His advent of mercy, because, as so many make themselves unworthy of His mercy, He has willed to leave them in the loss of the good which they do not want.

It was not, then, right that He should appear in a manner manifestly divine, and completely capable of convincing all men; but it was also not right that He should come in so hidden a manner that He could not be known by those who should sincerely seek Him.

He has willed to make himself quite recognizable by those; and thus, willing to appear openly to those who seek Him with all their heart, and to be hidden from those who flee from Him with all their heart. He so regulates the knowledge of Himself that He has given signs of Himself, visible to those who seek Him, and not to those who seek Him not. There is enough light for those who only desire to see, and enough obscurity for those who have a contrary disposition."
So if it wasn’t a lack of evidence, why was there so much rejection?
·  Why do some “seek Him with all their heart”?
·  And, again, why did Jesus’ consider His ministry a success in the face of so much rejection?

To get at the answers to these questions, we have to now see the difference between the reasons to believe we just saw, and reasons for belief.
·  Again, this requires a look back at Jesus’ ministry.


Jesus presented more than enough evidence to demonstrate He was who He said He was.
·  But He understood, and taught, that belief is not just a response to evidence.
·  It is not just intellectual assent.
·  Luke 16:31 (ESV) — 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”
·  BTW – I have heard many an atheist debater suggest that if they witnessed Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, they would believe.
o   The Gospels tell us otherwise.
·  Belief in Jesus is at its root a supernaturally fueled event in the heart of the believer that takes place at the pleasure of the Father and is empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ view on belief:
Luke 10:22–24 (ESV) — 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” 23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
·  Jesus speaks candidly here that saving knowledge of the Father is not universally apprehended.
·  In fact, Jesus seems to believe that this knowledge is supernatural in origin.
·  We know this for two reasons.
·  (1) Jesus the divine Son has knowledge of the Father.
·  (2) Anyone else that has this knowledge is one, “whom the Son chooses to reveal him”.
·  This text clearly demonstrates the supernatural aspect to the apprehension of the identity of the Father.
·  We don’t come to this in our own power.
·  We know who the Father is by the Son.

Matthew 16:13–17 (ESV) — 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
·  R.C. Sproul says that Jesus is saying in verse 17 that Peter’s acknowledgment of Jesus’ identity is “not a conclusion of the flesh”.
·  And notice too that Peter’s insight is indication of a blessing from the Father.
·  Jesus said, “Blessed are you” in reference to Peter’s confession.
·  Peter’s conclusion and his belief were because the Father revealed to him the identity of Jesus.
·  We know who the Son is by the Father.

So Jesus believed that knowledge of the Father comes from the Son.
·  And He believed that knowledge of the Son comes from the Father.

What is it the Father did for Peter and those who believe in Jesus that their hearts would recognize Jesus as the Christ?
·  Ezekiel 36:26 (ESV) — 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
o   (1) God gives a new heart of flesh
o   (2) Puts a new spirit within
o   (3) Removes the heart of stone
·  This transformation of the heart is a supernatural work of God.

The NT is full of references to it.
·  John 1:12–13 (ESV) — 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
·  John 3:5–8 (ESV) — 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
·  1 Peter 1:3 (ESV) — 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
·  1 John 5:1 (ESV) — 1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.

This means that those that rejected Jesus did so not because of a lack of evidence.
·  They did so because their hearts were not born again.
·  This meant they could not “see” with their eyes or “hear” with their ears that Jesus was the Christ.
·  They were not blessed.
·  The Father had not revealed to them Jesus’ identity.
·  They justly suffered from a deadly condition of the Fall.
·  Namely, a hard heart of stone of which Jeremiah says:
·  Jeremiah 17:9 (NLT) — 9 “…is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?

And the answer to Jeremiah’s question is found on Jesus’ lips:
·  John 2:24–25 (ESV) — 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Summary of Reasons for belief:
·  So to believe that Jesus is the Christ requires a work of God.
·  This work of God is a born again heart.
·  We know who the Son is by the Father.
·  We know who the Father is by the Son.
·  Our “desperately wicked” hearts of stone freely reject God and His Messiah as pure foolishness.
o   And Jesus, knowing what is in man, does not “entrust himself” to such hearts.
·  Belief, then, is itself dependent upon a supernatural event in our own hearts.

Now we need to flesh out one more aspect of Jesus’ prayer to see why rejection did not compromise success.
·  Who does Jesus entrust Himself to?


We saw last week that Jesus referred to those given Him by the Father seven times.
·  John 17:2 (ESV) — 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
·  John 17:6 (ESV) — 6 “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.
·  John 17:9 (ESV) — 9 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 17:10 (ESV) — 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.
·  John 17:11 (ESV) — 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
·  John 17:24 (ESV) — 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

So who are the given?
·  What we know from the definition of the word “given” that they are:
o   (1) Those that the Father, “put in [Jesus’] care” – BDAG.
o   (2) Those whom the Father “entrusted” to Jesus – BDAG.
·  And by implication, then, the “given” are those that Jesus would entrust Himself to.
·  Jesus entrusts Himself to those entrusted to Him by the Father – makes sense.

Obviously, the Father is not going to put in Jesus’ care those of this world who are walking in darkness, who remain under God’s wrath, and whose father is Satan.
·  These will be subject to judgment.

In fact, Beasley-Murray describes the “given” as those the Father chose “…out of the world for the possession and the service of his Son”.
·  D.A. Carson echoes this when he says the “given” are those that “…were part of the wicked world (cf. notes on 1:9), but God gave them to Jesus out of the world…Thus in a profound sense they belonged to God antecedently to Jesus’ ministry (They were yours; you gave them to me).”

So given all we have seen, it seems obvious that the “given” are:
·  Those caused to be born again
·  Those who have a new spirit put in them
·  Those born of water and Spirit.
·  Those whose hearts of stone have been removed
·  Those who have hearts of flesh
·  Those who have been blessed to know who Jesus is
·  Those to whom the Father has been revealed by the Son
·  Those to whom the Son has been revealed by the Father

And we know something else about the “given” from Jesus’ words in John 6.
·  John 6:37–40 (ESV) — 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Jesus shows us in this verse that the “given” are also:
·  (1) Those that come and look on Him and believe (vs. 37, 40)
·  (2) Those that He will not cast out or lose (vs. 37, 39)
·  (3) Those that He will raise up (vs. 40)

It is also worth noting that it is for these alone – the “given” – that Jesus prays for in John 17.
·  In fact, He even says in verse 9, “I am not praying for the world”.

He tells us in His prayer that He is, to the exclusion of the unbeliever, asking the Father to:
·  Keep the believer in the Father’s name
·  Keep the believer from the evil one
·  That the believer might have Jesus’ joy
·  That believers may be one
·  That believers may be sanctified
·  That believers may be with Him
·  That believers may see the glory of Jesus

He is not asking these things for the world – this is rather striking.
·  It is clearly a burden on His heart that He provides for those given to Him by the Father all that the Father would have Him give!
·  And when Jesus expresses His desire that we see His glory, I don’t think it can get much better than that.

Summary of the Given:
·  So the given are those that have responded with belief to the reasons to believe because they have been the recipients of a work of God on their hearts – the reason for belief.
·  And it is toward these that Jesus has a special affection as expressed in His John 17 prayer.
o   After all, by their belief they demonstrate that, like Jesus, God is their Father – not Satan.
·  And it is the “given” that Jesus sees as coming to Him not by their own efforts, or even His efforts, but by the will and work of the Father.
o   The Father reveals the Son.

Now we have sufficient understanding to answer the questions we raised last week and repeated earlier.
·  BTW – For a discussion on the implications of God’s sovereignty and His work versus our action of believing, see the rabbit trail at the end of this lesson.


So putting all this together I think we can finally answer the questions pertaining to how Jesus saw His ministry as a success.

As a reminder, here are the questions again.
·  If Jesus really was God, Creator, Ruler, Messiah and Savior, how on earth could He be rejected by so many?
·  How could He consider His ministry a success in the face of all this rejection?
·  If Jesus came to seek and save the lost why did so many of the lost reject Him?
o   Wasn’t the main reason for His incarnation to save people?

One more question – it gets worse.
·  Apologists suggest that significant obstacles to belief are worldviews contrary to a Biblical worldview.
·  In our day there is pantheism, naturalism, deism, etc., and all the presuppositions they carry with them.
·  And many, if not all, of their presuppositions are contrary to those of a biblical worldview.
·  Well, here is the problem.
·  The Jews and Jesus shared the same worldview.
·  They were all theistic, 2nd temple, covenant believing Jews who grasped the fact that Israel was chosen by God and they were waiting for the time of God’s deliverance.
·  And yet they still didn’t believe Jesus was the Christ?
·  In addition to all we have discussed over the past three weeks, this makes the unbelief of the Jews all the more perplexing.

So what are the answers to our questions?
·  Why did Jesus consider His ministry a success?

Let’s look at Jesus words in John 6 again as well as in chapters 10 and 18:
·  John 6:37–40 (ESV) — 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.  38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
·  John 10:29 (ESV) — 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
·  John 18:9 (ESV) — 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.

Did Jesus save all of whom the Father gave Him?
·  Did Jesus reject or refuse to entrust Himself to any that were given to Him by the Father?
·  Did Jesus seek and save?
·  Yes…Jesus “collected” and “protected” everybody He was given (and will be given).
·  Those that rejected Jesus were not the “given”.
·  This is why Jesus’ ministry was a complete success in spite of so much rejection and unbelief.
·  He certainly loved the unbeliever and desired his or her salvation.
o   He longed to gather them like a hen gathered its chicks.
o   Why didn’t He gather them?
o   They were not given to Him by the Father.
o   They did not believe in Him.

So the Jews’ rejection and unbelief was not a failure of Jesus’ mission.
·  In fact, their unbelief was fulfillment of prophesy (John 12:37-40).
·  Jesus’ ministry was a perfect success.
·  Nothing went wrong.
·  Everything went down just as the Father wanted.

But wait…there is more!
·  It is obvious that Jesus’ ministry – specifically His signs and wonders – were “…meant to show that Jesus is ‘the Christ, the Son of God’” – Dunnett.
·  They were a divine, authenticating mark of His ministry – NBD.
o   Those that were given to Him recognized this and believed.
·  And in this way, Jesus’ works served to “advance the Gospel” – Grudem.

But Jesus’ ministry was a success for many more reasons that His relationship with the “given” as expressed in His John 17 prayer.

The Many Successes of Jesus’ Works:
·  Jesus works – His signs and wonders – successfully did at least 6 other things in addition to “advancing the Gospel”.
·  We will briefly look at them.

1) Jesus’ works served to declare that the Kingdom of God has come.
·  Jesus’ works bear “witness to the fact that the kingdom of God has come and has begun to expand its beneficial results into people’s lives, for the results of Jesus’ miracles show the characteristics of God’s kingdom” – Wayne Grudem.
·  Matthew 12:28 (ESV) — 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
·  Matthew 11:4–5 (ESV) — 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.
·  Success – Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom He was sent to inaugurate.

2) Jesus’ works served to heal, care for and help those who were in need – Wayne Grudem.
·  John 9:7 (ESV) — 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
·  Matthew 15:28 (ESV) — 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
·  Luke 8:35 (ESV) — 35 Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.
·  Success – Jesus healed whom He was sent to heal.

3) Jesus’ works also served to fulfill God’s word – M.H. Manser.
·  Matthew 8:17 (ESV) — 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”
·  Matthew 12:17–18 (ESV) — 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: 18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.”
·  Luke 4:21 (ESV) — 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
·  Success – Jesus fulfilled what He was sent to fulfill.

4) Jesus’ works and ministry also provided believers with a much needed Kingdom Hermeneutic and Imagination - Scot McKnight.
·  In other words, the O.T. Scripture was now seen clearly and correctly through the lens of Jesus as the Christ.
·  In fact, Paul could even preach the Gospel in Acts using just the OT.
·  John 2:22 (ESV) — 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
·  John 12:16 (ESV) — 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.
·  Acts 13:32–35 (ESV) — 32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “ ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’ 34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “ ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ 35 Therefore he says also in another psalm, “ ‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’
·  Success – Jesus was the incarnate and necessary new hermeneutic of the O.T.

5) Jesus’ works also demonstrated a perfect obedience to the Father qualifying Himself as worthy of sacrifice.
·  John 5:19 (ESV) — 19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
·  John 12:49 (ESV) — 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.
·  John 14:10 (ESV) — 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
·  Success – Jesus did and said what the Father did and said.

6) And all of Jesus’ works served to glorify God – Wayne Grudem.
·  As we saw last week, Jesus spoke of the glory of God in John 17 at least 6 times.
·  We will get into this in the next week or two as we dive deeper into John 17.
·  Success – Jesus glorified who He was sent to glorify.

 Summary of Questions Answered – why Jesus’ ministry was a success:
·  So Jesus’ successfully “collected” and “protected” the “given”.
·  He inaugurated the Kingdom of God.
·  He healed who he was supposed to heal.
·  He fulfilled God’s word.
·  He provided a necessary and new hermeneutic for the O.T.
·  He perfectly obeyed the Father.
·  And He glorified the Father.

·  Over the last few weeks we have introduced John 17 through a specific lens.
·  We suggested that Jesus’ prayer is an insight into His heart and into what a successful ministry looks like in the Kingdom of God.
·  We have teased out a number of questions concerning the nature of the success of Jesus’ ministry and have sought to answer them.
·  In the coming weeks we will dig deeper into John 17.
·  As we do so, we will continue to glimpse the heart of Jesus and encounter the characteristics of His successful ministry.

Rabbit Trail on the Given:
Scripture seems to teach that these believers who were given to Jesus during His ministry were chosen or elected by God from the beginning of time.
·  Ephesians 1:4 (ESV) — 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
·  Romans 8:29 (ESV) — 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
·  2 Timothy 1:9 (ESV) — 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,
·  Revelation 13:8 (ESV) — 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
·  Revelation 17:8 (ESV) — 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.

Jesus also describes His receiving believers from the Father as His work of seeking and saving the lost.
·  Luke 19:10 (ESV) — 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
·  Matthew 10:5–6 (ESV) — 5 These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
·  Matthew 15:24 (ESV) — 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

We of course know that the lost are sinners – those dead in trespasses and sin.
·  But we just saw that he doesn’t save all the lost.
·  Many rejected Him and He saved only those He said were given to Him by the Father.
·  In fact in the “lost” parables of Luke 15 He tells us just which lost He can save.
·  Luke 15:7 (ESV) — 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
·  Luke 15:10 (ESV) — 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
·  So the lost He saves are those that were given to Him by the Father.
·  And Jesus knows they were given to Him because they repented and recognized Him as the Christ.

But lest we think that salvation has nothing to do with the actions of the believer, we need to keep in mind the following:
·  The verb form of the word “to believe” appears “at least 98 times” in John’s Gospel – Dunnett.
·  John’s Gospel and the whole of the New Testament make clear that we are to believe.
·  All people are called to believe in Christ and repent of their sins.

And in addition to believe, John’s Gospel also speaks of the call to everyone to believe as follows:
·  Receive (John 1:12)
·  Drink (John 4:14)
·  Come (John 6:35)
·  Eat (John 6:51)
·  Enter (John 10:9)

So there is an unavoidable tension between the sovereignty of God to choose and the call to all men to believe.
·  “The doctrines of divine sovereignty (that God elected sinners for salvation in eternity past) and human responsibility (that sinners are held accountable for how they respond to the gospel) are both clearly taught in Scripture…” – John MacArthur.

Calvinism, Arminiamism and Molinism are all attempts to reconcile these tensions.
·  It should be fairly obvious from this lesson which view I hold.
·  However, to be fair, I have covered the pros and cons of the Arminian and Calvinist views HERE.
·  I appreciate the complexity of the issues involved and realize humility is necessitated.
o   It is not helpful to be dogmatic about these issues.
·  But that should never stop us from asking hard questions.

Questions such as:
·  Why is it not problematic for freewill that God chose Abram and not someone else?
·  Was Abram free to reject God if God had already chosen him to be the source of the promised offspring?
·  Why is it not problematic for freewill that God chose Israel and not Ethiopia or China?
o   The Israelites, after all, wanted to go back to Egypt and reject the promise land.
·  If loss of freewill is the objection to the Calvinist view of election, for the Arminian that believes in the perseverance of the saints, how is it not problematic for freewill that we can come to Christ “on our own”, but yet can’t choose to reject Christ and become a non-believer?
·  If we chose Christ freely, don’t we have to be free to not choose Him at a later time?
o   If the answer is that because the believer’s heart is regenerated after belief and so he or she would never reject God with a regenerated heart, how is this different from the Calvinist view that man always doing what the heart desires? How is freewill to reject God not “overruled” by the work of God on the heart in this scenario?