“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1: 18
Reading: John 17: 20-26
Last Sunday we resumed our focus on our Triune God, specifically upon the Holy Spirit in the ministry of Jesus, His wisdom and teaching. Looking at 1 Corinthians 1: 18-31 and 2 Corinthians 2, we saw that Jesus’ wisdom and authority came from God empowered by the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the wisdom and power of God. This wisdom is powerfully found in the ministry of reconciliation achieved at the Cross, where by God’s power, sin and death were defeated. We then saw how we, as God’s Children and Jesus’ Body (the Church), now carry on this teaching and ministry of reconciliation. We are His ambassadors empowered by the Holy Spirit in us (2 Corinthians 5: 16-21). In Jesus’ teaching, in John 15: 1-13, we saw how this can be achieved by us remaining in Him through obedience. We then remain in His love, secure His joy and bear fruit, to God’s pleasure, as His disciples.
The Ministry of Reconciliation
At our One Body Worship event (that same Sunday) we continued, to some degree, looking at this Ministry of Reconciliation by focusing on Jesus’ prayer for us (John 17: 20-26). Here Jesus states that He has given us the glory that the Father gave Him (22&24). This glory is evidenced by ‘Unity.’ As we are reconciled to God, through Christ, we share in the communion of ‘His Unity’ with Himself as the Triune God (the relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit). If we then have unity amongst ourselves, not only do our individual lives tell the story of reconciliation, but so does the Church.
So, what is this ‘glory’ that Christ has given us? We can look to three areas of God’s glory in Jesus: the Cross; His relationship with His Father; and His obedience. Jesus’ glory came through the ‘wondrous cross,’ a self-sacrifice that made reconciliation possible and where death and sin were defeated. The witness of His relationship with His Father displayed the truth of this power and wisdom and His obedience enabled Him to remain in His Father and therefore within His love.
The Question of Application
How does this ‘glory’ then lie within us? When we are reconciled with God through faith in Jesus, and by His grace, we are born again by the power of God, in Christ, through the achievement of that Cross. His Holy Spirit enters us as new creations and we have access to His wisdom; He is in us! The ‘crosses’ we then bear can be to the glory of God. Our relationship, our unity, with Him and our brothers and sisters, can give witness to the truth of this reconciliation and reality. For that to occur we need to remain in Him through obedience. So, we need to ask ourselves: do we give glory to God in the crosses we carry; does our relationship with Him and the Church reflect His glory and truth; and is our obedience enabling us to remain in His love? Do we display His glory?
Echoing Jesus’ prayer we pray for ourselves as we believe in Jesus through the message of the Cross; may we be one, Father, just as you are one. May we remain in you so that the world may believe in Jesus Christ. May we display the glory that you gave your Son and He gave us, that we may be one, brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent the Lord Jesus who has loved us even as you, Father, love your Son, Jesus Christ. May the love you have for Jesus be in us so that Jesus Himself may be in us. Amen
Adapted from John 17: 20-26
When I survey Wondrous Cross – Keith & Kristyn Getty
At the Cross – Chris Tomlin
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.