Greetings! In today’s class, we shall continue our study on ‘John 17 Is For You’.
John 17 Is For You
The heavens gathered blackness; the Father withdrew the beams of light and glory that had rested upon His Son. He was paying my penalty, dying my death, the second death, the awful death of separation from the Father – God’s abandonment. As He went down into that pit of woe and separation, it wrung His soul. And satan pressed his temptations hard upon Him. He said, “Jesus, if You take that plunge, You will never live again. You will never see Your Father’s face again.” Bright hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the tomb. All was dark.
But oh, friends, there was something that wasn’t dark. It was the light of love in His soul. He loved me. And He knew, friends, that if He took the plunge and died, whether He would ever live again, I could live and be in that glorious fellowship with God that He had enjoyed since the days of eternity. And He loved me so much that He was willing to give it all up, so I could have it. Do you agree with me, friends, that if this is not so, nothing matters, but if this is so, nothing else matters? Nothing else matters.
He finally bowed His head and died. They took Him down and put Him in the tomb. And early in the morning of the first day of the week, the mightiest of angels flew on rapid wings from the celestial courts. That stone was rolled away as if it were but a pebble, and Gabriel cried, “Son of God, come forth; Thy Father calls Thee.” There was a stir in the tomb, and Jesus arose and came forth. The angels prostrated themselves before Him.
You remember as John tells the story in his gospel, that Christ lingered to comfort a poor, dear soul, Mary, who had been known as a sinner. But she had been forgiven. And there, with her tears blinding her, she was wondering what had happened to the body of the Lord. And you remember how, as the moment of recognition came, when He said, “Mary,” she sprang to fall at His feet, to embrace those feet that had been nailed to the wooden tree for her; those feet that she had bathed with her tears in Simon’s house just a week before. But what did Jesus say? “Touch Me not, for I am not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and tell them I ascend to My Father and to your Father, and to My God and your God.”
Was Jesus going to heaven that morning, the resurrection morning? Oh, yes. What for? Ah, friends, there is something on His heart. Let’s read about it, in some wonderful words penned by the Lord’s messenger: “Jesus refused to receive the homage of his people until he knew that his sacrifice had been accepted by the Father, and until he had received the assurance from God himself that his atonement for the sins of his people had been full and ample, that through his blood they might gain eternal life. Jesus immediately ascended to Heaven …”
(This is the resurrection morning) “… and presented himself before the throne of God, showing the marks of shame and cruelty upon his brow, his hands and feet. But he refused to receive the coronet of glory, and the royal robe, and he also refused the adoration of the angels as he had refused the homage of Mary, until the Father signified that his offering was accepted.
Now, see why He holds back: “He also had a request to prefer concerning his chosen ones upon earth. He wished to have the relation clearly defined that his redeemed should hereafter sustain to Heaven, and to His Father. His church must be justified and accepted before he could accept heavenly honor” Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 3, page 202.
Oh, think of it, friends. There is the Father. There are all the angels waiting to welcome Him. But no, He cannot accept the adoration of the angels. He cannot even run to receive the clasp of those arms of His Father, until it is settled that you and I can be there with Him and have everything He has: “His church must be justified and accepted before he could accept heavenly honor. He declared it to be his will that where he was, there his church should be; if he was to have glory, his people must share it with him. They who suffer with him on earth must finally reign with him in his kingdom. …
“God’s answer to this appeal goes forth in the proclamation: ‘Let all the angels of God worship him.’ Every angelic commander obeys the royal mandate. … The request of Christ is granted; the church is justified through him, its representative and head” Ibid., pages 202-203.
Friends, we are going to be there. He got that settled before He would accept the embrace of His Father. Oh, I think that is wonderful, don’t you, friends? And you know the Father loves us just as much as the Son. The Father was oh so glad to see that His dear Son wanted us there with Him, because that is the way that He feels, too.
Jesus came back that same day. And you remember later He allowed His disciples to worship Him, indicating that He had received this power and authority from His Father, and that everything was settled. He spent those 40 days with them in Galilee and Judea, talking with them and communing with them concerning the things of God. But the day came when He left this earth and returned to Heaven, to enter upon His priestly ministry. You remember the Scripture says that with the 11, He went out to the Mount of Olives. There, as He reached the summit, He gave them His parting words of instruction. He stretched out His hands in blessing, and was slowly taken from them up into heaven.
You remember as Luke tells the story in Acts 1, that as the disciples were looking upward for the last glimpse of their ascending Lord, they heard voices, and they turned. There were two angels saying: “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” Acts 1:11. Oh, thank God that same Jesus that they knew, that loved them, has gone to Heaven, and He is coming back!
What Stands Out To You?
What stands out to you from today’s lesson, that can help you in entering into a C.I.P. with Jesus? Please let us know, in the comment section, below! God bless!
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.
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