The online Bible teaching ministry of John Brand

The Real Lord’s Prayer – John 17: 14 and 16

John 17:14-16  “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

Taking these verses slowly, as we are doing, verse by verse, and even phrase by phrase when that is necessary, has the danger of blinding us to the flow of thought of what Jesus says.

As we come to verses 14-16 in our next two studies, we need to bear in mind that we are still really looking at the details of Jesus’ explicit prayer in v11 – “Holy Father, keep them”.

Verses 11-16 are all about the need for the disciples to be kept and how God the Father keeps them.

Here in verses 14-16 we are faced with a spiritual reality that is at the very heart of what it is to be a disciple of Jesus and the consequences of that discipleship.   It is the conflict between the WORD and the WORLD.

First, the WORD, in verses 14 and 16

You will remember that back in 17:6, Jesus said of his disciples, “…they have kept your word”, the LOGOS, referring  to the whole of Jesus’ message.  It could almost be taken as a synonym for or equivalent to the gospel.

In 17:8, Jesus said, “I have given them the words that you gave me”, and the word there is the Greek word, RHEMA, which seems to emphasise more the specific, individual teachings and commands of Christ.

Then again in  17:14 which we are looking at now, Jesus says, “I have given them your [LOGOS] word”.

Now you have often heard me say that CONTEXT DETERMINES MEANING, so let’s apply that here.  Because of what Jesus goes on to say, and which we’ll consider next time, Jesus must mean more by the expression, “I have given them your word”, than that he has simply passed on, handed on, the word to his disciples.  

No, he has given them the Father’s word in such a way that it has taken the disciples, in some sense, out of this world.  As a result of being given the word they are no longer “of the world”.

As a result of being given the word they now have something in common with Jesus.  Look at verse 16.  “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

Now, of course, Jesus was never “of the world”.  His origin, his nature, his character was never of the world.  His essential being is otherworldly, heavenly.  But the disciples most definitely were of the world; born into this world in a natural, unregenerate state.  Which is why Jesus tells Nicodemus that they needed to be “born again”, literally, “born from above” (John 3:3).

So, when Jesus says, “I have given them your word”, he is saying that the message of the gospel has been supernaturally deposited in the hearts of that group of disciples, and through the supernatural depositing of the word they have been born from above; they now have a new nature.

By receiving the word of God that Jesus gave them, they, like Jesus himself, were now “not of the world”.

Jesus is saying something astonishing about true believers.  He is saying, “they are as I am.

And this supernatural transformation, regeneration takes place through being given and receiving the word of God.

There are two key verses in the New Testament, apart from 17:14, which teach the same truth, that we are born again, or from above – regeneration is the theological term – by the agency of the word of God.

Peter writes, “…you have been born again”, (remember John 3:7?). “you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23)

James states, “Of his [God’s] own will he brought us forth by the word of truth” (James 1:18).

What a power this word has!  That’s why Paul says in Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”.

That’s why we must preach the word, gossip the word, spread the word, in whatever way we can, because it is as the Holy Spirit takes the word of God and supernaturally plants it in the hearts of men and women that they are saved and born from above.

That’s how you and I came to faith, if indeed we are born again, and it’s the only way any man, woman or child can be born again.

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