Read: John 17:24-26
We’ve all been judged by others. In everyday life, we learn to expect that people will get the wrong idea about us before they actually know us. But now imagine someone is viciously slandering a very close friend of yours behind their back. Wouldn’t your first instinct be to shout back, “You don’t even know my friend!” It’s a completely valid argument. No one has the right to vilify someone they know nothing about, especially when their friend is standing right there with a lifetime of personal knowledge about the person. Now imagine how Jesus felt, surrounded by God’s chosen people who had made God’s name an absurdity with the extent of their hypocrisy and misconceptions. Or even today, when people turn their back on God or harbor resentment against Him for letting bad things happen. Can anyone in the world claim enough knowledge of God to accuse Him?
In today’s passage, we come to the end of Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer for His disciples and those who come after them. In these final verses before Jesus’ arrest, He prays that we would be with Him in eternity, and that we would know the Father through Him. If you’ve been paying close attention in the book of John, you may have noticed a recurring theme. The idea of being shown something, being given sight, or special insight into the working of God (John 5:20, 8:38, 9, 1:18). So when Jesus prays, “Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you,” (v. 25), your heart should do a little backflip. Jesus is the only being who knows the Father perfectly; not Adam, not Moses, not David, not your pastor, and not any theologian who came after Jesus—no one knows God more intimately than Jesus.
The theme of blindness runs parallel to the theme of insight in John, and understandably so. Out of our own intuition and intelligence, our understanding of God is warped at best—and consequently, so is our understanding of the world and ourselves. At worst we claim real understanding of things we really know nothing about and openly accuse God, hurling stones at the sky. The picture is very different from Jesus’ perspective.
In every context of insight being given to someone in John (physical or spiritual) it is done out of love. Out of love the Father shows Jesus what He is doing (John 5:20). Jesus isn’t limited to live life according to what His human eyes see, like the rest of humanity. In love God enables Him to see beyond His immediate surroundings, beyond His human limitations, to the higher realities for God, and it’s out of that vision that He works.
Likewise Jesus, through love, grants for His disciples to share insight into what God is doing. Jesus says He makes known the Father’s name to His followers, and continues to make it known. This isn’t Jesus leaving a systematic theology behind so people can know more about the Father—this is an intimate introduction to our Father as adopted sons and daughters, “that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (v. 26). Through Jesus, we are being brought into an eternal family—we who were ignorant accusers of God have been given a chance to know God through His Son, who is the revealer of God’s character (Col. 1:15).
A very spiritually mature friend of mine used to tell me something when I would come to him asking questions about God. “Do you trust Him?” At first it felt like a copout, but then I really thought about it. The bottom line was, whether or not I was willing to trust Jesus. Look at the way He lived, acted, and spoke. Jesus loved God intimately and perfectly as a human being. If He saw God perfectly and was willing to die on a cross out of love for Him, how could this be a God I could accuse?
Ask yourself today, do you trust Him? Be honest with yourself, and pray for the places in your life where you still keep trust from Him. When you finally allow yourself to fall into the Father’s hands and trust wholeheartedly, that is when lasting peace will define your life.