Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me. (John 17:7-8)
Relate: I will never forget the first time I met Pastor Pat. At the time he was the youth pastor at Greece Assembly and we had just moved to the area. I had been enrolled in eighth grade at my new school but hadn’t yet started and so I was spending the afternoon “exploring” that church when I ran into Pastor Pat in the hall. He looked at me with this big smile and said, “Oh, so you’re Beejai.” I’m not sure if I actually said it but I know I was thinking, “Uh oh.” Then he continued, “Your dad and Pastor T spent about twenty minutes talking about you yesterday. You have no idea how proud your dad is of you.”
I have no idea what my response to that was. Knowing me, it was probably something along the lines of, “Of course he is. I’m the coolest person in the world.” I don’t know if we ended up having a conversation or went our separate ways. I don’t remember really anything else about that day. Those words… “You have no idea how proud your dad is of you.” Those are words I will never forget.
React: This prayer Jesus is praying, He is praying with his disciples right there next to Him. It is almost as though He is allowing them to eavesdrop on a private conversation Jesus is having with His Father. So what do they hear? Jesus is proud of them. He is bragging about them to dad. “They kept… they know… they accepted… they believe.”
The next twenty four hours are going to be very rough for those disciples and far worse for Jesus. They are all going to abandon Him or, at best, trail behind at a distance. Each of them is going to be incredibly ashamed of their coming actions. Jesus knows it is going to happen. He already warned Peter specifically about it, but in spite of this Jesus doesn’t just tell them how proud He is of them, they get to hear Him bragging about them to another. He is giving them a nugget they can treasure through the coming horrible day and the many to come as each are persecuted and all but one martyred because “they kept… they knew… they accepted… and they believed.”
Know this. Jesus is proud of you. He is. No matter how dark your days might become, never let go of that truth. In this same prayer Jesus says He isn’t just talking about His current disciples but for all who would come after them. That’s us. That’s me. That’s you. God didn’t just die for you out of obligation. He did it for love. When you pray, when you praise, when you worship, when you live out your life in a way pleasing to Him, He is up there saying, “Hey look, dad, they’re doing it again.” Don’t ever, ever forget just how precious you are to Him.
Even as I write this, sometimes it is hard to truly believe that You are proud of me. All too often I focus on my faults. I focus on my failures. Even as I seek forgiveness, help me to understand that they have already been covered in Your blood. Help it to dig deep in my heart the truth that when You see me, You are saying things like, “He kept… He knows… He accepted… He believes… And I am so very proud of Him.”