Daily D – John 17:4
I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. JOHN 17:4 (NLT)
I glorified you on earth
By completing down to the last detail
What you assigned me to do.
There is plenty of time for pondering when you drive across America no matter how many Audible books and podcasts you listen to. There is plenty of time to sort through failure and success, plans and dreams.
More than I prefer to confess, a good chunk of that think time involved grieving personal failures. The turn inward was so sharp and so deep I kinda sorta forgot how to get out of my own head there for a while. A good nudge from a trusted heart pushed me back toward the light.
This verse helps us with perspective. Begin reading John’s Gospel at chapter 12 and continue through this chapter. Pause only to ponder. Notice the deepening depths. Hear how Jesus pulls together all he has said and done leading to this moment. Note how he points beyond the discomfort of the moment, beyond the terror to come, beyond the grief to settle upon them, to the joy coming without end.
Read this prayer. Read it completely. Read it aloud with new ears not only hearing the words but listening to what they say.
Meditate on this verse. Jesus completed “down to the last detail” the work our Father in heaven gave him to do.
Will I ever be able to pray a similar prayer? A soft No must be spoken here. The cross-country drive reminded me of so many failures, so many shortcomings, so many missed opportunities.
Consider this: Jesus did not heal every sick person. He did not repair every malformed limb. He did not open every blind eye. He did not convert every lost soul. Yet in this high priestly prayer before offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins, he said truthfully, “I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” He completed his project and all its associated tasks.
What was to become of the sick, the handicapped, the blind, the lost which remained? Maybe that is what he was talking about in 14:12-14. There he said, “Anyone who believes in me
- will do the same works I have done
- will do even greater works
- you can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it
- Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”
Jesus only did what he could do in one place at a time for as long as he lived. He clearly stated that he would go away and that his followers would not be left alone. He would send the Advocate, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit who would remind them of all Jesus said, who would convict the world, who would empower them to accomplish together the project of communicating the Good News to the ends of the earth and the end of the age.
Jesus focused on three disciples more than the others, he gave the twelve exclusive training, and he sent the seventy in pairs. That turned into 120 gathered together in eager anticipation on the Day of Pentecost which erupted into thousands on that day of all days. Notice Jesus did not send out anyone alone. Maybe that’s why he never does that well in Hollywood where they love the solo superstar who is in touch with his feelings or the Force or nature or whatever they call it these days.
Our best success, our surest insurance against failure, is found in working together. We need each other. We require differing perspectives and complementary strengths. Something happens when two or three work together that solopreneurs never accomplish.
I will come closer to praying like this verse only if I do all I can do in the company of others. Alone, I will never be enough, I will never do enough. I need a partner. I need a team. I need the intelligence, wisdom, strength, and patience of others to live a life of maximum expression.
I will accomplish all that is left for me to do by connecting with others in joint pursuit of our great commission.
Our Father, only Jesus could pray the prayer recorded in John 17. Thank you that he did. Empower me to take to heart his instruction regarding working together. Remind me as often as necessary that my finest achievements will come as a result of cooperation and collaboration rather than attempting anything alone. Teach me how to depend on other people’s strengths to fill the many gaps where I am weak. Amen.
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Jeremiah 35:12-14 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?’ declares the Lord. ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me.”
Psalm 78:70-72 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
Jeremiah 23:20-22 The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.