Study Notes

John 17:1-3

17:1-3 Jesus Christ Whom Thou Hast Sent

God the Father sent His Son to the world. But it was not a begrudgingly obeyed command. It was a volunteer mission. The Bible tells us,

Phil. 2:6-7 ...Although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, being made in the likeness of men.

Jesus could have held on to His place in the Godhead. He could have stayed in heaven enjoying all the benefits of being God. But instead, He emptied Himself and became a servant to the men that He created.

How was He sent? Why was He sent? This morning, the Sunday before Christmas, let's look at the sending of the Son of God.

The Prophecy Of The Sending

The sending of the Son of God was not an afterthought. It was a plan that was conceived before creation.

It was foretold in the genealogy in Genesis 5. Adam seth enosh kenan. Mahalalel jared enoch methuselah lamech noah. "Man appointed mortal sorrow. The blessed God shall come down teaching His death shall bring the despairing rest." Way back in Genesis, it was already a given that God Himself would be sent to earth.

It was prophesied plainly in 740 B.C., by the prophet Isaiah:

Isa. 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah had also written the prophecy that this child would be born of a virgin. This had also been alluded to in Genesis 3 when God referred to the one who would crush satan as being "the seed of the woman." So the sending of His son by being born of a virgin was prophesied.

The Promise Of The Sending

When the time came for the prophecy to be fulfilled, the sending was promised to the virgin that would bear the Son of God.

Luke 1:26-35 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, "Hail, favored one! The Lord {is} with you." But she was greatly troubled at {this} statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.

The sending of the Son of God was promised.

The Procedure Of The Sending

But how would it take place? What would be the procedure that God would use to send His Son? Matthew tells us...

Matt. 1:18-25 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins." Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, "BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD, AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated means, "GOD WITH US." And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took {her} as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

Simple enough, right? But there was a snag in the procedure. God had already prophesied 700 years earlier through the prophet Micah,

Micah 5:2-3 "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, {Too} little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity." Therefore, He will give them {up} until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child.

But this virgin lived in the city of Nazareth in the region of Galilee. How would He get them to Bethlehem, over three days' journey away, to have this child, according to prophesied procedure?

Luke 2:1-6 Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.

Amazing! God made sure that an ungodly authority got the idea to make everyone travel to the city of their birth to register for a census. Thus, when Mary the virgin's time came to give birth, there they were in Bethlehem!

The Proclamation Of The Sending

Once the Son of God had been sent, there went forth two proclamations. A supernatural star began to shine far in the east, beckoning magi to make the journey to Israel. But they took so long to get there, we'll talk about them tonight. A more immediate result of the proclamation happened in a nearby field.

Luke 2:8-20 ...And in the same region there were {some} shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this {will be} a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger." And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." And it came about when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds {began} saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. And when they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

The Son of God had been sent. The sending was proclaimed.

The Purpose Of The Sending

But what really was the point of all this? Why was the Son of God sent at all? Just so we could get some time off of school and work in December? Just so Hallmark would make millions on Christmas cards? Did one little Baby really turn the world upside down? No. But that Baby had work to do when He grew up. The whole reason He came was not to be born, but to be killed.

John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.

The reason Jesus was sent was that the world needed to be saved from the penalty of their sin. So that we would have the opportunity to believe in Him, which results in our eternal life. John wrote,

1John 4:9-10 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son {to be} the propitiation for our sins.

When you propitiate, you cause to become favorably inclined, you win or regain the good will of, you appease or conciliate. The Son of God was the propitiation for our sins - the reconciliation between a holy God and our unholy sin.

God loved us so much, but couldn't accept our sin. It had to be punished by death. So that little Baby was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and ultimately was killed to pay for our sins.

Getting back to our text in John 17,

John 17:3 "And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.

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