“O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
- John 17:25-26
What is the Father’s name? God? Righteous? Father? What did Jesus have in mind when He told His Father that He knew Him and had made His name known? These last words of Jesus’ prayer are worthy of our contemplation for a number of reasons.
The goal of the prayer is stated
The will of both the Father and the Son is that the love of the Father for His Son will be in His people. I’m encouraged, and I hope you will be also, by the assurance we can have that the Father will answer this prayer of Jesus, because Jesus always prays according to the will of God. So I hope you’ll join me in meditating today on our assurance, especially regarding the passage above: Jesus prayed that the same love God has for His Son would be in you and that Jesus also would be in you. What a thought!
We are loved by God as He loved His Son
That’s almost hard to believe, isn’t it? God loves you as much as and like He loves His Son. Jesus actually said it twice in this prayer. “I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me” (John 17:23). Again, in verse 26, which I’ve given at the beginning of this Chariot, He said, “… so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” I think the context of chapters 13 through 16 helps us know how God loves His Son and loves us. He loved His Son by sending Him to the earth to lay down His life and to love those God gave to Him. With the commission to love, the Father also gave Jesus His presence, power, and grace to love. God was with Him! So when Jesus commissioned His disciples to love others as He had loved them, He promised them the same thing His Father had promised Him: His presence, power, and grace.
This idea, that to be sent to love is to be loved, is confirmed by another verse in Jesus’ prayer. “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world” (John 17:18). Think about this: You have been sent into the world to love with Jesus today. The Father loves you like He loved His Son. You have been called by God to lay down your life as an act of love for others, just like Jesus was called by His Father to do the same. “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16). Love is the sustained direction of the will toward the highest good of another, no matter what the cost. This definition applies in every direction: from our Father toward Jesus and us; from Jesus toward His Father and us, and (if we are loving with God’s kind of love), from us toward our Father, Jesus, and others. So I conclude that when God tells us to love others, His command comes through His sustained will to love us, and it is for our highest good.
To know God’s name produces His love in us
Perhaps you know this, but if you haven’t thought about it lately, here is a good reminder. Biblically speaking, one’s name is more than a title. It represents the entire person and his or her works. So when Jesus said that He knew the Father and had made His name known, He didn’t have in mind merely God’s title, but His works, which Jesus had done to display His Father’s love. I think we can understand what Jesus had in mind by how John, the apostle, understood it when he wrote, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).
I hope you’ll take some time to meditate on and be transformed by these truly amazing thoughts: God’s name is love! His work is love! And His call to us is to live to love with Him! Those who know Him (by His works of love), know His name (His entire person, through His works), and they make His name (His person and works, His character and nature) known by abiding in His love and loving others.
Look at how John continued in his letter. He explained his exhortation to love with the same practical teaching that Jesus had introduced before His crucifixion: We must know and believe God’s love for us, and we must abide in Him if we are going to be able to love as He does. “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16). To know God’s name (His nature and works) produces His love in us. When we know and believe His love for us, we begin to abide in Him, and then we begin to bear the fruit of His character and nature of love in our lives.
Here is how the Bible teaches us that God is working in the lives of His children: Jesus knows the Father. He made His name known. His name is Love. Jesus revealed that God is love so that the Father’s love could be in those who are His. We believe His love for us and learn to walk in His presence and power every day. May this be another encouragement to you to pray for more of His life to live to love with Jesus.