Sunday School Lesson
Lesson 2 (KJV)
PROPHET OF CONQUEST
DEVOTIONAL READING: Hebrews 11: 23–31
BACKGROUND SCRIPTURE: Joshua 5: 13–6: 27
JOSHUA 5: 13–15
13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
15 And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
JOSHUA 6: 1–5, 15–16, 20
1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.
2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.
3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.
4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times.
16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.
20 So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
The LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.
Joshua 6: 2
PROPHETS FAITHFUL TO GOD’S COVENANT
Unit 1: Faithful Prophets
After participating in this lesson, each learner will be able to:
1. Describe how God prepared Joshua for his role in conquering the city of Jericho.
2. Explain why the Lord used such an unconventional strategy for conquering a city.
3. Develop a plan to take personal obedience to the Lord seriously.
HOW TO SAY IT
Sinai Sigh-nye or Sigh-nay-eye.
Preparing the Troops
On June 5, 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower addressed the Allied troops who were preparing to take part in the D-Day invasion that would occur the following day. As Eisenhower walked among those troops, he knew that many of them would not survive the attack. He felt great responsibility for the deaths that would occur. But Eisenhower masked his own fears in order to alleviate that of the soldiers. “It’s very hard to look a soldier in the eye when you fear that you are sending him to his death,” Eisenhower said later. But it was important both to Eisenhower and to the men he addressed that he express his care and regard for them.
In today’s text the leader of the Israelites received a message from his “commander in chief,” the Lord, regarding the conquest of the promised land. As instructive as the example of Eisenhower was and is, that of the Lord to Joshua is immeasurably greater.
B. Lesson Context
We think of Joshua’s role as a military commander before that of being a prophet—if we think of him at all as a prophet. He is remembered much more for his actions with the sword than for his proclamations of God’s messages to the Israelites.
But was Joshua a prophet? For one thing, he was Moses’ successor, and Moses was called “a Prophet” (Deuteronomy 18: 15; see lesson 1). Further, God spoke through Joshua to give directions to Israel, and that is one characteristic of a prophet (Hebrews 1: 1). Joshua challenged the people to put away their idols and commit themselves fully to the Lord (Joshua 23: 1–24: 28), a common task of prophets. And Joshua may be considered a prophetic forerunner of Christ. The names Joshua and Jesus both mean “the Lord is salvation.” As Joshua led ancient Israel into the promised land of Canaan, Jesus leads generations of God’s faithful people into the promised land of Heaven.
The first mention of Joshua in Scripture is in Exodus 17: 8–16, a context not long after the exodus and the parting of the Red Sea. So by the time of the events of today’s lesson text, Joshua had witnessed many mighty works of God.
The book of Joshua begins with the Lord’s exhortations to Joshua following Moses’ death—repeating several times the directive for Joshua to be strong and have courage in fulfilling his sacred duties (Joshua 1: 6, 7, 9, 18). Joshua had been assured of the Lord’s presence, just as the Lord had guided Moses (3: 7). God’s presence with Joshua also points to Joshua’s calling from God, an event that precedes a true prophet’s ministry. The book of Joshua goes on to trace the Israelite’s entry into the promised land (Joshua 1–5), conquests and settlements in it (chapters 6–21), and covenant renewal (chapters 22–24).
Christians have come to consider the book of Joshua to fit the category of “history” in the Old Testament’s 5-12-5-5-12 arrangement of its 39 books (5 books of law, 12 of history, 5 of poetry, 5 by major prophets, 12 by minor prophets). But to Jewish readers the book of Joshua was part of the Former Prophets (along with Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, and 1 & 2 Kings). Though the Former Prophets are very different from Latter Prophets (like Isaiah or Hosea), these books are concerned with God’s guiding the people through His chosen leaders. The first such leader in this section being Joshua, followed by the judges, etc. The writer of the book is unknown, though it is likely he was a prophet or a priest himself.
Joshua 3–4 records how the Israelites crossed the Jordan River on dry land, much as the previous generation had crossed the Red Sea on dry land under Moses’ leadership. Following further spiritual preparation of the people—including circumcision of those men who had not been circumcised during the wandering in the wilderness (Joshua 5: 2–9) and through the observance of the Passover (5: 10)—the Israelites were almost ready for the task of conquering the promised land.
I. Special Message
(JOSHUA 5: 13–15)
- Joshua’s Caution (v. 13)
13a. And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho.
The city of Jericho was located about 10 miles northwest of the Dead Sea and 5 miles west of the Jordan River. Cities of antiquity were sited with three concerns in mind: access to water, access to trade routes, and defensibility. Jericho had all three. Because of nearby springs of water, the city was an oasis in the dry Jordan landscape. Jericho was also a strategic place to begin conquest of Canaan because of its proximity to trade routes. Jericho depended on its walls for defense, a focus of this lesson.
We should be careful not to confuse the Jericho of the Old Testament with the Jericho of the New Testament. Though called by the same name, the Jericho of Jesus’ day was located above the site of Old Testament city, the latter having been about 800 feet below sea level.
13b. That he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
Based on Joshua’s initial reaction to the appearance of this armed man, there is no reason to think he looked extraordinary in any way. But putting two facts side by side yields an amazing scene: (1) Joshua’s question indicates his uncertainty regarding whose side the man is on, yet (2) Joshua went unto this armed man anyway! The scene is therefore one of confidence in the protective presence of the Lord (see Lesson Context). As to the answer to Joshua’s question, he was about to find out that the answer wasn’t a simple “us” or “them”!
B. Messenger’s Command (vv. 14–15)
14a. And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come.
This individual was likely an angel of the Lord, perhaps the same one whom God had promised would go before His people to lead them into the promised land (Exodus 23: 20–23). The phrase “Lord of hosts” is familiar, appearing more than 200 times in the Old Testament. But the normal order of the underlying Hebrew words is reversed here and in the verse that follows. Thus we have host of the Lord. The word host is used as a reference to an armed force (Judges 4: 15; etc.). The man’s identifying himself as captain reinforces the military overtones of his unsheathed sword and the armed force at his command (compare 1 Samuel 12: 9).
The man does not give Joshua a straightforward endorsement of allegiance. Whether the man was for or against the Israelites depended upon their faithfulness and obedience to the Lord.
14b. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
Angels, as created beings, do not accept worship (Revelation 19: 10; 22: 8). Therefore the posture of worship Joshua adopted may have been intended only in a sense of indicating great respect, as very similar language is translated in Ruth 2: 10; 1 Samuel 25: 23; and 2 Samuel 14: 22.
Realizing that such a man would not show up just to chit-chat, Joshua’s question sought to get to the heart of the man’s errand immediately. Joshua’s referring to himself as servant and to the man as my lord are two more indications of Joshua’s great respect for this messenger sent by God.
What Do You Think?
What’s the single most important thing your church needs to do better in order to hear and heed the Lord’s messages properly?
What will be your part in making that happen?
15. And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
The captain of the Lord’s host did not immediately reveal the nature of his visit. His directive echoes the scene of the burning bush episode involving Moses at Mount Horeb (Sinai) in Exodus 3: 4–5. This incident provides another link between Moses as God’s prophet and Joshua as his legitimate successor (Deuteronomy 18: 15; Joshua 1: 1–9; see lesson 1).
TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES
When I decided it was time to visit the Holy Land, as it is referred to, I went as a skeptic. My initial frame of mind was that of criticism. I questioned the traditional designations of places identified with Jesus’ life and ministry. I also reacted against the building of shrines over some of those locations.
I was caught by surprise, however, when my trip turned into a spiritual pilgrimage! At some point, I found myself appreciating the land that gave birth to our faith. I was able to recognize it as holy because of what was done there by Jesus and others, like Joshua. One might say that I mentally removed my shoes in amazement at what God had done in that land.
When was the last time you figuratively took off your shoes in reverence for what God has done in the place where you stand?—C. R. B.
What Do You Think?
Under what circumstances, if any, should you consider certain places to be holier than others? Why?
What role should Deuteronomy 12: 1–4; Acts 7: 30–33; Romans 14: 5; and/ or Colossians 2: 16 have in your answer?
II. Sovereign Plan
(JOSHUA 6: 1–5)
A. Jericho’s Status (v. 1)
1. Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.
This note interrupts the captain’s conversation with Joshua briefly (see Joshua 5: 15, above). In so doing, it reveals part the “defensibility” aspect of Jericho (see Lesson Context). The fact that none went out, and none went in speaks not only to the city’s ability to control access but also to the reason for the heightened security measures: the threat posed by the children of Israel.
Joshua had previously sent two spies into the city to assess the situation there. And although they had gained entrance, one or more alert members of the populace had informed authorities not only of the intrusion itself but also where the spies were located. Under protection from Rahab, the spies had learned that the city was in a state of panic because of reports of what the Lord had done to the kings east of the Jordan River (Joshua 2).
B. The Lord’s Strategy (vv. 2–5)
2. And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.
Surprisingly, the Lord himself, not the captain of the Lord’s host, addressed Joshua. This could indicate either (1) that the captain prepared Joshua for the Lord to arrive on the scene or (2) that the Lord had chosen first to introduce himself as captain of the host before identifying himself more fully. Either would be in keeping with ways that God had interacted with great men in the past (compare Genesis 18: 1–2; Exodus 3: 1–4).
The description of the forthcoming conquest of Jericho in terms of its king and mighty men of valour reassured Joshua that the victory would be complete; it was to be a decisive win for Israel. Neither king nor soldiers would escape. We should not that the Lord did not say “I will give,” but I have given. The victory is so assured that He spoke of it as already having happened (compare Joshua 8: 1; 10: 8).
The promised land was a gift from God to Israel (Numbers 13: 1, 2; Deuteronomy 4: 21; 6: 23; 8: 10). They had done nothing to earn or deserve such a gift; it was a demonstration of God’s gracious treatment of them as His covenant people (7: 7–9). Because of this fact, their life in the land was to be different from that of the nations they dispossessed. That could happen only with a “clean sweep” (see Deuteronomy 7: 1–6). God’s assured victory in Jericho was to be indicative of the sort of military campaigns the people should plan on.
3. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.
Because God was the giver of the land, His instructions for taking the land had to be followed. Here He began to outline His strategy for conquering Jericho. Merely circling a city was not an efficient military tactic, especially without being part of a larger plan to lay siege or attack outright. It could however heighten the fear the people inside were already feeling. But it could also lose the element of surprise, as Joshua effectively used later (Joshua 8: 10–29; 10: 6–11). Perhaps the latter was the Lord’s intent so that the Israelites would realize that the victory was solely by His might, not theirs.
One estimate of the circumference of Jericho was approximately 2,000 feet, or just over one third of a mile. The marching would not take place right next to the wall, of course, lest the Israelites be in danger of arrows. A safe distance might therefore require a walk of a mile or more.
According to the military census in Numbers 26: 1–2, 51, there were 601,730 Israelite men able to bear arms. The amount of time the march would take depended on the width of the marching formation and the speed of the pace.
4. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
Unlike other nations, military success in Israel didn’t depend on numbers, technology, or skill. Rather, it depended on the Lord’s presence. The ark would symbolize that presence. But to trust in the symbolism without actually being led by the Lord was a recipe for disaster (example: 1 Samuel 4). Obeying God was the key to victory.
Other verses make clear that the priests marched on the first six days as well (Joshua 6: 13–14, not in our printed text). The deviation from the pattern of the six days marked the fact that the seventh day would bring a different result.
Armies need ways to communicate, and the trumpets of curved rams’ horns served that purpose here. Use of trumpets for other communication purposes are seen in Leviticus 25: 9; 1 Kings 1: 34; 2 Kings 9: 13; and Psalm 81: 3. Trumpets made from different material are seen in Numbers 10: 1–10.
5. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
After days of hearing only shorter blasts of horns, the long blast on the seventh day would probably feel like a grand celebration for Israel. The shouts of all the people in combination with that blast would precede the Lord’s bringing down the wall of the city. No other military action would be necessary for God to raze Jericho’s defenses. For every man to go in straight before him would ensure they did not get in each other’s way.
What Do You Think?
What’s the single most important thing you can do today to hold yourself accountable to acting as the Lord desires?
Which single Scripture passage convicts you most in this regard? Why?
Joshua 6: 6–14 (not in our printed text) records the obedience of the people, the priests, and the armed men to Joshua’s orders. Emphasized within these verses is his command for the people to remain completely silent until the time to shout. Only the priests’ horns were to be heard.
III. Simple Obedience
(JOSHUA 6: 15–16, 20)
A. Surrounding the City (vv. 15–16)
15–16. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.
The people obeyed everything that Joshua told them from the Lord, with no deviations (see Joshua 6: 12–14). At this time they continued to obey as the procedure changed as noted.
Joshua spoke again as though the Lord had already given them Jericho. This city was being conquered through God’s power, not through Israel’s greatness or might. Though it had not yet happened, it was as good as accomplished.
What Do You Think?
Under what circumstances, if any, should Christians accept credit for something? Why?
How do texts such as Daniel 4: 19–37; John 5: 44; 8: 54; Acts 12: 20–23; 1 Corinthians 3: 6; 11: 1; and 15: 9–11 help frame your answer?
Joshua 6: 17 (not in our printed text) contains a reminder to spare Rahab and her family because of her protecting the spies previously (see Joshua 2). Everything else in the city was dedicated to destruction. No treasure or possession was to be spared for any reason (6: 18–21).
The importance of following directions applied not only to the conquest of Canaan but was to be a central feature of Israelite faith henceforth. It was to be the key not only to conquering the land but also keeping it. The key to remaining in the land would never be found in military might, economic strength, or by mastering the tactics of international diplomacy. It would be found only in continuing to recognize the land as a gift from God and honoring Him as the giver in every phase of life. To fail in this regard was a guarantee that no matter how powerful the army or how strong the economy, the Israelites would surely forfeit the gift God had given them.
B. Seizing the City (v. 20)
20. So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
The people once again followed every command the Lord had given to Joshua (compare Joshua 6: 2–5, above). Although we wonder how many people went up into the city after the wall fell down flat, no record was made. While arguing from silence is often unconvincing, we may guess that numbers are not given because they were not the key to victory. God’s power was.
What Do You Think?
What mental and spiritual guardrails should we have in place before concluding that the misfortunes of unbelievers are God’s doing?
How does distinguishing between what God causes and what He permits aid your answer?
TEARING DOWN WALLS
A wall can have a powerful significance beyond its mere physical presence. The Berlin Wall is a prime example, since it represented the tense relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In 1987, amidst political upheaval in the Eastern Bloc and in the Soviet Union, U. S. President Reagan challenged the Soviet leader: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Two years later, the Berlin Wall came down, and a powerful symbol of fear and division disappeared.
Ancient Jericho relied on a wall surrounding the city to protect its inhabitants from invaders. As individuals, many of us have built walls in our hearts and minds for a similar purpose: to protect our self-esteem, to guard against challenges to our prejudices, etc.
Often such walls end up destroying our relationships with family members and friends. Sometimes those walls are so strong that only the power of God can break them down. What walls have you built in your heart that need to be torn down?—C. R. B.
Consider the faith required to trust and obey God’s directions for conquering the city of Jericho (Hebrews 11: 30). When first hearing the plan, many Israelites may have thought What kind of strategy is this? Who conquers a city with such a battle plan? The answer: God does, and His people do so by faith in Him.
God’s bizarre (to human thinking) plan had an important spiritual lesson to teach the Israelites: Receiving the promised land could only be accomplished on God’s terms. The people were not to compromise, ignore, or tweak the terms in any way. Even though the commands of God were unconventional, those commands were to be obeyed.
Christians do well to remember that God’s commands are still meant to be obeyed without equivocating. Though Christians may disagree about some particulars, we know from Jesus that our first command is to love the Lord (Mark 12: 30), and loving Him involves obedience (John 14: 15). May we obey everything the Lord has revealed to us that we may receive His blessings!
Father, thank You for leading us with Your Word and Your Spirit. May they strengthen our obedience to You! In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
C. Thought to Remember
Victory follows obedience to the Lord.
The Primary Purpose of People Sunday
March 14, 2021
(John 17:20) “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;
If we are Christians, we can thank the Lord Jesus Christ for His prayer. Because His Father answered His prayer, we became Christians. Do so now. Jesus knew that He was about to suffer crucifixion, and He also knew that He would rise from the dead, so Jesus prayed and predicted that others would believe in Him through the testimony of His first disciples—those He set apart to tell the truth about Him, but who fearfully fled the night the soldiers arrested Jesus. Jesus knew that after He rose from the dead and appeared to them that they would gather again and believe that the Father had sent Him. Jesus knew that they would preach His message in truth and in the power of the Holy Spirit—and they did. The Book of Acts tells their early history. Throughout the subsequent centuries, those Jesus prayed for, including all those who study and teach this Bible Lesson in various parts of the world, have received all the blessings that He prayed would flow from His prayer—with more blessings yet to come and more people yet to believe. We believe in Him through the Word of God written, the Holy Bible written by His apostles. Today, His disciples continue to share the truth about Him according to the Scriptures. As we have seen and will see, God the Father answered every part of Jesus’ prayer in John 17. That fact alone gives people enough reason to believe that Jesus taught the truth.
(John 17:21) that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
Jesus prayed that based on His word His disciples throughout the ages might be one. With Jesus as our Leader, King, and Savior, Jesus prayed that all His future disciples might focus on following Him as revealed in the Bible and agree and stay united in love, truth, and purpose based on His words and the words of His disciples in the Bible. Jesus’ prayer is difficult for us to understand, so Jesus gave an example from His relationship with His Father to describe what He meant when He prayed. The oneness Jesus prayed for begins with the oneness the Father and the Son enjoyed, a oneness that did not destroy or absorb their separate, individual, personhood or personalities. Their oneness became an example for Jesus’ first disciples. Jesus’ disciples were one in heart and mind. They were one in love, holiness, justice, and mercy. They were one in purpose and in perfect agreement about how Jesus would save sinners from their sins and grant eternal life to believers. They agreed with Jesus’ words in John 17:3, for Jesus spoke the words the Father gave Him: “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” The oneness that Jesus prayed for centered around the Father and the Son as revealed in the Bible. Jesus did not pray that all His disciples must agree with human leaders who claimed to know God while teaching truths or purposes that the Bible did not reveal. Jesus did not pray for organizational unity. He prayed that His disciples would agree with what the Bible clearly teaches as the Holy Spirit helps them understand, and that requires much humility and prayer on the part of Jesus’ disciples. The unity that Jesus prayed for His disciples must be based on the Bible, the love that they have for one another, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit as Paul described in the Bible. Consider and pray for a Christ-like oneness that could be consistent with these words from the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22-26, “By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.” When disciples of Jesus love, live, speak, and teach according to Bible’s teachings, some in the world will believe that the Father sent Jesus in answer to Jesus’ prayer. The Father and Jesus lived and served together in perfect harmony when Jesus came into the world; therefore, many believed that Jesus came from the true God. Jesus prayed for all His followers to agree in love according to God’s Word; then, some would seek Jesus and Jesus would save those who would believe in Him through them. Jesus did not pray for uniformity of thought and expression with no individuality. Jesus did not pray that all churches must be organized according to the same pattern or Christians must always wear the same type of clothing. Jesus prayed for an inner spiritual unity among His disciples made possible by the Holy Spirit in those who believe the Bible is the true Word of God written. We cannot emphasize too strongly that true Christian unity must be according to the Bible, the Word of God written. Disunity often begins with a departure from the Bible’s teachings.
(John 17:22) “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;
God the Father gave Jesus the power to do the works He did to help people believe in Him, the people that the Father gave Him. The way of life that Jesus revealed also revealed His glory and the glory of God. God the Father gave glory to Jesus. God the Father gave Jesus the life and ministry Jesus had on earth when He sent Jesus into the world. Jesus imparted His glory, His way of life and ministry, to His disciples so they could work perfectly together as the Father and the Son had perfectly worked together so many would believe in Jesus. Jesus’ glory and grace worked through His disciples as the Father and the Son intended. Jesus gave them the glory of God so they could heal the sick, work miracles of compassion, and preach with the power of the Holy Spirit that would help people believe in Jesus. Jesus still gives His disciples glory—unity with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and a way of life, ministry, and purpose especially suited to them.
(John 17:23) 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.
Jesus Christ indwells His disciples. God the Father indwells Jesus. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to indwell His disciples. So, we can truthfully say with the Apostle Paul that we are temples of the living God on earth. In 2 Corinthians 6:16, Paul wrote, “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’” As imperfect as all Jesus’ disciples remain until they see Jesus Christ face-to-face according to the Scriptures, think of each Christian as a loving, living, walking, talking temple of the living God. We are not yet perfect but remember that God is still working within us—the Bible calls this the process of sanctification. The unity that Jesus’ disciples maintain depends on their unity with God, who indwells them and every true disciple of Jesus. Disunity begins with some form of disobedience to God, of Jesus commands as revealed in the Bible. The way Jesus’ disciples love, live, and conform to the will of God revealed in the Bible leads some in the world to understand that the Father sent Jesus into the world.
Because God indwells Jesus’ disciples, believers know from Jesus’ prayer and experience that the Father loves them even as the Father loves Jesus.
The Father and the Son are one divine spiritual essence: as divine Persons they indwell one another and have perfect love and communication, which is truly beyond our human and finite comprehension, but according to the Bible. When Jesus sent (and still sends) His Holy Spirit into His true followers, they know the love of God within them, and some will see the love of God within them as they speak and behave as the true God inspires them; therefore, some come to believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Various verses in the New Testament explain what Jesus meant better than my words. Consider Romans 12:2-10 and think how Jesus fulfilled His Father’s perfect will and how we as His disciples in process of sanctification should love and live too: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.” I suggest you study Romans 12 completely and prayerfully.
(John 17:24) “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
The Father gave Jesus all that He desired in His prayer because Jesus always prayed and prays according to the perfect will of God His Father. In John 14, Jesus promised to prepare a place in heaven for all His followers. Now, He prays that they will be with Him in heaven when the time is right—after they have finished the work that He has for them in the world. Someday, all Jesus’ disciples will see His glory in heaven. They will see the love and the glory He had from His Father before they created the universe.
(John 17:25) “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me;
Many sins and troubles we see in the world today result from many people not knowing God and especially not knowing God as “Righteous” Father. Jesus and His disciples knew God as their “Righteous Father.” In His prayer, Jesus addressed His Father as “Holy Father” and “Righteous Father” (John 17:11 & 17:25). Because the Father sent the Son into the world, who would be glorified when He died on the cross for the forgiveness of sinners, God the Father can be holy and righteous while loving us; that is, by loving repentant sinners who trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Because the Father is holy and righteous, He will declare righteous and restore to righteousness all who believe He sent His Son, Jesus Christ. He will create a new heaven and earth where everything will be made right. Because God is righteous and always does what is perfectly right and loving, and because every person has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, the world situation in Jesus’ day and our day is not as God intends (see Romans 2:12, 3:23 & 5:12). Therefore, He sent Jesus into the world. Because God is righteous and those in the world system are unrighteous, they do not know God the Father or His Son. However, all those the Father sent and sends to Jesus come to know the true God. If we know God the Father, it is because the Father sent Jesus to us and we know Jesus.
(John 17:26) 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.”
Jesus taught the truth that He and the love of God can be in us, in those who believe in Him. The same love that the Father and the Son have for each other indwells everyone who trusts in Jesus with saving faith. Through Jesus, the Bible teaches Jesus’ disciples God’s name. Jesus made the name “Father” known, especially in the Gospel of John. Before His arrest, in Mark 14:36, Jesus prayed, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” Jesus’ disciples know God is their “Father.” The Aramaic name “Abba” means “Father.” Paul explained the use of the name “Abba Father” in Romans 8:15-17, “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” He also wrote in Galatians 4:6, “And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” Disciples of Jesus are the children of God who call God their “Father.” The other name of the Father is “Savior,” and the Father gave Jesus His name, “Savior” (see John 17:11). The meaning of the name “Jesus” is “Savior” and the Father sent Jesus to save all who would believe in Him (see John 3:16). The other Person and divine name of God we know is that of the “Holy Spirit,” the Person that Jesus said He would send into His disciples, who would be another Advocate, Comforter, or Helper like Him. In the process of sanctification, the Holy Spirit saves Jesus’ disciples from committing many sins. By His work, we know that His name is also “Savior.” Remember these words of Jesus in John 14:16, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.” And in John 14:26, Jesus said, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” And in John 15:26, Jesus said, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf.” And in, John 16:7, Jesus said, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” The Holy Spirit and the Truth of God (Jesus) use the Truth of God written (the words of Jesus and His disciples, the Bible), to save people by leading them to believe the Father sent Jesus into the world to grant eternal life to all who trust in Him as Lord and Savior. Remember John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
The Primary Purpose of People Sunday
March 14, 2021
And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them (John 17:26—KJV).
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 17:26—NASB).
I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them (John 17:26—NRSV).
Jesus’ last words in His last prayer for all who would become His disciples through His first disciples’ teachings carry great weight for us. Jesus prayed that we might be His disciples and be in the Father and the Son as the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father. In 1 Corinthians 6:19, Paul wrote that the disciple’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, which includes the Father and the Son for they cannot be separated from the Spirit. In His prayer, Jesus revealed that the Father loves Jesus’ disciples even as He loves Jesus. Envision the
Father loving repentant sinners who believe in Jesus even as He loves His sinless Son! Even more, Jesus prayed that the love with which the Father loved Him would be in His disciples along with His presence within them. Humbly envision Jesus making you so morally and spiritually clean inside that you are fit for God to love you and live in you even as the Father and the Son love and live in one another! From Jesus’ prayer, we learn that Jesus has given all His disciples
work to do, and one of their primary purposes is to love and live in such a way so that “the world may believe that the Father sent Jesus.” To make His point, Jesus said this twice in John 17:21 and John 17: 23! From Jesus’ prayer, we know why God made us: The Father wants to love and live in and through Jesus’ disciples as He does Jesus.
March 14, 2021
1. Who did Jesus pray for in His “High Priestly Prayer” (see John 17)?
2. What did Jesus want the world to believe?
3. What does it mean to you to have the Father and the Son in you?
4. What does it mean to you to be one with the Father and Jesus and with all who believe in the Father and the Son?
5. What does it mean to you to be loved by the Father even as the Father has loved Jesus?
Discussion and Thinking Further
1. Who did Jesus pray for in His “High Priestly Prayer” (see John 17)? Jesus prayed for His disciples who were with Him prior to His arrest. He prayed for all those who would believe in Him through their word. As believers in Him according to His word and their word (that is His word), He prayed for us.
2. What did Jesus want the world to believe? Jesus wanted the world to believe that the Father had sent Him. See also, John 3:16.
3. What does it mean to you to have the Father and the Son in you? Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?” To me it means that I am the temple of God and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit live in me as they do in all Jesus’ disciples. It means They can love and live in and through us to complete their work in us and so we can complete the work They have planned for us to do.
4. What does it mean to you to be one with the Father and Jesus and with all who believe in the Father and the Son? It means to me that all those in the Church can be united in thought, word, and deed with the Father and Jesus according to the plan of Jesus for each disciple and each congregation as He has revealed in His Word written, the Bible.
5. What does it mean to you to be loved by the Father even as the Father has loved Jesus? It means to me more than words can express. It is beyond my comprehension how the Father can love a repentant sinner who believes in Jesus even as He loves Jesus, who never sinned. It is very humbling to know this fact even as I am thankful to know this fact.
The Primary Purpose of People Sunday
March 14, 2021
S C W D B V J Q D N W E G B K
Y A M C G Y L E T E L P M O C
F L G I L U V C O J K C Y E S
O Q Y C K Q M T A P D N Q V M
U H R P G N R F H M S P O P U
N W V X T L B E G I V E N W J
D G O B W R O J H U P T B R N
A S E R D I V R A T X H E I B
T M U W L R M L Y U A N L G K
I E L S Y D O A S H Z F I H S
O R O X E P R W E N O G E T M
N J V Y L J X B G H E D V E Q
D G E P X R Q U I W L U E O C
S R D F C H N A M E T O Q U A
Z H P Q P W S U C A D Y Z S N
True and False Test
The Primary Purpose of People Sunday
March 14, 2021
Circle the True or False answers. Correct the False statements by restating them.
1. Jesus prayed only on behalf of His eleven disciples and the Apostle Paul. True or False
2. Jesus also prayed on behalf of those who would believe in Him through the word of His disciples. True or False
3. Jesus prayed that all those who believed in Him would be in the Father and the Son so that the world might believe that the Father sent Him. True or False
4. Jesus retained the glory that the Father had given Him for himself. True or False
5. Jesus prayed that those who believed in Him may become completely one so that the world may know that the Father sent Him. True or False
6. The Father loves those who believe in Jesus even as He loves Jesus. True or False
7. Someday, those who believe in Jesus will be with Him and see His glory. True or False
8. The Father did not love Jesus until after He did a really good job in creating the world. True or False
9. The world knows that God is the Righteous Father, so the world loves the Father and does righteous deeds most of the time. True or False
10. Jesus prayed that the love with which the Father loved Him might be in those who believe in Him. True or False
True and False Test Answers
Father, thank You for leading us with Your Word and Your Spirit. May they strengthen our obedience to You! In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.