If you’re looking for a life verse, not that you have to have one, but I encourage you to take John 17:26. Jesus sums up His ministry. He says in verse 25, “Father I have known You, and these have known You, that you sent Me” (Jn. 17:25, paraphrased). If you put a lot of other verses together with this, the idea is that they have known God in a very introductory way.
He goes on in verse 26: “And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (Jn. 17:26). He says, “I have declared to them Your name, and will continue to declare it.” That’s a very interesting phrase. Jesus sums up His earthly ministry in the same way He summed up eternal life. Someone might say, “Give me one sentence on what You did on the earth in Your three and a half years of ministry. How effective was Your ministry, Jesus?”
Someone could say, “Well, He raised the dead.”
Jesus is kind of saying here, “Well, that wasn’t the real highlight of what I did. That’s not the mountaintop. Certainly I did raise the dead, and I healed thousands of people in mass healing crusades, and I calmed the storm. I multiplied bread and fed the multitudes and gave them all kinds of things, but the summary theme of My ministry is that I declared the name of God to human beings. I made God known to humans. I revealed the knowledge of the Father to them. Not only the love of the Father, but His power over Satan, His power over the ocean, His majesty, His omniscience. If I had one sentence to summarize the theme of My three and a half year ministry, it would be that.”
He gives it right there. He tells the Father, “I did what I love to do and what You sent Me to do. I revealed Your name.” In other words, “The essence of your personality I revealed to them.” If Jesus’ ministry is summed up in one sentence, “I have revealed the nature and the personality of God to the human race,” what higher definition or preoccupation could we have than revealing what God is like to the Church or to the world? We can’t reveal what God is like if we never have communion with God. We can reveal a little of what He’s like by virtue of being born again. That’s already a statement.
We want to be a voice and not an echo. We want to have internal, experiential knowledge of the person of God. We don’t want to read a book and get it, that’s only the start. We want to experience God in our secret histories, our private lives in God. We want to say something that’s resonating within us, not something we memorized from a sermon. That’s what I mean by an echo. It’s OK to be an echo, you have to start out there, but there’s more that we have on our hearts as the people of God, if we are pressing in.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD AWAKENS LOVE IN THE HUMAN HEART
Now look at the impact of the knowledge of God upon the human heart. Look at what happens inside the emotional chemistry of people when Jesus declares to them the knowledge of God at the right hand of God through the Holy Spirit, through the preaching of the Word. Jesus is addressing the Father. He says, “That the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (Jn. 17:26). In other words, “Father, they will love Me the way that You love Me. If I reveal the knowledge of God to them, it will so touch their emotional chemistry that they will love Me, Father, like You love Me.”
The knowledge of God awakens love in the human heart. That’s why I go back to my premise statement. It’s clearly the most powerful aspect of the grace of God—the knowledge of God. It’s the thing that Jesus defines as the thing that awakens love in the human heart. I go back to one of my earlier statements: it’s the most neglected issue in the Body of Christ. The greatest deficiency in the kingdom of God is the knowledge of God.
Do you think that’s an accident to Satan’s kingdom? No. His raging accusations have come against God where people haven’t caught the vision for how powerful the discovery of the knowledge of God is in their life, in the church, and in terms of world evangelization. This will be, I believe, the distinction of the end-time church. God will reveal God through the Holy Spirit to the human heart, and it will awaken such fiery passion in them. The only way to describe it is to say that the love with which God loved Jesus is the love with which we will love Jesus. Then we will love one another in the overflow of it. We’re going to love Jesus like God loves Jesus. Isn’t that awesome?
Yeah the more we feed our heart on His love, the more that same tenacious love back to Him is awakened. This is what we want to set our hearts on, talking to Jesus, feeding our hearts on His love, seeking His affections by the Holy Spirit, that we would declare His name to us!