The Soldier Who Felt God’s Hand: John 17:1-3

Paspajak Patrol

This is the fourth post on John chapter 17, and, there’s a reason for needing so many posts to cover one chapter. The reason is, the chapter is just super dense with information from Jesus’ prayer to our Father. And because we’re listening in on a conversation between the God of the universe and His Son, everything said here is super important. So today we’re just going to look at one of the most important of many important statements Jesus made in John 17. (Did I mention it’s important?) If you’re interested, you can check out the previous three posts on this chapter here:

This Is Eternal Life

“. . . you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

John 17:1-3

Jesus states a few facts here. God gave Jesus authority over all flesh, over every human, to give eternal life to anyone God gives to Jesus.

And then Jesus defines eternal life, he says, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

If you haven’t already given yourself to Jesus, so you can experience knowing God, and knowing Jesus, and so you can experience eternal life after your life on planet earth is over, I hope you will.

This morning, as I often do, I was walking to a lake near our house. It was raining and as I entered the park I saw an elderly lady without an umbrella so I offered her mine. She declined. She said she had one in her car. So I turned to continue walking, and as I did I said, “God bless you.”

I’m not sure why I said that. I rarely say “God bless you” to strangers. But this time I did. The words just sort of came out of my mouth before I knew what I was saying. Sort of like when a friend knows I’m traveling somewhere and he says, “Have a good trip.” And before I can stop the words from coming out of my mouth, I say, “You too!” Even though I know he’s not going anywhere. Have you ever done that?

Anyway, I said, “God bless you.”

And she said, “God bless you too.”

And then she said, “That makes me so happy to hear you say that.”

I turned back and walked toward her, and said, “Are you a believer?”

And she went on to tell me her testimony, how she accepted Christ in 1952 at a Billy Graham crusade in Portland, Oregon, and how, even now, after all these years, she’s still trying to become a better Christ follower. We introduced ourselves to each other. Her name is June Kessler.

And then she shared this story:

Her grandson Alex was 22 years old when he was deployed to Afghanistan. The last time June saw him, he was in the house getting ready to leave.

June said, “Alex, you know your grandma prays for you, don’t you?”

“Alex turned and smiled,” June said. And there was something about the way she said, “smiled.” A smile of her own crossed her face when she said it. I could tell she was remembering Alex’s smile. It just struck me, the expression of love on her face when she said he smiled.

So Alex, he turned and smiled, and he said, “I know grandma.”

June said, “Alex, do you feel the hand of God on your shoulder?”

Alex said, “Yes, I do.”

And then he left.

One day while he was in Afghanistan, Alex took off his helmet to use it as a pillow, so he could lay down and rest. But just after he removed it, he heard an Afghani shouting something in the distance. He raised his head to have a look and they were waiting for him. They shouted hoping he would look, just as he did. They shot him in the head. And that was it. Alex was gone. The question is, where did he go to?

So June’s last words to Alex were, “Alex, do you feel the hand of God on your shoulder?”

And Alex’s last words to June were, “Yes, I do.”

June shared that Alex felt the hand of God on his shoulder because he had already given himself to Jesus when he was 12 years old.

Alex’s story reminds me of how precarious our lives are. Every day I read about COVID-19. Yesterday the WHO raised the mortality rate another 3.4%.  The mortality rate for the regular flu is around 0.1%. I know of a teen-age boy who died from the flu. And I have another friend who was in his early thirties who died of the flu. Some say we’re panicking for nothing but whether it’s truly deadly or not, the COVID-19 outbreak reminds us of the fragility of life. Tomorrow’s not guaranteed for anyone.

Have you already given yourself to Jesus? Do you know what it’s like to know the only true God, and the one He sent, Jesus the Christ?

I hope you do.

God hopes you do!

I hope you give yourself to Christ, while you still can.



Some names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Image of lone soldier in Afghanistan via Wikimedia Commons —  Public Domain


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One Comment on “The Soldier Who Felt God’s Hand: John 17:1-3

  1. Pingback: 7 Things Jesus Wants: John 17 | God Running

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