Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Private Public Prayer of Jesus

During my daily prayer time, I get business done and I don’t invite others. It is a time when I come before the throne and call a spade, a spade. I confess things that I would not tell anyone. I ask God to show me my warts and I weep over them. It is well…messy, in the best way. So, I understand prayer as intimate. You would know A LOT about me if you were a fly on the wall.

So, as I read it, John 17 is a private, although public, moment between Jesus and the Father. He is about to be betrayed and arrested, and He prayed. By the time that you reach it, this is almost a love story to the ones who believe in Him and the Father. I think that in a moment like this, it is really important to hang off of His words because we…now…are mentioned in it.

First he prayed for the disciples, not just the twelve but those who had become believers in His time on earth. He had been here protecting them. Now He would be gone. He prayed for God to intervene and protect them. He prayed this so that they would be one, like the Son and the Father, like the vine grower and the vine. We need protection from this world to remain one, the branch in the vine. If you have ever been on a committee, in a club, in a church or on a mission trip, you understand this.

Next, we see wonderful evidence of the One who loves them. He is going so His joy is made complete in his disciples. What a time to talk about joy. In the next chapter Jesus is betrayed. We miss this key element of faith sometimes, but it was so important that Jesus prayed over joy before His death on the cross. We are to have His joy, John 17:13, “But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves [or among themselves].”

Here is a big one, Jesus prays for the disciples’ protection, but not just so that they can be one…in other words protection between themselves. Jesus prays for protection from the evil one. This is a threat that we cannot ignore. It is something that Jesus knows His disciples would contend with and we contend with it. I once heard to be careful if I didn’t see the devil running around because he might be walking along side of me (horrible paraphrase).

Lastly for the disciples, John 17:17-19, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.” Jesus wants for the disciples to have their eyes open. He wants for them to be deep in the word, because they are going to be out there, in the world. To apply this to today…there is no way that we will survive out there if we are not sanctified by the word in our homes and hearts.

And here it is…the very next sentence is where we come in, two thousand years later. John 17:20, “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word”. We came from the words of Jesus to the disciples. Again, Jesus asks that we will be one. That we will know that God is one, the only one, who sent Jesus Christ to earth. Amen. Amen.

This is how Jesus said it, John 17:23, “I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” He wants us to be completely one, the Father, the Son, and each other so that the world will see that God loves us like He loves His own Son. I say again, God loves us like He loves Jesus.

I was speaking to a friend of mine and we were talking about letting God love us. There is a lie that comes straight from the evil one that we are unlovable or undeserving. Hear this, God already loves us this much. There is nothing that we can do about that. He is constant, while we are buying into lies. Jesus wants for us to be so completely one with Him that we will get the fact that we are loved…and the world will know it because that is what people are looking for. Then we have the chance to multiply through His words.

Finally, and I consider this completely over the top, like the cherry on the sundae. He wants for us to see His glory. Oh, Lord, let us see your glory! That is exciting. It isn’t enough that he wants us to be safe, joyful, one (God, Son and believers), sanctified in truth, and loved. He wants for us to be around for the glory of Him. Saying all of this is just decadent.

Since these are the things that Jesus desired for us, where are they in our lives? Are we one; are we joyful, do we know that we are loved? Just something to think about today…

Father, thank you for your generosity and extravagance. Thank you for calling us your own from this rich legacy. Show us what is offered to us that we push away or can’t believe. Give us wisdom and belief where we lack it.

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