Friday, March 25, 2016

Jesus Prays for All Believers

Scripture: John 17:20-26

Focus Verses: “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you and they know you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and I will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17:25-26

               Here Jesus prays for those who will believe in Him in the future—you and me.
He asks the Father that we be unified in love for one another. Here again, in today’s world we have many different faith groups, each with its own view of the way to worship God. William Barclay tells us we should love and respect one another.1

               Jesus prays that those future believers (we) receive future glory in proportion to our temporal suffering while on earth. Yes, we will suffer for Jesus while we live for Him as we dwell on earth. Did you notice? He speaks, not of his crucifixion, but of his glorification. The cross would bring Him glory.

               My uncle had a friend who met an untimely exit from this world. He breathed his last as he tried to rescue people from a house that was on fire. When I was a young teen, a neighbor and friend of ours lost her first husband as he acted as a volunteer firefighter in the small own where he worked. He held the ladder for some of the others to go up on the roof of a burning building. I believe the ladder fell and those on the roof looked down and saw our friend lying on the ground. He had a heart attack and passed on while working to help others.

               Both these men reached out to others and tried to help them. I believe the families and anyone who heard these stories were thankful for the efforts these men made.

               In our 21st Century, we see a lot of selfishness and false pride take over people’s lives and actions. When our son planned to move back to Indiana, I asked him to do his mother a favor. I asked him not to move to Indianapolis. Whenever I turned on the news broadcasts, they reported at least one new shooting every day. He likes the small town he chose. He has always liked the area. Right at a year later, he is happy with his choice and so am I. My concern stemmed from my love for him. All those shootings came out of false pride.

  1. Daily Study Bible, the Gospel of John, Vol.2, p.217 ©1975 Westminster Press, Philadelphia

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Jesus Prays for the Disciples
Scripture: John 17:6-19

Focus Verse: “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name yoou gave me—so they may be one as we are one.”
John 17:11 (NIV)

               This is a passage full of Jesus’ deep thoughts about His disciples.

               Jesus prays that He knows God gave Him these men and that they obeyed the Father’s word. The Master prays for them because they belong to God. All things belong to God and to Jesus.

               The Master prays they not be taken out of the world but they be protected from the enemy. William Barclay states, “He never prayed they find escape; he prays they find victory.” 1

Jesus prays for their protection and their unity. “so they may be one as we are one.” (Verse 11c) Barclay states, “Where there are divisions, where there is exclusiveness, where there is competition between churches, the cause of Christ is harmed and the prayer of Jesus frustrated.” 2

               I once heard a pastor tell a group at a prayer meeting there would be no people of his denomination in heaven. I was confused. Then some of the people in the groups responded, “Just believers.” I learned a lot in hearing that one reply.

               Some friends we worshiped with several years later sang a song with their two sons. In the song, it said something like “there aren’t corners labeled with (denominational names).”

               I wonder what God thinks when He looks down at earth and sees so many denominations and then groups that claim to have no ties to any denomination. In addition, what does God think when He sees so many theological practices?
               Please do not get me wrong, we have relatives and who attend churches of other denominations. Some very close friends have family members who belong to another denomination than the rest of them. These friends belong to different faith groups than the one to which I belong. However, we do not talk about our differences in our beliefs. I am thankful that we all worship the one true God.
1.            Daily Study Bible, the Gospel of John vol.2 p.215 © 1975 Westminster Press, Philadelphia.

2.            Ibid p.215

Monday, March 21, 2016

Jesus Prays for Himself

Scripture: John 17:1-5  

Focus Verse: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3 (NIV)

               In this chapter, Jesus spends time in prayer. He sets an example for us. Here He is; His time is getting short and he takes time to pray.

               He begins by praying to the Father for himself. This is a very intimate time between Him and the Father. William Barclay states this intimacy between Jesus and God can only happen because of Calvary.1 He describes the cross as the gateway to everlasting glory.2

               We realize Jesus obeyed the Father by going to Jerusalem; he could have turned back at any time. When Jesus spoke to the disciples he used harsh terms as he prepared them for what lay ahead for them all. Here Jesus speaks of His being glorified and returning to the glory he had before the world began.

               When Jesus speaks of His being ‘glorified’, He is speaking of his being crucified. “For Jesus life had a climax and that was the Cross. To him the cross was the glory of life and the way to the glory of eternity.”3 “The Cross was the glory of Jesus because it was the completion of His work.”4

               Children of God observe and reflect on the crucifixion as when Jesus became sin for us. Had He not chose to be obedient to God; none of us would be deemed sinless and would not be allowed to enter heaven.

1. Daily Study Bible, The Gospel of John, pp.206-207, Westminster Press, Philadelphia © 1975
2. Ibid. p. 207
3. Ibid, p. 204
4. Ibid. p. 205

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...