Thursday, December 27, 2007

Jesus' High Priestly Prayer

Over this Christmas/Advent season I have tried to not focus on Jesus the baby, but on Jesus the Saviour, who came to die for us. This morning I went back to my regular readings provided by Bibleplan and they directed me to John 17, where Jesus prays for his people.

Wow....what a prayer to read through after the rush of the Christmas season is over.

Jesus, God's son....prayed this high priestly prayer for us to God.
1When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Jesus knows himself that soon he will die. That soon he will be used to give eternal life to all who believe in him (as Jesus puts all whom you have given to him). And what is eternal life? To know the only true God and Jesus Christ who was sent.

6 "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

Jesus asks God to keep his people safe when he is no longer with them. He emphasizes how much they belong to him and therefore belong to God. How they need to be kept safe and helped to continue to grow in their knowledge of who He is (sanctified).

20"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just 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 have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

But Jesus also makes it clear, it is not only for these immediate disciples that he prays for, but he prays for all who come after who will believe in Him and in God himself. He wants them so much to be one with each other and one with him, just as he is one with God. Through that oneness the world might know that God sent Christ into the world, and loves them just as he loves his son.

Hmmmm....I have to admit.... I see that line about how our oneness with God and with each other is to be the reason why people turn to God and see the truth of who Christ is....and I think how often we fail. We aren't one. We are so divisive in what we do and how we do. Not that unity should be gained at all costs, but unity is something that the church should very much strive for.

No comments: