Today’s Reading: Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 13:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 17:1-26; Psalm 53
Let’s just soak in the words of Jesus in John 17 as He prayed for his disciples and for us. He knew he was about to be arrested and crucified, yet He was concerned for us and lifting us up to His Heavenly Father. He knew that the world would not like us, that there would be times of persecution and ridicule – so He prayed for God’s protection on us. He knew He was the only way to eternal life – so He died for us.
RECIPIENT OF HIS PRAYERS
After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began. – John 17:1-5
Desiring for those who believe in Him to have eternal life, yet knowing the one way for that to happen was for us to know God, Jesus willingly left heaven and came to earth so that we could get to know God by getting to know Him – that we could find our way HOME. Jesus, knowing our natural struggle to believe, became flesh so that He could personally deliver the message of salvation.
“I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.
“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.” – John 17:6-12
SUBJECT OF HIS PROTECTION
How beautiful the words of our Savior as He prayed for God to protect His followers. How comforting to know that He still prays for that kind of protection over us.
“Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.” – John 17:13-19
RECEIVER OF HIS LOVE
We are so unworthy of the sacrifice Christ made for us. He died so that we can be made holy by God’s truth. He died so that we can experience perfect unity – Christ in us and God in Christ – so that others may see and believe.
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
“I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!
“O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.” – John 17:20-26
Jesus knew that the moment of his arrest was coming. He knew that his time with the disciples was drawing to an end and he prayed for them. He prayed for them and he prayed for us. What a privilege this morning to be a RECIPIENT OF HIS PRAYERS, a SUBJECT OF HIS PROTECTION and a RECEIVER OF HIS LOVE! How overwhelming to know He died so that I can live. How incredible to know that Jesus is still revealing Himself to me. What a great day to be a follower of Christ!
Then, accompanied by his disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”
He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. – Luke 22:39-44
Three times Jesus went back to the disciples and found them sleeping, unable to keep their eyes open. He woke them up and asked them to keep watch and pray. The third time he said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But no – the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!” – Mark 14:41b-42