“…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:21
Where there is unity in the church…
Jesus is made known,
people take notice,
and God is glorified.
Jesus invites us into oneness with Him and unity with one another that should blow our minds, change our hearts, and shape our lives.
This oneness is completely unique - wholly held and known in God’s relationship with Himself. That should blow our minds.
This oneness is completely miraculous - perfected and brought together through the finished work of the gospel. That should change our hearts.
This oneness is completely life-changing: carving out new priorities, new perspective and new purposes. That should shape our lives.
"As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” John 17:18
Our children head back to school next week and Megan and I find ourselves keenly aware that, in our house, there aren’t too many “first day of schools” left.
And so, like many parents, we pray…
...for their protection.
...that they would have a few great friends who know them well and know Jesus well.
...that they would know they have real purpose.
...that they wouldn’t forget where they came from and who they are in Christ.
Amazingly, Jesus prayed these same prayers over his disciples as well! He asked that His followers would be protected, that they would walk in unity, that they would know they'd been sent with a purpose, and that they’d remember to whom they belong.
"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."
Ever wonder what Heaven is like? I sure do, although I often wonder if Heaven is given a bad rap. It seems like for a lot of people the idea of heaven involves a cloud, a harp, some wings, and singing in the choir 24 hours a day. Now I love music, but that sounds more like torture to me!
In John 17, as Jesus' life on earth was about to come to an end, He stops and prays. This week we'll look at the beginning of that prayer and once again how Jesus flips the script on how we view relationships, obedience, and especially eternal life.
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” - Luke 23:24
There’s nothing more honest or revealing than the prayers of a dying man. His focus is sharpest. His priorities are clearest. His words are most candid.
The same was true for Jesus as He hung on the cross.
In the gospels, we read seven phrases uttered by Jesus as he hung on the cross. Half of them are prayers.
Through them we see Jesus:
authenticate His passion,
assert His purpose,
acknowledge His provision,
and affirm OUR promise.
Join us this week as we continue our journey through Jesus’ prayers and study His prayers from the Cross.
And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying,
“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass form Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”
Prayer catapults us onto the frontier of real life. It is original research in unexplored territory. It is prayer that brings us into the deepest and highest work of the human heart.
Real prayer is life giving and life transforming. To pray is to change. Prayer is a central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, or don’t think we need anything, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives.
By praying we will begin to think God’s thoughts, hear His word, and trust His will. We will begin to desire the things He desires, and to love the things He loves.
And we will begin to more often pray “not my will, but Your will be done.”
"Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” - John 12:27-28
Sometimes we are tempted to look around at the world and ask, “Who’s at the wheel? Is there really a plan in all of this? God, are you really in control? Do you know what you're doing?" It's a feeling that makes us want to either grab control for ourselves, or completely withdraw and throw in the towel. Both can be equally destructive.
But gratefully Jesus has a plan called the church. He has a purpose called the cross....and he has the power to call all people to himself.
In John 11, Jesus prays “for the sake of the crowd, that they may believe that you [God] sent me"
So, who was Jesus and why was he sent?
Was he a role-model for us to follow?
A teacher for us to learn from?
A healer to make us feel better?
An activist so we don’t have to be poor?
Or a revolutionary to bring us freedom?
Make no mistake, Jesus possesses all of these characteristics and much more!
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”
Over the next several weeks, we’re going to be journeying through the prayer life of Jesus:
What do His prayers teach us about His person?
What do they teach us about His character?
How do they give us insight into His relationship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit?
In what ways do they reveal His heart for me, for you, and even for His Church as a whole?
Join us this week as we learn the difference between the child-ISH faith we can easily fall into and the child-LIKE faith that God so greatly desires for our lives.