WEEK TWO, DAY TWO, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE COMPANION
WEEK TWO THEME: PRAYER
DAY TWO TITLE: THE GOD OF PRAYER
SCRIPTURE: JOHN 17:1-16
SCRIPTURE SNIPPET: “When Jesus finished saying these things, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that the Son can glorify you. You gave him authority over everyone so that he could give life to everyone you gave him. This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent. I have glorified you on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I shared with you before the world was created.”
PONDERINGS: Jesus’ prayer here tells us a lot about his understanding of himself. He knows Who and Whose He is. He is the Son of the Father, the one true God, and being so he has been given authority over everyone given to him along his earthly journey. Jesus states that he has completed the work that he had been sent to Earth to accomplish. He is now ready to return to the same glory he shared with the Father before the world was created. He has been and is being faithful to his mission and with the followers he has been given and before returning to glory hands them back over to the Father unharmed, seasoned, ready and obedient believers. The mission he left Glory for is now complete!
His prayer for his followers is filled with love and excitement for all that will be for them – how they will too be one with God the Father and God the Son in eternal life. Jesus defines eternal life as knowing God – the only true God – and Jesus Christ sent by God. By this Jesus makes it clear that once in relationship with the Father and the Son, eternal life has begun. Amazing Grace for certain! Perfection has not been reached – utopia is not here, we are not back in the Garden of Eden, but eternal life has begun through salvation! Praise God!!!
Jesus is pleased to offer back to God all that he has been given in his human life as delightful gifts full of promise and eternal life. …All but one – “the one destined for destruction – so that scripture would be fulfilled“… this portion of the scripture obviously refers to Judas who betrayed Jesus. Was Judas predestined for this? Does this scripture portion indicate predestination? Did Jesus pick Judas just so that Judas could play a role in Jesus’ final act of love on the cross? Or does it lead to the understanding that not all who hear will be saved? Does it make room for the ever present free will that never leaves us? The free will to grab hold and try to force our own desires, our own will above God’s will in our lives. Is Judas that “one in every crowd” who just can’t grasp his calling or embrace Jesus as he is. Could it just as easily have been Peter or Nathaniel? There was one time for sure that Jesus scolded Peter, “Get thee behnd me, Satan”… Just as I experience real temptation many times, did Judas give into temptation at just that most crucial of times. I know that Judas was sorrowful afterwards for his act and participation. I feel Judas had envisioned a much different outcome…and felt he had to “force” the situation. However, scripture will be fulfilled… human nature is such that Jesus could not go on in such radical love without ending up on the cross and Judas simply became the fulfillment of scripture due to his own unwillingness to fully get on board with Jesus and believe both in Jesus and the Father. Our scepticism can keep us from experiencing our eternal life while we wait on all the stars to line up the way we want them too first – a type of waiting that simply will not ever be realized in this life. Jesus came close for Judas, but Judas could not fully commit to Jesus’ ways and therefore left the door of temptation open just enough to become the traitor.
Jesus prays his intercessor’s prayer on behalf of those disciples then and forever who have committed to all the ways of Jesus – true followers in relationships with God and one another. Now, as he is humanly about to depart from them, he prays that they will be kept safe and continue in the path they have begun together even in Jesus’ physical absence. Jesus doesn’t just pray for this, he believes it will be so. He doesn’t pray hopefully, he prays expectantly. He sees the “greater” things that they will be able to do in their mission and ministry and He prays to that end. Jesus prays all this in his own name – he says, “Holy Father, watch over them in your name, THE NAME YOU GAVE ME, that they will be one just as we are one.” We are taught to pray in Jesus’ name, and he is doing so here himself. It’s the name given to him by His Father, it is a holy name representing his role within the perfect Trinity.
There is much to learn here about prayer, about eternity, about Kingdom living in this life and about God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Lord, help us embrace our role in your Kingdom and go about it with wreckless abandon and radical love for You, remaining faithful to you every step of the way. Help us to live into Jesus’ anticipation and understanding of how we fit into your eternal work. Continually equip us to do your calling on our lives with open minds and eager spirits.
Jesus, thank your for being faithful to the task given you. Thank you for leaving glory for our sake and to show us how to live in your Kingdom regardless of what is going on around us. Help us to be faithful too! Amazing Love!