Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Before we were even born...Christ prayed for us!

John 17: 20 – 24 (The Message) “I'm praying not only for them but also for those who will believe in me because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind— Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, So they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, so they'll be as unified and together as we are— I in them and you in me. Then they'll be mature in this oneness, and give the godless world evidence that you've sent me and loved them in the same way you've loved me. Father, I want those you gave me to be with me, right where I am, so they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me, having loved me long before there ever was a world.

The evening meal in the upper room was over and Jesus had humbled himself and washed the disciples’ feet to leave them with a lasting impression of serving all. His final words to them were encouraging. “By trusting in me you will be unshakable, assured and deeply at peace. Yet, in this godless world you will experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world.” (John 16:33 TM)
The lesson now finished, Jesus turned his eyes to the Father and began to pray. His prayer was three-fold; for Himself, his disciples, and for those followers still to come. Did you catch that? Even before Jesus went to Calvary to forever cancel our sin debt, He prayed for followers still to come. You and I were a part of that prayer. With everything going on that night, he had us on his mind. He prayed that we would be one (or in unity) just as he and the Father were in unity. To better understand what it means to be in unity I had to go back to Noah Webster’s 1829 Dictionary.

U'NITY, n The state of being one; oneness. Unity may consist of a simple substance or existing being, as the soul; but usually it consists in a close junction of particles or parts, constituting a body detached from other bodies. Unity is a thing undivided itself, but separate from ever other thing.

As I thought about what it means to be in unity based on the definition above, Jesus’s desire was for the disciples to be a powerful witness to God’s love. “God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17 NIV) Yes the disciples were individual people, but they were united with a common purpose; to be “his witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NIV) The disciples were focused on what they had to do. What a job they did reaching their known world for Christ; wouldn’t you agree?
As Jesus continued to pray for future believers, he prayed for them to “be mature, and give the godless world evidence that you've sent me and loved them in the same way you've loved me.” Evidence? What evidence do we have today to show people that God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to die for our sin so we don’t have to? We follow the example that Jesus set for us while he walked this earth, and love the way he loved. We also use our words to build each other up instead of tear each other down. We can be genuine. We work together in humility and give of our time, talent and treasures. There are so many things we can do to show God’s love in action. People are watching even when we think they’re not. As believers we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. We need to learn how to listen and go where he leads us. God is at work and will reveal himself through us if we allow ourselves to be available.

Father, help me to be mature and give this world evidence of your love in my life. Help me to love and serve the way you did. Help me cross boundaries so that I can build bridges to people that are in desperate need of you. Help me to always show your love in action. Amen

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