Thursday, August 4, 2016

John 17

In John Chapter 17, Jesus prays for his disciples.  This prayer is not the prayer of agony in Gethsemane, as John tells us in the next chapter that they crossed the Kidron Brook and entered into the garden.

So here is Jesus, still in the upper room with 11 of the 12 apostles.  Judas is off about his business and the others are busily talking about the revelations Jesus has just told them.  Maybe they are finally beginning to understand the political ramifications of their friend's ministry.  They feel distraught over Judas' exit and Peter's predicted denial.

And Jesus begins to pray.  As His time of torment nears, He prays for those close to Him.  I don't feel he would have spoken loudly.  I imagine His voice being relatively soft, slightly above a whisper.  I'm sure John heard, leaning against His master.  And maybe Peter turned an ear.  I can see the fisherman shushing the tax collector when Matthew asks, "What is the teacher saying?"

So Jesus prays for His friends.  He asks His Father to keep them safe, 'by the power of Your name'.  Not one was lost, except the one who would betray.  I believe Jesus ached for the soul of Judas despite the sin he was about to commit.

And when He is done thanking His Father for the roomful of friends, for those who have just shared a Passover meal, He prays for us.  Those of us who will stumble and fail.  Those of us who will question God for every trial we experience.  Those of us who will bring His light into the dankest corners of the world.  He prays for us.

In the moments before His final hours He prays for you and me, knowing we will deny His name and betray Him on a daily basis.  We are the ragtag members of society that Jesus saw in His prayer.  The dregs who stand barefoot on a dusty Jerusalem street desperate for His grace.

So here is the point.  When you doubt that He loves you, read verses 20 to 26 in this chapter and know that in His darkest hour, His thoughts were set on you.

Otto Greiner Betende Hände

"I pray not only for them, but also for those who believe in me because of their message." 
John 17:20 (GNT)

copyright 2016 - Donald P James Jr 

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