Pastor Kirk

Reflections from a spiritual pilgrim in Toledo, Ohio

God's will

Jesus Prays For Himself & His Disciples, John 17:1-19, 28 July 2013

Big Idea: We can learn much from listening to someone’s prayers.

Introduction

Have you ever eavesdropped on a conversation? Why? Perhaps you wanted to obtain some secret information or learn what is being said behind your back.

I believe you can learn much about a person by eavesdropping…on their prayers! I love listening to people pray because it often expresses their deepest thoughts and feelings, especially when those prayers are unedited.

Children are, of course, the greatest example of this. Their prayers are brutally honest. Imagine overhearing some of these actual prayers from kids:

"Dear God, I went to this wedding and they were kissing right there in church. Is that OK?"

"Dear God, thank You for the baby brother but what I prayed for was a puppy."

"Dear God, it must be super hard to love all the people in the world, especially my brother. I don't know how You do it."

"Dear God, I love Christmas and Easter. Could you please put another Holiday in the middle, there's nothing good in there now."

"Dear God, are you actually invisible or is that just a trick?"

"Dear God, I want to be just like my daddy when I grow up but without so much hair all over."

"Dear God, I wish you would not make it so easy for people to come apart I had to have 3 stitches and a shot."

"Dear God, did you mean for giraffes to look like that or was it an accident?"

"Dear God,maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they each had their own rooms. It works out OK with me and my brother."

"Dear God, I heard the moon was made of cheese. Tonight half of it is missing. Did you get hungry?"

"Dear God, if You can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it. I'm having a real good time like I am!"

"Dear God, I say your prayer every night, 'lead us not into temptation and deliver us some e-mail' but I never get an e-mail from you. Do you have my right address?"

John 17

Today we turn to the seventeenth chapter of John, one of four biographies of Jesus. If you have a red-letter Bible with Jesus’ words in red, you’ll notice this entire chapter is a quote, but unlike His teachings, this is a record of His prayer to the Father before His arrest and crucifixion, the longest prayer in the Bible.

In Deuteronomy 32-33 we read Moses’ farewell prayer and Jesus’ here is similar.

The prayer has three sections that have parallel themes. We will look at the first two parts of the prayer today—Jesus’ prayer for Himself and His disciples—and examine His prayer for us in two weeks.

What is the LORD’s Prayer? It’s not “Our Father.” That is what He taught His followers to pray, but it was not His prayer. He had no sins to to be forgiven.

This is the prayer of our LORD Jesus Christ, a prayer that will summarize Jesus’ heart and ministry.

Jesus Prays For Himself

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

Before we look at His words, notice His posture. For some reason, evangelical Christians tend to ignore our bodies when we pray, yet people from other traditions and even religions are conscious of the physical when they engage the spiritual. It says that Jesus looked toward heaven, a common Jewish prayer posture. Although it is not explicit in the text, He likely raised His hands as well (Ex. 9:33; 17:11; Ps 28:2).

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. (1-5)

Prayer is not about you. It’s about the Father, our loving Father. Jesus’ Aramaic title for God was
Abba. He’s Daddy. Even the adult children of my friend, Clark, call him Papa. I love that! It’s not a distant, formal “Father” but Daddy. He’s the focus. Jesus prays first for Himself. We can pray for ourselves, too.

What do you need? What do you want? Tell Daddy!

My kids have developed the ability to communicate what they want/need!

Jesus prays to the Father and knows it is time for Him to die.

The hour comes for all of us, our hour of suffering and/or death. We usually pray that suffering doesn’t come. Where do you go when you face trials? Alcohol, food, sex, gossip,…the best place to go is to your Daddy.

Jesus didn’t pray, “Get me out of this” but rather “get me through this.”

If you’re going to suffer, don’t waste it! Use it to honor and glorify God. To glorify means to praise or bring homage. Jesus was preparing for the cross, the most shameful place imaginable, yet for Jesus a place of honor as He is obedient to the Father’s mission.

Jesus has been given all authority…all authority! He even has the authority to forgive sins and reconcile sinners with their heavenly Father.

An integral part of our mission is the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20. The key to the commission is to make disciples, but we are only able to make disciples because Jesus has all authority.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Notice that “eternal life” comes from knowing God—not possessing knowledge about God as the religious leaders did, but rather the Hebrew knowing which includes experience and intimacy, obedience and love for God.

In verse five, Jesus clearly states He was with the Father in the beginning, Genesis 1:1, before the world began. Only God has glory (Isaiah 42:8).

Jesus prays for Himself, that He would suffer so sinners would know and follow Him.

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. (6-8)

Here again we see this intimate relationship between Jesus and Daddy.

Verse 9 shifts to His followers. We see Him speaking like a shepherd about to lay down His life for His sheep.


Jesus Prays For His Disciples

I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.
All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. (9-12)

The word “world” in the Greek has several different meaning. Here it’s not that Jesus doesn’t love everyone—He will die for everyone—but that He doesn’t love the world’s system that hates Him.

Here again we see the intimate, shared relationship between the Father and Son.

Protect them. Jesus knows that there is a very real enemy that wants to steal, kill and destroy (Jn 10:10). Sheep without a shepherd are especially vulnerable. Daddies know their kids and keep an eye on them. God’s a good Daddy.

Make them one. There is one God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This prayer for unity will be echoed later. A house divided cannot stand. The goal is not unity for unity’s sake, though, but rather a common focus, mission, and relationship with the Father. We are to reconciled to God and to one another as Christians. Sometimes we fight and sin against one another but unity is God’s desire for us.

Many people in our culture see everything through the lens of “me.” What’s in it for me?

Jesus wants us to glorify Him first and think “we” next. Families have to love and submit to one another. Jesus prays that we are one.

What about Judas? He betrayed Jesus and hung himself. Judas never loved Jesus. He stole money from Jesus and sold Him out for thirty pieces of silver (see Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 27).


“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. (13-19)

The mark of the Christian is joy, not the pursuit of happiness. As we said last week, joy comes from the Holy Spirit. It is not dependent upon our circumstances. When, not if, we suffer and die, it can glorify God and be used to grow us and others. Joy only comes from the LORD. Jesus said in chapter sixteen that He would send the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). The world is not where we find joy, but where we love and serve others. This world is not our home.

Jesus prays that He would suffer well and that His disciples would suffer well.

We can’t do everything. We need wisdom to know how to live within our many limits.

Again He prays that the Father would protect them.

His final prayer is that they be sanctified, separated, made holy for a divine mission.

“For them” Jesus was sanctified and set apart. He was about to give His life for His followers…and us.

Conclusion

Jesus’ prayers reveal His true heart and mission. He wants to glorify the Father, Daddy. He affirms His deity and intimacy with the Father as one-third of the Trinity, one God in three Persons. He underscores what it means to know God and have eternal life. Joy, mission and unity are strong themes, and finally sanctification, being set apart.

We live in the now and the not yet, citizens of heaven yet residents of earth, called on mission to be in the world and love the people of the world but not become of the world and its systems and values that refuse to glorify God.

We are in the midst of a very real tension between heaven and earth, good and evil. In this life we will have trouble, Jesus said in the previous chapter, yet when we fix our eyes and hope on Jesus, we can pursue His mission for His glory.

Credits

Some ideas from The High Priestly Prayer sermon by Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church and The NIV Application Commentary, John by Gary Burge.

You can listen to the Scio podcast here. You can also subscribe to our podcast here.

It's Time! John 12:20-36, 21 April 2013

Big Idea: Do people see Jesus in you?

Introduction

We’re in the middle of a series studying the Gospel of John, a biography of Jesus written by one of His best friends, John.

Before we begin, I want to remind you of the context. We are going back to before the crucifixion where Jesus has just raised Lazarus from the dead.

Like a movie that has flashbacks, the next few weeks will seem like a step back in time, but keep in mind these events occur prior to Good Friday.

Palm Sunday has passed, the crowds have welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem, and now we begin at John 12:17...

Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” (12:17-19)

John 12:20-36

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. (12:20-22)

Why would Greeks worship at the Passover feast? They may have been what we would call attendees rather than members. Most likely they were God-fearers repelled by the nationalism and requirements of Judaism, such as circumcision (can you blame them?!). They were Gentiles that had obviously heard about Jesus. Everyone in the region had heard about Jesus!

Notice their request:
we would like to see Jesus.

I believe this is the cry of the human heart today. People struggle with identity. They struggle with anthropology—what it means to be human. Jesus is the ultimate example for us. He is the perfect human. He is the wisest man to ever walk the planet, the smartest man in human history, and the fullest expression of what we were created to become.

Jesus’ mission was not only to die and resurrect; it also included a demonstration of abundant life lived out for thirty three years.

It’s easy to call Jesus our
Savior. Anyone faintly aware of their sin is quick to receive grace and salvation, salvation only He offers (Acts 4:12). But Jesus is more than our Savior.

He is also our
Healer. We all like that, too. Who doesn’t like free health care?

Jesus is our
coming King. That means He is LORD. When you serve a lord, you give up all of your rights and freedoms to become essentially a slave to your master. This quickly gets uncomfortable, doesn’t it? The good news is that He is a benevolent King, a LORD who loves us and wants our very best. He’s not out to get us and use and abuse us, but He is still King and bids us to come and die…but we’ll get there in a moment.

Jesus is also our
sanctifier, meaning He wants us to be transformed and become more human—more like the ultimate Human, Jesus Himself. He wants us to be free from sin and be set apart for His purposes.

Most USAmerican Christians show little evidence in their lives that they have been separated from sin.
Most USAmerican Christians behave in ways that make it difficult to believe that they have been “set apart” for the service of God.

The people want to see Jesus. Today, people want to see Jesus. They may not say it that way. They may say they want to experience meaning and purpose, they long for a better world, they know this world is broken, and they wonder whether anyone really cares.

This past week in Boston we were reminded just how broken our world really is, and each day there are countless people searching ever more fervently for the Truth.

They struggle with issues of value, identity, and worth. They need to see a life well-lived, and no one has lived a better life than Jesus.

How can people see Jesus today? It has been said that you are the only Bible many will ever read. Jesus entrusted the Kingdom of God to us. We’re it!
When people get connected to you, do they see Jesus?

If people were looking for you, what would you say? Here I am?!

Notice Jesus’ response...

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. (12:23-26)

These people are looking for Jesus and He talks about seeds, plants, life, death, servants, and masters. Huh? Verse 32 will help us understand, but notice these stories.

These four verses are so powerful. Jesus says die…so you can live. What a paradox!

Remember, we know what follows, but His disciples are largely clueless about His talk of death.

The people are looking for Jesus, and He says if they want to see Him, they must know Him, and they know Him by dying, being planted, risking everything. In Romans 6, this picture of being planted is presented as dying with Christ in baptism and faith. Baptism is such a great image—we enter the water to die in a water grave and then we are resurrected to new life in Christ. Jesus wants everything. He wants you to die—not to harm you, but so that you may truly live.

Many times previously Jesus has said that it was not yet time.
Now is the time. These are the final days before His death. It’s no wonder He continues...

“Now my heart 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!” (12:27-28a)

Jesus’ time has finally arrived and He is…troubled! The Word that became flesh is troubled. Does that surprise you? His soul is horrified by what He is about to face.

Notice it’s not about Him, though. It’s about glorifying the Father. Jesus sets the example for us yet again, seeking to glorify God the Father. He was willing to do whatever necessary to ensure God was glorified.

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. (12:28b-29)

Can you imagine hearing an audible voice from heaven? This wasn’t the first time (e.g. Luke 3:22; 9:35).

It’s fascinating how some thought it was thunder or an angel. What does the Word of God sound like to you?

Jesus said, “Father, glorify Your Name” and the Father said He would be glorified by the Son.

Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. (12:30-33)

The prince of this world, satan, looked like the victor on Good Friday, but it was actually his greatest defeat. Over the next few weeks as we look at the days before the cross, we’ll see satan repeatedly. If you’ve seen the film
The Passion of the Christ, you surely remember the multiple times satan appears.

Jesus was lifted up on the cross and also later during His ascension into heaven.

Jesus will draw all men, Jews and Gentiles, men and women, young and old. For God so loved the whole world that He gave His Son, Jesus.

The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?” (12:34)

They were expecting Messiah to overthrow the government. They never imagined the government would overthrow and crucify Him.

Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them. (12:35-36)

Throughout His ministry, Jesus was in complete control, not because He was belligerent, but rather because He was following the Father’s will and timing.

His message to the twelve is the same message to us: follow Me. Trust Me. Surrender to Me. Die so you may live.
It’s time!

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