Thursday, 30 May 2019

Jesus' Final Prayer

Scripture:  John 17 v 1 - 5: "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
 2  As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
 3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
4  I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
 5  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."

Throughout His life on Earth Jesus communicated with His Father in Heaven, sometimes He would spend all night alone with His Father praying and receiving answers, confirmations, visions, words to meet every need.

The Father sent Jesus here from a place called Heaven which is our home.  We came from there originally and will return there if we have overcome the evil of this present world and resisted sin.  Heaven is a beautiful place without sin, sickness or death.

We were separated from there to here because of Satan and sin and how we got contaminated by it.  It brought disease and death, hatred and war, depravity and destruction even to the first of our kind, and to every soul that ever lived in a human body, except for One.

Jesus was born without sin.  He is and was perfect every way.  He came to give us a better than average chance of survival, even for the weakest among us.  There was only one way sin could be conquered. Jesus had to take it on fully and let it kill Him.

The first phase of this act of love was the forty day temptation by the devil in the Wilderness when Jesus fasted the whole time drinking water only.  He withstood every temptation using the power of the Word of God as His sword.  In an interesting parallel, the Hebrews travelled through and area called the Wilderness of Zin, during their Exodus from Egypt, which took forty years.

The second phase was in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus knew He had been betrayed and it was time to suffer and die.  He went to commune with His Father even to the anguish of asking if the cup of agony could pass from Him, but He said, Nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done.  Perfect submission to the Father.

Then He was arrested and whipped with 39 lashes across His back.  The whips contained metal hooks that ripped the flesh from His Body... The Word says By His stripes we are healed.  There is a whiplash for every category of disease.  Believe it and receive healing.

On the Cross He became a magnet that drew every human spirit into Himself.  The dead, the living, those not yet born, we all became one with Him.  He said if I be lifted up I will draw all men unto Me.  We were crucified with Him.  He downloaded our sins onto Himself because the wages of sin is death.  It was His choice and His plan all along.

The thief on the Cross next to Him cried, Lord, when You come into Your Kingdom, remember me!  Jesus answered, This day you will be with Me in Paradise.  Paradise is the compartment of Hell where the righteous dead stayed, and Jesus was going to fetch them.  The thief was probably the last to go there before Jesus died.  He would have told the inhabitants of Paradise something like, You will never guess Who is about to be in our midst!

Jesus made Himself known to them, and we were in Him when He died and went into the lower parts of the Earth.  He whipped Satan broken and took from him the keys (authority) of Hell and Death.  Colossians 2 v 12 - 15: "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
 13  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
 14  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
 15  And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."

Then He and all the believing dead, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Noah, David, the Prophets rose with Him out of Abraham's Bosom into the presence of His Father.

John 20 v 1: "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."
Ephesians 4 v 8 - 10: "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 
 9  (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
 10  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)"

The above two passages of scripture are connected.  The first one is when Mary Magdalene comes to the tomb to confirm that Jesus was no longer in it.  She sees a man in the garden and recognises Him as Jesus.  He needed to take the believers from Paradise to Heaven.

The Ascension of Jesus followed forty days later with the Lord saying, Wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come upon you from My Father, and you will receive power to be witnesses to Me.  Exactly ten days later the Holy Spirit came with a sound like a mighty rushing wind and empowered them with gifts He still gives to believers today.  Healing, Miracles, Speaking in tongues, Interpreting tongues, Prophecy, Discerning of spirits of good and evil, The Word of Knowledge, The Word of Wisdom, Faith to believe in miracles.

This happened on the Feast of Pentcost, first established fifty days after leaving Egypt.  Now it is the day the Holy Spirit was given to the first church, and He is still very much present here on Earth.  This year we celebrate Pentecost on 9 June.  For the next ten days many people wait on God to be baptised in the Holy Spirit, however that is an unnecessary tradition as He is always ready to empower baptised believers and bestow His gifts.

With these gifts and our relationship to God we can turn the world upside down.  We can preach the gospel with signs following.  We can heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, open blind eyes. Nothing is impossible to them that believe in Jesus.

Acts 1 v 8 - 9: "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
 9  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."
These were Jesus' final words before His ascension and were fulfilled on Pentecost and every day since.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Jesus's final prayer was for us all to find salvation and be one with the Trinity of God.  We are already forgiven and need only to repent i.e. change our minds about being slaves to sin, and be baptised in water, and the Holy Spirit, to make it home.  Father there is much falseness, and strong resistance but we will fight the good fight to the end to extend Your Kingdom. In Jesus' name. Amen.