Thursday, 4 February 2021

The Final Prayer of Jesus

 Scripture:  John 17 v 20 - 26: "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

21  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
24  Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
25  O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26  And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."

The whole of John 17 is the last prayer of Jesus to His Father for those who believe.  He excluded the people who chose not to believe.  Maybe they will change that decision sometime and then they will be included.

Jesus wants the world to believe that the Father sent Him so that He could make God known.  In another place Jesus told Thomas that whoever sees, or recognises, Him, has seen the Father.  Jesus is the express image of His Father.  He speaks the words given by God, and puts those words into action.

At the age of twelve His parents found Him teaching in the Temple.  He told them, I must be about My Father's business.  He was not referring to Joseph.  

There were two divinely ordained pregnancies, first Elisabeth the mother of John the Baptist, who would be second cousin to Jesus.  Second was Mary in whom the Holy Ghost implanted the seed that would become the only begotten Son of God.

Luke 1 v 34:  "Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36  And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37  For with God nothing shall be impossible."

When Elisabeth and Mary came together for a visit, the Holy Ghost caused Elizabeth's baby to leap in the womb and Elisabeth to speak prophetically over Mary.

Luke 1 v 40 - 44: "And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
41  And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
42  And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43  And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44  For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy."

Elisabeth knew by revelation of God that Mary's baby was a divine child, sent by God.  Elisabeth was the first person to be filled with the Holy Ghost.  What a powerful moment in the history of the gospels.  Jesus was 30 years old when He was baptised by John in water and immediately afterwards the Holy Ghost came upon Him, sending Him fasting for forty days in the Wilderness.  Where Satan tried using his entire arsenal of lies to get Jesus to worship him.

Jesus showed him that man must live by every word that comes from the mouth of God.  Every word.  He did and was sinless and perfect, never ill, never bound by a demon, angry at religious bigots, gentle with those with needs, always showing love and restraint to His disciples.

As He prayed His final prayer He asked that the love that was in Him from the Father, would be in us.  It is how we would be known.  The love of God in us sets us apart from the world very distinctively.

That divine love is so selfless, sacrificial, and omnipotent that it cannot be copied by those in the world whose best kind of love cannot come close to matching it.  If we do not have this 'agape' love the Word of God says we are like a sounding brass or tinkling cymbal.  We can give everything we own to charity but it will profit us nothing.  Our words are empty, our humanitarianism is worthless.  

To be an answer to the final prayer of Jesus we must show love to everyone, be kind, generous, helpful even to those we know to be undeserving.  We must stop judging people until we know their life story.  It's so easy to criticise and trample others under our superior feet but it flies in the face of esteeming others more highly than yourself.  All others.

Jesus lowered Himself from being the Creator of all things to being born in a stable, living as a human being to experience everything we go through so He could be our Intercessor before the Father.  He suffered and died to make a way for us to be reconciled to the Father.  He loved us as no human ever could.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, words fail to honour the glory that is upon Jesus as it is beyond our ability to grasp the vastness of His life, death and resurrection.  He brought us to You and we so often fail to appreciate everything You are and do for us.  I pray that every word Jesus prayed in His final prayer would be fully manifested in each one of us.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.