Jesus continues to pray for his disciples in John 17. This week we tackle verses 13 thru 21. There are six requests Jesus makes of the Father in these verses.
Jesus tells the Father that He is praying this prayer so that they will have His joy made full in them. They are about to face a traumatic time with Christ dying on the cross. His time with them is growing shorter and shorter. Their lives are going to change forever. What does He want for them? Joy. His joy.
CHANGE OF STATUS
Jesus declares to the Father that the disciples are not of the world any longer, just like Jesus is not of the world. He has given them the Father’s word and the world hates them now, just as the world hates Jesus. (By the way, this is the same world that God loves so much that He sent His only begotten Son.)
KEPT FROM THE EVIL ONE
Jesus then asks that they not be taken out of the world, but to be kept out of the power of the evil one. I imagine that the saying I have heard much of my life, “In the world, not of the world” comes from. The implication is that the world is run by the evil one. Jesus is praying that the world will not have any hold over His disciples.
Jesus then asks the Father to sanctify the disciples. Sanctify is a delightfully old-fashioned word that most of us don’t use on an everyday basis. It means to set apart and make holy. Jesus is asking that the disciples will be made more like Him. He even tells the Father how it can be done. How? Through His word. He had previously said that the Father’s word had been given to them. This word had power to make them holy, to set them apart.
Jesus then says that He is sending them into the world as He has been sent into the world. He describes that He has been sanctified for their sakes. What Jesus is saying is that He is not asking the disciples to do anything that He has not already done and set the example for.
Finally, Jesus once more asks that the disciples be unified just like He and the Father are. The wonderful thing is that He says that this prayer is not just for these remaining eleven disciples. It is also for those who believe in Him through their words. So, this prayer is for all followers of Christ throughout the history of the Church.
How does it make you feel to know that Jesus prayed these things for you 2000 years ago?
Ask most folks about their salvation experience and what will they say?
Most will refer to some time when they were a kid and walked down an aisle during the invitation. Perhaps they will refer to a night during VBS when they were in elementary school. Maybe they are referring to going one night to a revival meeting.
It could be any point in the past.
How about you? Do you look back to your salvation experience?
I refer to my salvation experience as now.
Now, if you want to refer to a specific point when I was born again and justified, I’m with you. That happened when I was twenty-four.
Salvation hasn’t ended though.
Salvation is a continuous event. I continue to benefit from that moment. I have life. Not just any kind of life. It’s abundant life. It’s eternal life.
He continues to sanctify me. That is part of salvation.
One day He will glorify me. That is part of salvation.
You want to say that your salvation experience is in the past? I’ll argue that point with you.
If you know Christ, salvation is a continual experience.
I never had “a” salvation experience. It’s still going on.
Tell me about your salvation experience.
Today you will have a visitor at church that you weren’t expecting. You couldn’t have imagined that she would show up at your church. Never in your wildest dreams would you have believed that Casey Anthony was coming to your church today.
Let me know if you saw her. What? You don’t believe me when I say that she is coming to your church? Trust me, I know. She’ll be there. She’ll be at my church too.
How do I know? Let me tell you how I’ve figured it out.
Jesus said that if someone hates his brother, he is a murderer. That means hating your brother is the equivalent of murder. Trust me. Someone at your church hates his brother. Someone at your church might hate you. You might hate your brother. I don’t know. Someone at my church hates one of their brother or sisters. Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s me. But whoever it is, they’re Casey Anthony. They’re a murderer. Oh, I know she was found not guilty. But we Americans never let anything like a verdict get in the way of what WE know about a case, do we? You hate? You murder. You’re Casey Anthony.
So am I.
Casey was out partying while her child was “missing.” Want to bet on what she was doing? All manner of immorality, I bet. Nothing like anything you or I have done. Well, there is that matter of lust. If you’ve lusted over someone, you’ve committed adultery. Think she didn’t commit adultery or fornication during that time? We’ve never heard about a father for Cailee. Was she the product of fornication? Well, if you’ve lusted, you’ve committed the same act. Or at least the equivalent. You lust. You commit adultery/fornication. You are Casey.
So am I.
What are you going to do when Casey comes in and sits down in your church house this Sunday? Are you going to shun her? Slap her in the face? Punch her? Spit on her? That’s what Jesus would want you to do, right? That’s what Christ would do, right?
Paul held the coats of a mob who stoned Stephen. He cheered it on. He started going after Christ’s followers. He was headed to Damascus so he could drag some back to Jerusalem to face their music. Jesus stopped him. Jesus blinded him. Jesus chose him. Jesus used him.
How would you feel if He decided to use Casey? Well, is he using you? If so, he is using Casey.
He’s using me.
I know. What she did was heinous. Disgusting. Maddening. And in no way do I believe that anyone should get away with crimes they commit. Yet, God rescued people like that in the Bible. In 1 Corinthians, Paul listed a bunch of people who had committed all sorts of tragic sins. He said that those people would not inherit the kingdom of God. He said that his readers were such people. But they had been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know, you may have gone and read that and the list didn’t include murderers. I kind of think murderers were covered when Paul mentioned the unrighteous.
When it comes down to it, Paul was one of those kinds of people. Paul was Casey Anthony. The Lord washed him, sanctified him. and justified him.
When it comes down to it, you and I are those kind of people. You and I are Casey Anthony. The Lord washed us, sanctified us and justified us.
Casey? She is that kind of people. The Lord can wash her, sanctify her and justify her.
How would that make you feel?
Live in your church today……Casey Anthony.
If you happened to watch College Football Live last Thursday, you might have seen Derek Dooley being interviewed. Since I was at work, I jumped on my handy-dandy smart phone, turned on my DirecTV app and set the DVR to record. Somehow that didn’t work, so my son happened to catch it and began recording for me.
The thing that stood out most in Dooley’s interview was what he said about developing his players. He said that it takes a “relentless pursuit of continuous improvement.” As a Tennessee fan, I certainly hope that there is this relentless pursuit throughout the remainder of the summer into fall camp and then each week as the season progresses.
The question we who follow Christ need to ask ourselves is if we share this relentless pursuit of continuous improvement in our life with Christ? I think Paul would call this sanctification. Sanctification is the part of salvation where we grow and mature throughout our Christian walk. It is necessary for Christ to work in us during our sanctification. But we can’t just sit on our laurels and expect it to just happen.
It takes the effort that we put forth to achieve it. It takes a relentless pursuit of continuous improvement. I don’t think many of us want to be the same as we were when we first came to know the Lord when we finally come to meet Him face to face.
I have been asking myself since last Thursday if I am pursuing Christ with a relentless pursuit of continuous improvement.
How about you?
You may have read a post that I wrote a few weeks ago about Doctor Who. There is no character in the show called Doctor Who. There is simply a character called The Doctor. To truly explain the show would be difficult. Simply enough, Doctor Who is a show about a Time Lord who travels through time and space solving mysteries. That description does not do the show justice.
One of the constants in this show is that The Doctor regenerates from time to time. As a plot device, this is to accommodate a change in actors for the role. It is usually the result of the character being near death and he regenerates into a new body. It is an interesting event that takes place. Fans of Doctor Who will eagerly await the new Doctor to see if they will like him.
The Doctor’s regeneration occurs to me when I think of the salvation that we gain through Christ. We are not near death. We are dead. Stone. Cold. Dead. There is no hope. Except for Christ. He regenerates us. Since we are in Christ, we are new creatures. The old has passed away. The new has come. Much like the Doctor.
But it doesn’t stop there. While the Doctor will regenerate on occasion, Paul tells us to do it on a daily basis. We are not to conformed to the pattern of this world, but we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. While we may not understand how the Doctor regenerates, we are transformed by our minds being renewed.
It’s pretty neat to see that something’s that is meant to entertain and ends up reminding you of the work Christ has done for us.
Do you ever see great illustrations in TV, films or media?