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John 17

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

MONDAY, JULY 10

SCRIPTURE: John 17

We often call the prayer we find in Matthew 6, the Lord’s Prayer.  You know it is the one that begins with: “Our Father who art in heaven”.   Because it is certainly a prayer from our Lord, there is nothing wrong with calling it that.  But as you think about that particular prayer, it really does seem to take on the nature of a model prayer.  It is Jesus teaching us to pray.

With that as a background, this prayer that we find in John 17 may actually be the Lord’s Prayer.  It is often referred to as “The High Priestly Prayer” but I truly believe it may best be defined as the Lord’s Prayer.  It is a most intimate look into a very personal conversation between Jesus and the Heavenly Father.

As you begin this amazing chapter, I think it is important to look at the last words of John 16.  There Jesus said, “I have overcome the world”.  The reason that is important is the word world is used some 19 times in John 17.  Regardless of the efforts of the world to put down Jesus and drag people away from the truth, Jesus has already overcome that.  And through Him, we are overcomers as well.

In the first five verses, Jesus prayed for Himself and talked with His Father about the fact that His work on earth had been completed.  We should never hesitate to pray for ourselves.  

In the next section of the prayer (verses 6-19), Jesus prayed for His disciples.  Specifically, His prayer for them was that the Father would keep them and sanctify them. In other words, He asked the Father to guard them or protect them and to set them apart from the world.  That doesn’t mean they were supposed to segregate themselves from the world.  When we do that, we have no opportunity to share the gospel with anybody but our own offspring.  The disciples were most certainly going to be in the world but they were not supposed to be of the world.  That’s part of the significance of the Father sanctifying them.

The third section of the prayer (verses 20-26) is actually Jesus praying for you and me.  Isn’t that just the coolest thing?  Jesus prayed for us!  He prayed particularly for our unity.  In verse 23, Jesus said our unity is actually evidence of His identity and mission.  That means when Christ followers are fighting and bickering and fussing and treating each other badly, we are in effect saying Jesus isn’t who He said He was and that His mission was a scam.  Our unity, on the other hand, is undeniable, inarguable, evidence of the identity and mission of Jesus.  

He ends this section with a request that we might know God’s deep, deep love.  Remember the Bible says, “Love covers a multitude of sins”.  So, maybe this love is the key ingredient for our unity.

So, why did Jesus pray this prayer?  Undoubtedly, He was preparing Himself for what was about to happen.  He was just hours away from being arrested which would be the start of His horrible mistreatment and eventual crucifixion.  Hebrews 12:3 teaches that as Jesus thought about the joy that awaited Him and us, He gained the necessary strength to endure.

You know, sometimes I get so trapped in the muck and mire of it all that all I can see is what I’m stuck in.  And if that is all I can see, it is almost impossible to see how I can ever get out of that.  The only way out is to look up.  Moving forward always requires a change in focus.  Thinking about the joy of the Lord and the glory that is to come is the way out.  

 

Posted by Joe Ligon with

John 15

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

Thursday, JULY 5

SCRIPTURE: John 15

As you were reading this chapter, I have no doubt that you noticed the word abide.  It, or its synonym (continue in verse 9 and remain in verse 11), is used some eleven times in the first eleven verses.   Since Jesus used this word so many times in such a short section, there must be something of great value that He wants us to understand.  That means there must be something of great value that we should know.

The word abide simply means to dwell in.  In this particular chapter there is a lot of talk about Jesus abiding in us and us abiding in Jesus.  You might think that there couldn’t be one without the other.  And you may be right.  But I want you to use your imagination for a moment.

Imagine someone with an aquarium full of water and an empty glass.  If that person turned the glass upside down and shoved it quickly into the water, the glass would be completely surrounded by the water.  That might be like us abiding in Jesus.  But there would no water inside of the glass.  If you are tracking with this analogy, this would mean that Jesus is not abiding in us.  In fact, the air in the glass would be trying to force the glass out of the water.

If you turned the glass right side up, it would quickly fill with water.  At that point, the glass would not only be completely surrounded by the water but the glass would also be filled with the water.  I really think that is the picture that Jesus is painting for us: He in us and us in Him.  

When this mutual abiding is taking place, the believer will produce fruit (verse 2).  The believer will experience pruning (verse 2).  That means the believer will experience discipline by the hand of the Father so that we can produce even more fruit.  The believer will experience answered prayer (verse 7).  The believer will experience a deepening love for Jesus and other believers (verse 9).  And the believer will experience a greater joy.  

The chapter also shows us at least a couple of results of all of this abiding.  The first one, in verse 15 is that Jesus will no longer call us servants.  He will, instead, call us friends.  I am not sure I fully comprehend this.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like it.  I really like it.  I have even sung songs about it.  But it is more than a bit mind-boggling for me to think about Jesus thinking of me as His friend.  This really is close to crazy to think about.  God’s only Son knows me, everything about me, and still calls me His friend.   

The other result of this abiding begins in verse 17.  It is simply that the world persecuted Jesus unmercifully.  As His friends, we should expect nothing less.  The world hates Jesus.  Ultimately, the world hates those who are like Jesus.

I think most of us who live in this part of the country that we used to affectionately call the Bible Belt kind of skated through this one.  We are fortunate to live in an area that has a bunch of folks who call themselves Christians.  So, at times we almost feel like the majority.

But this is changing.  As I said a couple of weeks ago from the platform, the church is increasingly perceived to be the villain and Christ followers are increasingly seen as enemies of the state.  If this trend continues, persecution cannot be far behind.  

But take heart.  Jesus has overcome the world.  And as we choose to live in this abiding, we, too, will be overcomers.

 

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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