You Are Invited

January 23, 2024

John 17:1-5 (ESV)
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
Not that long ago I watched a movie starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James.  The movie is a comedy, but in it, there is this incredible moment where Vince Vaughn’s character prays.  It was a deep, honest, heartfelt plea to the Lord for help which was so completely out of step with the rest of the movie that it captivated my attention.
If you remember, chapters 13-17 are one long scene with Jesus and His disciples.  Chapter 17 wraps everything up as we get this incredible view of Jesus praying for His disciples.  There are seven requests which Jesus makes throughout the chapter as He prays for all of His disciples including, amazingly, you and I as well.  It is powerful stuff, and I want to share a couple of quotes from biblical scholars/pastors throughout the years as they explored Jesus’ prayer so that we can gain some sort of perspective regarding Jesus’ prayer.
This chapter is the easiest in the whole Scripture as regards the words, the deepest in meaning.
Johannes Albrecht Bengel
The Teacher [now] becomes the Intercessor; the Prophet, the High Priest.  Henry Barclay Swete
[This] prayer leads us into the very heart of the ministry and message of Jesus.  Lesslie Newbigin.
I want to encourage you to do something a bit different as we begin to walk through chapter 17.  As best you can, remove any distractions from around you and quiet your heart and mind.  Then, read this passage and the others from chapter 17 out loud.
Jesus is praying.  Let His prayer soak you through and through.
In all of the Gospels, we read that Jesus prayed, and here and there, we get to hear some of His prayers, but it’s nothing like what we find in chapter 17.
In His prayer, Jesus acknowledges that the long-awaited hour has finally come (remember we were first introduced to the hour in chapter 2).  The Passion and His death lay before Jesus, but the work of His ministry has been accomplished.
In His prayer, Jesus makes a specific request that He and His Heavenly Father would be glorified.  Jesus asks that He and the Father be glorified in three ways; through the authority that Jesus has been given over all humanity, through those who belong to Jesus (His disciples and the church), and through the gift of deep life found only in truly knowing Jesus and in knowing His Father, the only true God.
It’s a massive prayer in just these first five verses.  In these verses we see, as we’ve seen throughout John’s Gospel, the hand of Jesus extended out to us, inviting us into amazing life and relationship with Himself and His Father.
I love N.T. Wright’s thoughts as Jesus’ prayer begins.  So far, the prayer may seem far too exalted for us to join in.  But, as we shall see [as we read on], the relationship between Jesus and the father, though it seems extraordinarily close and trusting, is not designed to be exclusive.  We are invited to join in.
Let that soak in for a minute.
You are invited to know and be present with Jesus and His Father, not simply as a guest, but as a welcome and deeply loved member of His family.
God bless you and know that you are constantly in my prayers.
I'm glad that you've decided pick up these devotionals.
The devotionals started from my own personal need to read through scripture and spend time thinking about what I was reading and the best way for me to do that was to write down my thoughts.

I began to share these devotionals when a student of mine was deployed in the military.  He wanted to continue to be challenged to read scripture and keep his life centered on Christ while he was serving abroad and so he asked me if I would be willing to share these devotionals with him.

And so I began to share the devotionals and as others found out what I was doing it began to grow and evolve from that point on.

I pray that these devotionals will encourage your faith in Christ and challenge you as His missional disciple; to follow Jesus wherever He leads.

And I want you to know that I really do pray for you constantly.  If you ever have a specific prayer request, please let me know.  It helps me to pray for you.

God bless you.


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