“Jesus’ Prayer for YOU!” – John 17
Maundy Thursday – March 29, 2018
Lots happened on Thursday night – Passover meal, Institution of Lord’s Supper, Washing disciples’ feet, new commandment to love (mandatum – Maundy), prayer in Gethsemane (drops of blood), betrayal and arrest, trial.
One thing we don’t often mention / focus on – Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer… for us!
Jesus prayed for 4 things / 4 verbs:
We live in the world, but Jesus said we are not to be OF the world… worldly! He wasn’t praying that we would be taken out of the world but that we would be protected from the world, and from the prince of this world, the evil one. There are lots of dangers, evils, temptations. (Paul movie persecution; God IS protecting us, may get worse!) Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name. God’s name is stronger than any adversary, than any evil. Ephesians 6 – armor passage: “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power… so that you may STAND!”
Sanctify = set apart for sacred use (consecrate) or make holy. Jesus’ prayer is that we would be sanctified by the truth, by God’s Word of truth. We are not made holy by lies, by false teachings, by ourselves and our own good works. We are made holy / righteous first of all by the death that Jesus was to die a few mere hours later. He died WITH our sins, leaving us WITHOUT them – pure, clean, forgiven. Second, the Holy Spirit guides us into holy living as we make use of God’s inspired Scripture which St. Paul says is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that we may be equipped for every good, holy, sanctified work which God prepares for us to do.
In His prayer, Jesus compares the Father’s sending of HIM into the world to Jesus’ own sending of US into the world. Jesus was sent to accomplish salvation, to be a ransom for our sins. We are sent to proclaim salvation, to declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light, and to be the presence of Christ in a dark and ever darkening world. Our being sent is so that other people will believe that Jesus has been sent… for THEM!!
Other people believing happens because of the Gospel message we proclaim, and because of the unity, the oneness, we have both with God and with other believers, and because of the love we express – that new commandment to love one another. Jesus prays that all believers would be one, just as He and the Father are one. His prayer is that such unity in faith would lead the world to believe that God sent Jesus as the Saviour. He also prays that God’s love would be in us. Early Church Father Tertullian tells us that the pagans were struck by the witness of Christian love. “See how they love one another,” they remarked. Unity and love give a powerful witness to the world. Part of our unity, part of our love for one another is expressed in this meal that we share. That’s what Jesus prayed for!!