As is my practice, I opened “My Utmost for His Highest” this morning, but on Mondays, staff meeting days, I just read the text, and not the writing from Ozwald Chambers. I always let the text he picks stir me and then I begin writing my staff devotion. O. Chambers today quotes part of John 17, Jesus praying the night before he is crucified.
In many ways Jesus is saying, “Well Father, here we are.” Scripture tells us that Jesus has committed to and anticipated his death as sacrifice for our sin since before the world was created. He created us, and man fell, and now time has passed and “here we are, Father”. John 17:1, “the hour has come.” There is so much in this prayer. O. Chambers focuses on v22, “that they may be one, even as we are one.” And when I read that my mind began racing with that.
“So, I go back and put it in context. “Glorify your son, that the son may glorify you.” then “You gave authority… so that… may give eternal life… glorify me in your presence.” Oh My, we often want our glory… recognition… but at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and for the wrong reasons. “So, I go back and put it in context. “Glorify your son, that the son may glorify you.” then “You gave authority… so that… may give eternal life… glorify me in your presence.” Oh My, we often want our glory… recognition… but at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and for the wrong reasons.
“I revealed your name to the people you gave me…” Oh that’s not just for Jesus, or preachers, but for all of us. Are we revealing his name to all he has given us?
And Jesus prays for all of us. He prays for our protection as we are in this world but not OF this world. We are bound for God’s presence. And again, this is not just for the disciples, but all the way down the line. v20 I pray not only for these (the 12) but also for those who believe in me through this word (that’s all of us) v21 May they be one, as you, Father are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that (say “so that”) the world may believe you sent me v22 I have given them the glory (doxa – brightness / reputation) you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one v23 I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be one, that the world may know you sent me, and have loved them as you have loved me
Now, I am always greatly challenged by verses that say, “so that”. Not “so what?” but “so that” Go back and count all the “so that” statements in this prayer. There are 4 just in these vv21-23 alone.
That they may be one – so many times we want to stop right there and define it for ourselves. “See we need to all like the same stuff, no fighting, just love…” But then Jesus defines “one” “as we are one”. Now, ues, you and I are NOT God. We don’t know all, love all, we aren’t perfect. But still, there is a marker, “you must be THIS tall to ride this ride.” as we are one
Well church, the hour has come, long since come, for us to do what we were born to do. Every church has been born to be the Bride of Christ, a city on a hill, the light of the world, live love, not just proclaim but live good news. I go back to the opening of this prayer and ask, “are we glorifying God?” Are we shining HIS goodness, making his reputation known? How do we do that? By completing the work he gave us to do. Matthew 28:19-20 As you go, make disciples, baptize them, teach them. Acts 1:8 – be witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the ends of the earth. John 13:34-35 – love one another, just as I have loved you… by this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another. You know why the world doesn’t know or believe? It is because we are striving to complete the wrong tasks. God did not send us to fix political policy, or straighten out our neighbors, but to love and make disciples as we go. He has called us, prayed for us to be ONE AS… Father and Son are One.
v17 Sanctify them by the truth – we need to be cleaned, washed, made holy, hallowed by this truth. – Oh but that’s just “Jesus stuff” right pastor? well, v18 as you sent me… I have sent them into the world… that they may sanctify themselves by this truth – Oh… me too huh?
Oh we all love God, and we admire God, but do we really want to bear and live toward his bright glorious reputation? Like it or not, if we are the people of God, servants of God, the church of God, we have a reputation of love, commitment, sacrifice, holiness, purpose – God’s reputation / glory has been given to us. Have you ever had a non-Christian say to you, “but the church should be…” or “aren’t you a Christian and you should be…” And they are actually RIGHT! They may not want but they expect US to do it. And we should be a unified “WE” committed to that glory, that unity, as Jesus and the Father are one. Jesus lived that out, “I only speak what the Father says” “I only do what the Father is doing” “I have completed the tasks you gave me to do” “I reveal your name to those you gave me”.
Do we do this so that we can be famous? NO It is so that HE can be famous. So that THEY may believe.
Let me close with this thought – May we be ONE like a HAND… not like even 5 fingers, but as a HAND. Fingers are there, but they are together a HAND. Fingers operating fully independently can get hurt, or do things the hand didn’t intend. But fingers working together, according to the direction of the head, empowered by the arm, can play a symphony in perfect tune, and that’s beautiful.
We are to be made one SO THAT the world may KNOW – that we have a Sending Lord and God – That we have a Purpose and Power that is not ours. Know that you are SENT and know that you Just as Jesus was loved by the Father, then we also are loved in the same way
Oh, let’s be ONE – Define it, Determine to do it, Depend upon it, be Directed by it.