Jesus’ Prayer For Us – A Prayer of Blessing and A Purpose

Jesus’ Prayer – Blessing, Purpose, Protection

Jesus’ prayer for His followers was both a blessing and a mission. It was a prayer of purpose and one of protection. Read: John 17:1-26

“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.

Jesus’ Prayer For Us

“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you.

“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

Not of This World

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Prayer For Future Believers

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

We Belong to Christ

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

John Records Jesus’ Prayer

When Jesus spoke to the Father in His most intimate encounter, John recorded it in his Gospel. How fearful the disciples must have been when Jesus turned his focus from His requests for Himself to requests for His disciples.

Jesus says that as He delivered The Father’s message to His disciples, so he sends them into the world to continue his work.

Jesus then continues to pray a prayer of protection for all Christians, present and future.

Our Work Isn’t Finished

Our work continues to this day. We are to deliver God’s message of hope and salvation to a world doomed to destruction. Jesus has even prayed for us in this mission. Do you continue to fulfill the Great Commission, or have you considered your job finished in the matter?

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message…” John 17:20

Prophet’s Role – Boldly Proclaiming God’s Message To The World

The Prophet’s Role – What is it?

The prophet’s role is boldly proclaiming God’s message to the world. Consider 2 Kings 2:15-18

Elisha and Elijah

Elijah was Elisha’s mentor. When God was ready to take Elijah up to heaven, he directed him to go to Bethel, so Elijah told Elisha to stay behind, but Elisha insisted on going.

Once they got to Bethel, the prophets told Elisha that Elijah was being called to heaven, and Elisha told them he knew. Then Elijah was called to go to Jericho. Again Elijah instructed Elisha to stay, but Elisha refused, so they went to Jericho.

At Jericho, once again prophets told Elisha that God would take Elijah from him that day. He said he knew. Then Elijah told Elisha he would go to Jordan and instructed him to stay. Elisha told him where Elijah went, he would go.

Elisha’s Inheritance

After crossing the Jordan, Elijah asked Elisha what he could do for him before leaving the earth. Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Elijah said if Elisha saw God take him up to heaven, it would be his.

Then Elisha watched as Elijah was caught up in a whirlwind to Heaven. He then returned to Jericho.

Elisha Becomes God’s Prophet

When the prophets from Jericho couldn’t find Elijah, they wanted to go look for him. Elisha told them there was no point.

They pushed Elisha until he relented and told them to go. They searched everywhere, then returned to report they couldn’t find him.

Elisha told them “Didn’t I tell you not to go?” He wasn’t taunting them, but exercising authority and confidence that he carried the message of God.

Christians – Modern Day Prophets

We as Christians should also proclaim God’s word, not in anger or out of some self righteous spirit. We should do it with the full confidence and authority of the great I AM. God is where we draw authority, and there is no higher authority.

Be confident. Proclaim the Gospel. Share God’s word without fear of consequence.

They sent fifty men, who searched … but did not find [Elijah]. When they returned to Elisha … he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?”
2 Kings 2:17-18

Faith and Goodness – Both are Necessary when Following God

Faithfulness and goodness, while mutually exclusive, are linked. To be good without having faith is meaningless, and faith without goodness is a fruitless.

Faith and Goodness

Faithfulness and goodness, while mutually exclusive, are linked. To be good without having faith is meaningless, and faith without goodness is a fruitless.

“The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.” – Matthew 12:35

“And the Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.’ ” – Luke 12:42-44

Good is Good, but Meaningless

No one will argue that being good in life is a good thing. If you have no faith in God and His plan, you are being good for goodness sake and not for the sake of God. Your goodness may bless the life of another. You’re not blessed if you lack trust to give the glory to God. Either get your kudos on earth for your good deeds, or you can store them in Heaven. If you have no belief in Heaven how can you store them there?

Faith is Never Meaningless

Faith is the belief in things not seen. We trust fallible chairs all day every day, but cannot believe an infallible God who is always true and just. Why will we believe in inanimate objects and not the creator who animated us? Faith is the cornerstone of any belief, and we all choose who we will serve. Will you serve a being or object of this world, or the God who made them all possible? To paraphrase Joshua, Choose this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Corinthians 5:7

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” – Galatians 6:10

A Better Man

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” – Proverbs 16:25

How do you know you are going to Heaven?

Did you do enough good? Are you relying on your prayer? Relying on the prayers of others? Did you get baptized? Take communion? Pray the sinner’s prayer?

I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but while all of these are good things, none of them on their own will get you there.

“Now wait a minute!” You will say, “all my life I’ve been told if I ask Jesus into my heart I will be saved.”

Jesus did not preach an opt in fire insurance. It is true he said:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20

The Bible also says, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6

Faith is the key. Not faith like sitting on a chair and trusting it to hold you up, but faith like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute and trusting Jesus to grab you and save you from dying (metaphorically speaking of course).

God delights in acts of faith. If your faith drives good deeds, then great, it is a strong faith. If your faith cause you to pray for yourself? Then it is even stronger. Does it cause you to pray for others? Even stronger still. Did it lead you to pray the sinner’s prayer? Then you truly are saved. For none of these acts alone can save you unless they are driven by faith.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” – Ephesians 2:8

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What is sin?

Read Romans 14:13-23

Is drinking alcohol a sin? Is dancing? Eating animals?

Knowing the Ten Commandments gives a diagnostic for sin, and there are some clarifications Jesus gives, but what about “social sins”? What about those behaviors condemned by society or your friends?

In Romans 14, Paul is settling a dispute of whether meat which was sacrificed can be eaten without commuting a sin. Paul’s response was this: “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.” – Romans14:14.

So if nothing is unclean, are we permitted to do anything? The short answer is no, as Paul elaborates: “For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.” – Romans 14:15

So in this manner, if what you do causes another person to stumble in their beliefs, then it is sin.

When I was in Jr. High, I wanted to go to a school dance, but had no one to go with. I asked a girl from down the street and she agreed. We went and were awkwardly dancing to the slow dances. I was keeping my space and she, hers. Another couple came and moved our hands to groping positions and told us that was how to dance. Their interference caused me to sin in my mind. This event started a string of me sinning by touching females (whether they wanted me to or not) that lasted into college. Even though I knew and felt it was wrong, I was convinced that was how adults expressed affection. It took intervention and counseling to clear that train of thought.

The rule of thumb concerning sin is that if it feels wrong when you do it, it is sin for you. We are all born with a moral compass, some of us break it sooner than others. If your compass is broke, please seek help repairing it.

“But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” – Romans 14:23

Working Toward Heaven

Read Galatians 3

What makes a person a Christian? Is it a stringent set of rules we must follow? Is it a code of ethics by which we must abide?

It is none of these, but rather it is faith in God and His plan to sacrifice His Son for our sins. It is following Jesus’ principals and asking forgiveness and repenting when we stray. This has never changed. From the time Abraham took his son Isaac to sacrifice him to God, through Moses leading the Hebrews out of Egypt, to the disciples receiving instruction from Jesus after he had risen, it was all about faith.

No man can keep God’s law because to us we believe acting on sin is sin, but to God thinking about sin is sinning. No man has ever kept the law this close besides Jesus. The law is a diagnostic, not salvation. The law was written to prove man cannot live apart from God, His Son Jesus is the salvation.

Are you relying on the good you do to outweigh the bad? One sin outweighs as much good as you can do in a lifetime. It’s like a white tuxedo with a small black stain. It’s still not a clean white tux no matter how white the rest of it is. That black stain will stand out.

Nothing can clean your spirit from sin but the blood of Jesus. All it takes is faith, not works, not following the Ten Commandments. You just gotta have faith.

“For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.’ Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'” – Galatians 3:10-11

Zeal

Read Luke 22:31-34

Simon Peter loved Jesus and had such a zeal for Him that he offered to go to jail with and even die with Him.

Jesus told Simon Peter that before the rooster will crows he would deny Jesus 3 times.

Just before saying this though, Jesus tells Simon Peter that He has prayed for Simon Peter’s faith that it might not fail, and once it was restored, he was to strengthen his brothers.

When I was first saved, I had all of the zeal of Simon Peter, I was going to set the world on fire for God. Then things got tough, I was ridiculed for proclaiming Christ. I succumbed to sin at almost every turn. I was denying Christ by my actions.

It has only been recently that I have found my zeal for Christ again. I will use it to strengthen you, my brothers and sisters in Christ as He has commanded.

“but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” – Luke 22:32

Little Faith

Read Luke 17:1-10

Lord, increase our faith.

This I have said often, and never paid much attention to Jesus’ answer. We’ve all heard the faith like a mustard seed, but I didn’t put it together until now. He’s not saying that all we need is a little faith, He’s saying you can do great things with only a little faith.

He doesn’t want us to stop at a little faith, He wants us to have an abundance of faith. If faith like a mustard seed can uproot and move a tree, how much more can an abundance of faith do?

For David, it cemented Israel’s survival. For Abraham, it founded Israel. For Moses, it delivered Israel. For Samson, it judged Israel. For Jesus, it saved the world.

Don’t be satisfied with a little faith, Jesus rebuked His disciples repeatedly for only having little faith. Increase your faith in God and you will do great things for His kingdom!

“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ And the Lord said, ‘If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.'” – Luke 17:5-6

You Gotta Have Faith

Read Genesis 22

You gotta have faith.

God commanded Abraham to take his only son out to sacrifice him. God asked him to kill not only a son, but the one who would carry Abraham’s lineage, the one who would receive Abraham’s possessions after his death, his only begotten son.

I know I would have struggled with this command. Knowing how the story ends, and how God rewarded Abraham’s faithfulness by providing a ram to sacrifice instead, I could say I have that much faith, but I know I don’t have the same faith Abraham had.

Faith like that is fleeting these days. Very few are willing to give up comfort, let alone necessities for God. What would you be willing to give up for God? If the answer isn’t everything, you lack the faith of Abraham. I know I am lacking that kind of faith.

“He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” – Genesis 22:12

Trials

Read James 1:2-8

I hate making decisions. I hate it further when I make the decision to sin.

The trials in my life are not meant to tear me down, but rather to build me up. No matter my decision, the outcome has a lesson for me that if I choose to learn, I will be better for it.

There was a quote I once heard that I live by. “It’s not what you do, it’s what you do after what you did.”

Did I learn my lesson the last time I sinned? What led to my decision to sin? What was my thought process? When could I have made a different choice?

By analyzing my decision making process, I can eliminate problems and grow closer to God. It’s not easy for anyone. The closer I get, the more it feels like I endure, but like lifting weights you never get stronger if you do not increase the weight resistance.

Therefore, we should rejoice in the resistance we endure because it makes our faith stronger.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” – James 1:2