It was a great evening to praise God for answered prayer. For years we've prayed for opportunity to reach the at-risk youth demographic of Chilliwack with the love of Christ. With Cyrus Centre opening it's doors this past year in the City of Chilliwack we partnered with them as a church right away. We have seen God answering the prayers of multiple churches in this city in this regard. It is also exciting to see individuals and Life Groups from Central getting involved practically as well by way of volunteering and making meals.
2014 marked the launch of our Agassiz campus. What a step of faith to make it our mission to not only reach Chilliwack for Jesus but Agassiz as well. Pastor Eldon shared powerful stories of God's work in and through that campus. Pastor Jon shared about the recent start-up of 'The District', the Sunday night gathering for youth from the District of Kent. We praise God that it has hit the ground running and is already drawing youth and having an impact!
High Priestly Prayer
The seventeenth chapter in the Gospel of John (17:1-26) records a prayer from Jesus to His Father in Heaven. The prayer takes up the entire chapter and is referred to as The High Priestly Prayer. The prayer can be broken down into three part: Praying for Himself (1-5), Praying for His Disciples (6-19), and Praying for Future Believers (20-26).
Praying for Himself (1-5)
5And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed…
Jesus earthly ministry is coming to a close. In Jn 18 He will be arrested & tried. In chapter 19 He will be crucified. So here is Jesus in John 17 coming to the end of His earthly ministry. He came in the flesh - God the Son leaving the heights of heaven and taking on bone, flesh and blood to reach us - showed us the way to God, and accomplished all that He had been sent by God to do (save the cross).
And so He prays to the Father glorify me. Jesus prays for the mutually shared glory in heaven between Father, Son and Holy Spirit to be restored in the way it always was in eternity past before the incarnation.
Praying for His Disciples (6-19)
15I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one…18As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world…
The Father sent the Son into the world to reconcile the world to God. So too Jesus sends His disciples into the world to teach the Truth, minister to a hurting world and bear fruit for the Kingdom.
Present-day Christendom really lives as if the situation were as follows: Christ is the great hero and benefactor who has once and for all secured salvation for us; now we must merely be happy and delighted with the innocent goods of earthly life and leave the rest to Him. But Christ is essentially the exemplar, that is we are to resemble Him, not mere profit from Him. - Soren Kierkegaard
It is our deep desire as a church to not simply reap the benefits of our hero Jesus Christ but also to share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those around us.
We are not cloistering ourselves from the people around us, we’re reaching them for Jesus.
That’s why Celebration Banquets and communicating the work of God in our midst as a church is so vital. It keeps putting the Mission we are on together in front of us.
Jesus, in His great love, prays for His disciples continually. Not that all would be easy and that we just be scooped up into heaven upon conversion. But that we live on mission for Jesus and as we do, He will pray that we be kept from evil.
Praying for Future Believers (20-26)
20“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me…
Jesus prays for us and who else? Those who will believe in Jesus through our words and our unity. According to His prayer, our witness is the words we say to people about Jesus and our unity on display to others as the Church of Jesus. This is why we are on the planet as Christians. This is the mission: our words share the Gospel of Jesus and our unity in community compels hearers to believe those words and create longing to be a part of the body of Christ.
I came across this story a few months back and at the risk of offending pacifists with a story entitled True Soldiers, I'll tell it anyways :) since it's ultimately about commitment to a cause (in our case, the cause of Christ):
The humility of risk is perfected in Christ and is, even when marred or hidden by the swagger, essential to natural manhood. The men of all really thriving cultures know that their lives, if truly lived, are not their own. The samurai was taught to relish each day as one won from death, an unexpected boon: For the moment he swears allegiance to his lord, he must consider his life as already forfeit. Thus, he can lay that life down at a nod, whenever the sacrifice should be required.
Men who went down to the sea in ships, Viking marauders or Nantucket whalers, knew well they might never return, yet they did go; and the man on the mizzen in the midst of a storm knew that his life literally hung by a thread, and that many of his fellows in just his situation never saw land again, but without him and his obedience there could be no voyage beyond the calm of a bay. The crewmen on the Titanic held it as their duty, once the iceberg’s devastation had been reckoned, to assume that their lives were lost. Only so could they tax their muscles and their broken hearts to the last stretched fiber, to save as many other souls as they could, particularly women and children.
The lad who carried the flag in the old fields of war was unarmed and most conspicuous, but most necessary for the rallying and ordering of his comrades. He was indispensable in his choosing the honor of being the single man least likely to survive the battle. The man first up the ladder to scale the walls of a besieged city would likely also be the first man dead beneath; but if he does not go, no one goes.
The Spartans at Thermopylae knew they could not hold that pass forever against a Persian army many times their strength, but they held long enough for the Athenians to prepare for the onslaught. And you hold a pass by understanding that your life is not your life. You block the opening. The foe must break through over your dead body.
A man need not bear a saber to be a true soldier. When Louis Pasteur was searching for cures for infectious diseases, he had not our same luxury of safety. He was a devout Catholic who attracted to himself young men of high ideals and similar devotion. Those men knew that to be Pasteur’s assistant meant constant exposure to, and experimentation with, disease. Theirs was less a profession than a creed. They went forth in the wake of a plague in Egypt, to seek knowledge and cure the sick.
One gentle young man, like the holy Damien of Molokai, contracted the disease himself, and laid his body down in that alien land. The men embraced the risk. They were dispensable; the cause was not.
Who will we be as a church? What will we do with our time? Will we risk? Will we give ourselves to the mission of Jesus knowing that He intercedes for us and prays for those who will believe?
24Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Jesus concludes His prayer to the Father by expressing His desire that those are His be with Him in glory
Jesus concludes the prayer by praying that His disciples may see His glory, spending eternity with Him. Like Jesus at the end of His earthly life, we have the glory of God for all eternity in view. May we give our time, our resources, our very lives for His cause: The cause of the Gospel going forth in power. And when we have run the race marked before us, as Christians and as a church, we will spend all of eternity with Jesus in glory.
3 Responses to Jesus' Prayer
This is Jesus’ prayer. May we be men and women of God who follow after Jesus in praying to Jesus, for the Church, and those who will believe: missionally-minded Kingdom prayers.
What subjects did Jesus talk about most? The Kingdom of God, hell, & money. We are here to further His Kingdom, not our own. We are here to see people come to saving faith in Jesus Christ not let money be an idol or steal our affections. Rather, our money is to be put to use for reaching the lost and fueling the Mission.
When we give here at Central it is to that end: reaching Chilliwack, Agassiz and the world together for Jesus.