June 18, 2017

A Future In Unity

From Heart Talk by Jack Branch

Transcription

By:Jack M. Branch#R17203
Taylor Annex C.I

1. " A Future In Unity=John 17:20-26" June 9, 2017

It is interesting that the word " Goodbye" is a contraction, shortened by long and casual use of a parting blessing, "God be with you" over many years, became " goodbye". English speakers are not the only one who have shortened the words. The Spanish farewell adios and the French adieu both latterly mean "To God," and are shortened forms of a long parting, "I commend you to God." The root meaning of a word and the sense we assign it can be two different things. Few people think of "goodbye" or "adios" as a blessing, so our use of it in those cases do not amount to a prayer. Often, however, friends or family do part with a conscious wish for God's blessings or with the assurance that "I'll be praying for you." John's gospel does not speak of Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane, but rather inserts a lengthy farewell discourse between Jesus and the remaining disciples after Judas departed from what we have come to call "The Last Supper." The first part of the discourse focuses on words of comfort and instruction (13:31; 16:33). The first part is a prayer (verses 1-26), in which Jesus speaks to God, interceding for His followers. As such it is commonly known as Jesus' "high priestly prayer," and it serves as the theological climax of John's gospel.

A Prayer for Unity

We find comfort in knowing that friends and family are praying for us. We can know that Jesus prays for us too. John 17 insists that Jesus prayed earnestly for believers like us who were not yet born and had not yet come to have personal faith in Him. As John portrays the scene, after a lengthy conversation with His remaining disciples, Jesus shifted His attention to prayer, knowing that the disciples would hear His plea (as we can). Jesus began by prayer for Himself in (verses 1-5), then He interceded for those who were gathered around Him that night (verses 6-19), and concluded with a prayer for all believers who would come to know Him (verses 20-26). It is Jesus' prayer for you and me. "I do not pray for these alone," Jesus prayed, "but also for those who will believe in Me through their word" (vs. 20). This does not limit Jesus' request to the first generation of believers who would respond to the witness of the disciples, but to all future believers, who would be drawn to the love of Jesus by the lives of His believers. And what was Jesus' request? "that they may be one, as you Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in US" (vs 21). This does not suggest that we become part of the Godhead, sharing common essence with the Father and the Son in the manner of the Trinity. Rather, Jesus asks that the community of faith reflect the unity of the divine, as God and Jesus are one with each other, so believers should share a common spirit an purpose, loving God and each other as Christ loved them. The unity Christ prayed for does not exist in our own strength, but in fellowship with God. Believers do not take on divinity, but we do have a relational connection to God, like branches on a vine, we abide in God and God abides within us (15:1-11). Jesus prayed that we might experience this mutual bond as God intended. And God's intention is that the oneness we share would lead us to live in such unity "the the world may believe that You sent Me" (vs. 21). This is how Jesus envisioned others coming to faith, not because we have preached in a crusade or passed out propositional tracts to frightened people with the prospect of hell, but because they see the love of God at work within us and toward them. There is no stranger witness than the God-like love we show to one another and toward the world, and there is no greater deterrent to the Gospel than one who claims Christ is a personal Savior, but breathes hostility.

A Mission of Unity

Jesus' prayer for unity in (verses 20-21), finds further elaboration in (verses 22-23). The substance of His prayer is the same as for those first followers in the upper room. He prayed that we might be one in Christ and one with each other. "The glory which You gave Me I have given them," Jesus said, "that they may be one just as We are one" (vs. 22). What does that mean? What glory, given by God, could Jesus pass onto us? We typically think of "glory" in terms of fame and adulation , wide renown won through impressive achievements. The request harks

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373737 Posted 6 days, 20 hours ago. ✓ Mailed 3 days, 22 hours ago   Favorite
Jack,

Thank you for this beautiful piece of writing and analysis of verses from John ("Heart Talk" from June 9, 2017). I am working on transcribing your writing, but I'm taking my time so that as I do, I can try to really understand your insightful words.

I appreciate having the chance to see this piece of your heart and your thoughts, and I hope you continue to share so that others can also learn from you!

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