June 18, 2017

A Future In Unity

From Heart Talk by Jack Branch


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 back to the opening verse, when Jesus prayed that God would glorify Him though the "hour" in which the incarnation reach the fulfillment (verse1-5). Glory points primarily to the full revelation of God made known in Jesus as God's glory marks the beginning and the end of the incarnation (1:14-,13:31-32; and 17:1). Verse 22 makes clear that it will also mark the life of the faith community. The astonished awe that people that might feel toward Jesus as a result of His selfless incarnation , death, resurrection and ascension could like wise be directed to believers who truly live in unity with God and demonstrate the same self-sacrificing love toward other. Thus, the glory of Christ comes though unity with Christ and the Father: " In them and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent Me, and have loved them as you have loved Me" (vs.23). The ones we have with God in Christ is reflected in a way that communicates God's love in the world and draws others to Christ.

A Future In Unity

As Jesus prayer draws to a close, He looks beyond the earthy mission of believers to the eschatological hope of a future in which the faithful live without distractions of the world in the full presence of God. Showing intimacy, Jesus twice addresses God as " Father". Previously, he had employed the language of asking, but now He shifts to saying what He wants." Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me, where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me, for you loved Me before the foundation of the world"(vs.24). The request recalls not only the early part of the prayer, in which Jesus spoke of, but also the prologue of John's gospel, which spoke if Christ as the pre-existent Word. Jesus "prayer reminds us that the Word came into the world though the love of God, and the world's first full taste of that love comes in Jesus presence. Jesus's closing address to God as" Righteous Father" points to God's rightful judgment that had deemed the world unrighteous and in of salvation. Though Jesus the disciples had learned to comprehend what is truly right. The final two verses not only conclude the prayer, but they summarize and wee no doubt intended to summarize the substance of the gospel. The unrighteous world did not know the Father, but God sent Jesus who dose know the Father, so that all might come to know God though His incarnation in all of its fullness, birth, life, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension. As Jesus had manifested knowledge of God though out His incarnation, He would continue to make God known (vs.26). Presumably though His ministry of the pearlite, one called alongside, described in (16:13), as " the Sprit of truth" who would guide and teach believers what the need to know about God. How comforting it is to hear Jesus praying for the day when we will be with Him and witness His ultimate glory. Until that day Jesus pledged to continue making the love of God known. We cannot see Jesus, We cannot always feel His presence, but we can know as we make our way though this life, that we are not alone. Only Jesus could say goodbye and yet remain present. There may be days when we do not sense the presence of Jesus walking beside us, but when we can be sure that His is never to far away to hear out prayers. We may not see as much of the path ahead as we would like to, but there is always enough light for another step, and always the assurance that at the end of the path we will se Jesus no longer in mystery, but in glory. We may sometimes feel alone on this earth pilgrimage, but we can believe that Jesus is still at work, as He promised, revealing the love of God to us, and working though us to show the love of God to others.

By: Jack M. Branch# R17203
Taylor Annex C.I
8501 Hampton Springs Road
Perry, Florida. 32348


Replies (2) Replies feed

373737 Posted 9 months ago. ✓ Mailed 8 months, 4 weeks ago   Favorite

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!

bheath Posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 8 months, 1 week ago   Favorite
Thanks for writing! I finished the transcription for your post.

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