Jesus' High Priestly Prayer, P.2!
Jesus continues to pray! He is preparing Himself in prayer for His mission to the cross and rejoining God the Eternal Father. He has carefully instructed His Disciples and prepared them by the best means and manner with encouragement and joy. Jesus has given them the Word-Himself and His precepts of divine instructions; the enemy and people of the world hated and will always hate this. This is an assault to personal desires of perceived will and the choice to sin and do as one pleases without reprisal or consequences to avoid Truth and duty for pleasures and apathy and living life with the diligence of perusing wickedness. Those who belong to the world will do all they can to fight those who stand for Truth for fear of conviction, thinking this will keep them safe from judgment and condemnation. Yet, we are called to go to the world without being infected by them and being the influencer of God to them with truth and joy. Jesus showed the way of going to the world and not being a part of it and asks us to do the same by our testimony. We are to know Christ and make Him known, to show His love, and teach them-but not be influenced by them. Jesus continues to pray for His disciples, for us, and the work of redemption that continues. We are to exhibit Christ by belief and behavior and by our love and unity to one another, just as Christ is in unity with us and the Father and Holy Spirit. By this, we give Him glory that the world may believe. Love is the key to making this all work-the love of God and that love flowing into and out of us as His display case to the world.
Contexts and Background
This passage continues Jesus' longest recorded prayer in the Bible during the after effects of the Last Supper as the climax of Jesus' teachings and life on earth. It is called the "High Priestly Prayer." While Jesus is facing betrayal, He prays and instructs His disciples with the most meaningful and important imperatives for Christian living and service, love, and unity. Our response of obedience to God and to one another is to be a model to the world; He then gives the ultimate help for that. By this, He gives to them and us comfort and hope as well as empowerment for Christian living.
Commentary-Word and Phrase Meanings
· Full measure / be filled with Joy. God's outpouring to us. What we have in Christ is wondrous beyond our thinking or dreams and no one can take away our Lord's redemption-not Satan, not humans, or circumstances. This also means God's purpose is complete and will continue from our salvation into eternity with our relationships on earth and our relationship to Him forever. Be aware that our life of contentment is trapped between the walls of experiences and the ceiling of things we desire, while we tend to ignore the door of the Truth. Real joy is found in the practice of our faith; we are to enthusiastically show to those around us this joy and peace that is only found only in Jesus (Luke 24:33-52; John 10:28; Rom. 6:9-10; Phil. 1:6; Heb. 7:24-25)!
· Joy is our strength from our byproducts of trust and obedience that lead to our inward confidence, contentment, and peace from our harmony with God and others. These then lead to expressions of rejoicing and gladness from an attitude and mindset of optimism and delight from God working in us. Joy is not a mood or mere happiness or a fulfillment of pleasure, because we may not be content and pleased with our situation. Rather, joy is hope; it is our hope in Christ. It is not a meager wish, but rather the unshakable confidence in our future in Christ. Our pleasure comes from knowing He is in charge and caring for us!This will allow us to enjoy our relationship with Christ, His creation, others, and our circumstances with Him. We are called to count it joy in James, referring to declaring our situation as happy and fulfilling even when it is not. It is to change our mindset and focus. It is realizing God's perspective, the sovereignty of God, and that He is in control, even when life seems to be turned upside down and inside out that gives us the confidence and patience to endure anything. To be happy, we first must seek to be holy (Neh. 8:10; Psalm 20:5; 32:7-9; 34:1-8; 51:12; Prov. 15:13; John 4:34; 15:11; 17:13; 2 Cor. 12:9; Phil. 4:10-20; 1 Thess. 5:18; James 1:1-4; 1 Peter 4:12-19; Heb 10:34)!
· Your / thy word. Here, it is referring to the giving of Christ Himself, the "Logos," and the teaching of His precepts and the example of His character (Psalm 119).
· World has hated. The world is antagonistic to God and His people. This echoes Israel's attitude of separation of Jew from Gentile, and their resulting hatred for one another; yet, God's calls Israel to be sanctified as God's priests to the world-but not to be influenced or corrupted by it. Now, as Christians, as His representatives filled with Holy Spirit, it is even more so (Gen. 12:1-3; Lev. 11:44-45; Isa. 10:20-22; Joel 2:32; Amos 9:8-12; John 1:10-12; 3:8).
· Not that you take them out of the world. When we receive Christ as Lord and Savior, a radical change and new birth occur. We are no longer of the world; we belong to Christ. However, we will continue to live in the world until we are called home to eternity. So, in the meantime, we become the "salt and light," the example of the Gospel while not being corrupted by the world's ways. This also means we do not retreat into seclusion; rather, we engage our culture with the power of the Gospel, good character, and social action, and by being positive influencers (Matt. 5:13-16; 6:19-24; 32; 24:14; Luke 12:13-21; Rom. 12:1-3; 10:18; Col. 1:6; 23; 2:20-23; 1 John 2:15-19).
· Protect them from the evil one. Meaning Christ's provisions for us are sufficient for our every need. Also, we are kept from the corruption of sin, from Satan, and the ways of the world and pride. Jesus knows the problems, persecutions, and frustrations we will face and that we will be hated. Jesus prays that we will not succumb to the devil's and world's influence and corruption from our hurts and frustrations; He does not say we will be protected or kept from suffering (Psalm 119; Matt. 5:10; Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 1:24; 12:9 Phil. 1:19-25; 2:17; Col. 2:20; 2 Thess. 2:3; Heb. 10:24; James 1:2; 1 Peter 4:12-19).
· Sanctify / Sanctification. Means to be set apart and holy for God's work and purpose of conforming us to the image of the Son, and not to stray from Him. Jesus sets Himself apart to do God's will and work. For us, with the image of consecrating priests for God, it is the application of our redemption, of setting us apart from sin. This is the growth we have and do in Christ-in our trust and obedience that He provides. This is not saving action; it is a response action where we become more like Christ's character. The work of the Spirit is to intercede in us; our response is our progressive growth and spiritual formation in Him. God can use anything to be sanctified, even places and things (Gen.2:3; Ex. 28: 38-41; Num. 18:9; Isa. 10:20-22; Joel 2:32; Amos 9:8-12; Luke 24:26; John 8:31-32; Rom.15:16; Gal. 6:14; Eph. 2:1-10; 5:26; 1 Thess. 4:3; 5:23; 2 Thess.2:13; Phil.2:13, 3:10; Heb. 2:10-11; 9:12-13).
· Truth. Refers to God's Holiness and that we acknowledge Him as sovereign and righteous, and that His Holy decrees and principles are infallible, knowable, and they profit us in the here and now as well as what we take into and live with for eternity. Jesus is the embodiment of Truth, the Supreme Being whose precepts we are to emulate and that are true Truth (Psalm 119, all, especially v. 142; 151; John 1:17; 14:15; 17:17)
· Word is truth. Referring to the authority of Scripture that is God's written Word; then, it was the Old Testament. Now, He was speaking to the Disciples who would write the New Testament under the auspices and inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Luke 8:11-21; 11:28; Acts 4:31; 6:7; 8:14-25; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16).
· Sent me. Referring that as God sends the Son, the Son sends us. Meaning we as Christians are the representatives of God, whether missionaries or church leaders or followers of Christ; we embody Christ when we reach out to others for Christ (John 16:33; 20:21; 2 Cor. 2:20).
· Sanctify / consecrate myself. Meaning God does not need improvement; He is Holy (Ex. 28: 41; Heb. 7:26-27).
· Believe in me. Jesus' prayer in this chapter is for all Christians through all time, that we know Him and make Him known by spreading the Gospel! It is God's role and work that are empowering and saving; we merely respond. Our faith is a response, not a work; we realize Christ because He is revealed to us. All the blessings and wonder that we have and can have are in Christ and He gives us the faith that we turn into more faith by our commitment and obedience (John 3:30; Rom. 6:12; Gal. 2:20-21; Eph. 2:8-9; 5:15-17; Phil. 3:1-21; Col. 1: 3-6, 10-12, 15-29).
· May be one. Unity is a crucial attribute of the Godhood-the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, which is our call as a Church to be unified by His indwelling and the fulfilling of His purpose. This means to be in unity with those outside of our culture and/or our socioeconomic, age, and ethnic standings as we are all one in Christ for mutual survival in an oppressive situation and cooperation for a successful church and the example and work of the Gospel (Psalm 78:3-7; Isa. 46:13; John 10:16; 11:52; 12:20-23; 14:23-24;
· Complete unity. God calls us as leaders of His Church to carry out His plans and accomplish His mission of reproducing communities of Christ-formed authentic disciples. We do this by equipping our people to know and teach Christ's redemptive reign as missionaries sent by God, to be real and to visibly live and proclaim Christ's Kingdom to the world. This is the model we are to use to show God's love to the world, because our unity has an evangelistic intention and example! Our infighting and often bitter divisions destroy churches and create an extremely bad witness. When we do not live as we should, our un-forgiveness becomes malice and actually grieves the Holy Spirit! We should be clear on this. A healthy Christian is one who puts aside the malicious traits of an evil, sinful nature, and embraces others in love. What comes out of love is the release of our feelings of betrayal and hurt. The Christian is called to model kindness, love, empathy, and compassion; out of these, forgiveness will flow. God wants us to get with it, to wake up, and seize the wonders and opportunities He gives us. An unforgiving attitude and its ugly rotten fruits will choke us off from His wonders (John 13:34-35; 15:13-17; Gal. 5:22; Phil. 1:23; 1 Thess. 4:17; 1 John 2:10; 3:14-16)!
· Loved. God loves us! Love confirms the legitimacy of Jesus! Love confirms the faithfulness of Jesus' followers! Our love sheds the spotlight upon God as we are His visible, living light. Whoever loves much, does much! How much God so loved you... your spouse...your co-workers...your family...how much He so loves your church family! When you love much, you will do so much more in your life and in others' lives as well. Real, true Love will verify the authenticity of Jesus' followers. This is also a template for the importance and value of friendships. This is the model we are to use to show God's love to the world! True love desires to seek and apply what God has to say with satisfaction back to Him, and gives us real meaning in life. It will enable us to trust in our Lord and receive His call and principles and in so doing, appreciate our fellow Christians and of course, our family and others around us. Love is taking the initiative to build up and meet the needs of others without expecting anything in return.And, when we have the wrong idea and definition of love, it will adversely impose on all areas in our life. This is also a template on the importance and value of friendships (Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27; John 13:31-35; 15:12-13, 17; 1 Cor. 13:3; Rom. 12:10; 13:8; 14:13; 1 Thess. 3:12; 4:9; 2 Thess. 1:3; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 3:22; 4:8; 23; 4:7, 11-12; 2 John 1: 5)!
· Be with me. This is our greatest blessing; we are made and destined to eternity in heaven, but while we are here on this earth, we must do all we can to serve Him with joy and gratitude (Mark 14:36; Eph 2:7; 1 John 3:2)!
· Know you. Meaning not just academic or intellectual knowledge of God, but our appreciation, trust, affection, obedience, and commitment in, for, and to Him. In addition, this is referring to our fellowship with God who created us for Himself, instruments of praise and worship to know and model His love. We are content and our souls in "rest "when we honor our Lord and live for Him. The great claim of Christianity is our ability to not just know God who first seeks to know us, but have a personal relationship with Him. This is what only the great Prophets of old had, but not all of the time-only on occasion; because of Christ, we have permanence with Him! God's purpose is to get us into His kingdom, to be identified in Him and not in ourselves or the world. Because of Christ, we have joyful abundance now, personal favor of God with real fellowship with Him, a purpose and meaning for our daily lives, and eternal life to come (Jer. 9:24; John 3:1-16; 15:5; Gal. 6:14).
· Make you known. We must never misrepresent God's Truth or lead people to another truth, because our intimate relationship with Him must point to a way of faith and faithfulness to His sovereign, loving rule (Psalm 25:5; 43:3; John 5:8; 14:6; 15:15; Eph. 1:13; Col. 1:1-8; 2 Tim. 2:15; James 1:18)
Devotional Thoughts and Applications
Oh the things we can do if only we acknowledge that God's love is real and we can be real too! However, the very notion that our product (Biblical Christianity) needs an overhaul is ludicrous. We do not have to make the gospel more relevant to modern ears; we just need to be more loving.There is nothing more relevant than how to be cleansed from sin and how to find life beyond the grave, but we have to be in unity. We must be careful that as we seek to promote the church, we promote the true church and not a watered down, cheap imitation or just show our infighting and hate to outsiders, instead of love and unity. Many today are removing offensive doctrines in order to make the Gospel more attractive, while others insist on being unloving, thinking this will attract people. Not! This will lead people into idolatry!We have to know and proclaim that God's love is amazing! When we consider how we are and who He is, we see that we do not deserve His love, yet we receive it anyway. We do not earn it or achieve it in any way or merit it whatsoever, yet it is there for our taking because of what Christ has done in our behalf.
Remember, love confirms the authenticity of Jesus and us as His followers!
The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive Bible Study):
1. What does this passage say?
2. What does this passage mean?
3. What is God telling me?
4. How am I encouraged and strengthened?
5. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
6. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?
7. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?
8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
9. What can I model and teach?
10. What does God want me to share with someone?
1. How have your prayers for others been like or unlike Jesus' prayer here? How is joy your strength?
2. How would you characterize yourself-hopeful and cheerful or cynical and negative? How is love the key to make your Christian life work?
3. Why does the world hate the instructions of Christ and His people? How is Christianity an assault to personal desires or perceived will?
4. What would cause a Christian to desire the ways of the world? Why do some do all they can to fight those who stand for Truth? What does it mean that "whoever loves much, does much?"
5. The character of love indeed counts, and it is the loudest broadcaster of what we are! So, what is your character proclaiming about you?
6. Did you know that the phrase "to know Christ and make Him known" comes from this passage? What does it mean to you to show His love and teaching?
7. Why is it important that we exhibit Christ by belief and behavior and by our love for and unity with one another?
8. Have you considered that what we have in Christ is wondrous far beyond our thinking or dreams? How do you feel that no one can take that away, not Satan or humans or circumstances when we receive our Lord's redemption?
9. How can you better follow His precepts and commands with full faith and due diligence?
10. How do you balance your call to go to the world but not be inflected by it? How can you be a better influencer of God to others with truth and joy?
11. How is love the essential framework with which to build a healthy life and church? What happens when your primary purpose is to glorify Christ, not to please your own comforts or ideas?
12. What can you do more to exemplify your intimacy with and empowerment in Christ?
© 2011, R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org/