In John 17 Jesus prays for His disciples and those who would believe because of their word. He prayed that they would be one even as He and the Father are one. He said, “as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us…”
Later, after the cross and the death, burial, resurrection and ascension, the Apostle Paul teaches us nothing less than this same thing has actually occurred. He said in Colossians 1 that he was made a minister of the church in order to declare a mystery that had been hidden for ages and generations, but has now been manifested. He said this great mystery is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” In preaching this message his goal was to present every man complete in Christ. You see until we have Christ in us we are incomplete; for God created us to be one with Him and that only takes place through the cross.
In Romans 6 we discover those of us who have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into His death and joined with Him in His burial and resurrection. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself; so for those of us who place our faith in Him we have Him in us and we are complete. This word complete is actually not the word used in the trusty King James Bible rather it’s the word “perfect.” Hebrews 10:14 tells us “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”
Not only did Jesus become sin on the cross, He has joined us to himself spirit to Spirit in the process thereby making us the righteousness of God in Him. Just as Jesus prayed we have become one with Him, a new creature. In fact according to Ephesians 2 not only have we been raised, as in resurrected, we have also been “seated with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 3 instructs us “If you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” This is why Paul says things like “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” So you see Christ not only lives in us, He is our life. The Bible clearly states Christ is the head and the believers are His body. You can’t separate a head from a body so when you see the body your’e seeing the head. The two truly are one.
Our Wednesday night Bible study is in John 17 which some might say is the real “Lord’s prayer” even more so than the 23rd Psalm, but I’ll leave that to you to decide. One thing is for sure John 17 is quite the prayer, and it comes right before Jesus is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. Since Jesus knew his arrest was imminent it must mean these final words to his Father, in front of his disciples, were of the utmost importance.
The 14th through 17th chapters in the gospel of John are some of the most amazing words I have ever read. Those four chapters are overwhelmingly made up of Jesus’ words to his disciples as he taught them about his going away, the coming of the Holy Spirit, what was going to happen after he left and what he expected of them.
John 17 is Jesus’ prayer that thankfully the Holy Spirit inspired John to record. In this chapter we discover what Jesus asks the Father and how he wants his disciples to be brought into union with the Trinity of Father, Son and Spirit. It has come to my attention this prayer is broken down into three main sections. Jesus talks of how he manifested the Father’s name to the disciples, he had given them his word and given them His glory.
Jesus makes it very clear that he and the Father are one and those that believe and receive what he offers are meant to be one with them. Apparently this has been the plan all along. Throughout the Biblical narrative God’s glory shines through because his word can be trusted because he guards the reputation of his name.
God gave Abraham his word about the whole world being blessed through his seed. In Christ it has happened. When Moses objected to being called to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt he asked, “Who will I say sent me?” God revealed his name to him saying, “tell them I AM sent you.” Later Moses asked to see God’s glory, and when the time came for him to see, God revealed to him “It will come about, while my glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.” When God did reveal himself to Moses the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”
Throughout the New Testament Jesus Christ makes several statements which invokes the name “I AM” in relation to himself. On one occasion he said, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad…Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Wow! Jesus clearly taught that he was the one and same God that gave Abraham the promise and revealed his patience and loving-kindness to Moses.
Now in John 17 Jesus prays on behalf of his disciples longing for them to enter into oneness with the Father as he is. He said, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, (the disciples present at the time) but for those also who believe in me through their word; that they may all be one; even 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 sent me.”
Without belaboring the point let me finish up by saying everything is about God’s name, his word and his glory. Everything Jesus did was for these three reasons and he wants us to share in it with him. Therefore he went to the cross to enable us to be brought back into union with God. He reveals God to us and sanctifies us with his word, not to take us out of the world, but to send us in so we might express God’s name, word and glory as we invite others who will to join us in God’s glorious plan. “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.”
You have heard the saying, “if you love someone, set them free and if they come back, it was meant to be.” It’s hard to let go of someone when you love them, isn’t it. We think that without us, they will never make it. The truth is, hold on loosely but don’t let go. One example of this could be our children, we raise them up in love, wisdom and common sense in hopes when they are older, they will reap the benefits. That is how I feel with the ladies in jail; they are like my children whom I love so much. I never know if they are listening to the Lord each week as the gospel is presented to them. I hope and pray they are receiving the revelation God offers. I know I can’t be there when they get out. I also know I can’t be there every morning for their Bible reading, but I do know the Holy Spirit is there in them, if they are born again then it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to keep them.
My heart aches as I share the word with them in jail tonight because there is a lady here whom I have invited to Bible study. She came to Sunday school a couple of times with her children, but mostly, she didn’t follow through with what the Lord was telling her. I remember her telling me how the Lord spoke to her and she was changed from the inside. Things were different and she wanted to live her life for God. Months later she is sitting in jail looking at six months. It’s hard not to get discouraged, but also to see this as the way God is getting her attention because He loves her. We give our children disciple when they need it and if we belong to God, He does the same for us. I did get an opportunity to talk with her tonight; we had the chance to talk and to pray. I know God is working through some things with her but most of all; He wants her to know He loves her too much for her to stay in her sin. Jesus came to set us free from sin.
There were several ladies who wanted to talk, one of my notes said, “SOS, please come get me, please.” Another note said, “Tracey: I have a lot going on I need to talk to you seriously, bad!” These notes may have my name on them, but they are calling out to Jesus and He is hearing them. That is just another reason why I don’t leave the jail till after midnight some nights. Somehow, God sustains me through the work day on Friday’s, Hallelujah!
I read to them the whole chapter of John 17. It made me cry in the middle of it so I asked Tammy Strader to finish for me. This is the passage where Jesus is praying to the Father about His disciples and how he longs for them to be one, like Jesus and the Father are one. He says in verse 11, “I am no longer in the world, and yet they themselves are in the world and I come to you, Holy Father, keep them in your name, the name which you have given me that they may be one even as we are.” Verse 12 continues, “While I was with them, I was keeping them in your name.”
The lady I call, Bucky impressed me when we talked because she is feeling convicted of some wrong doing. She said it used to never bother her before, to not be honest about money, but now, for some reason, it bothers her. We prayed about her situation and she assured me, she did not want to continue to feel this way because it is keeping her from reading the Bible and spending time with Jesus. I thought it was great because Jesus is keeping her and she knows it.
One out of three Rhema word ladies came tonight. Tammy Strader and I had a good time listening to the inmates talk about Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, and Isaac in Genesis. There was good discussion and many insights into the Word of God and how much fun that can be. I enjoy our time together every chance we get. It was after midnight when Tammy and I left, but I just love it because I know it’s not my effort to keep myself, but God who is the Keeper.
Written by Tracey