Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Jesus said unto him, ‘If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him (to her) that believeth.”
Mark 9: 23
Why In The World
“When I complained
‘I just can’t do it’
Your response was immediate:
‘Of course not.
That’s why you have Me.
Lord, why in the world
Didn’t I think of that?”
Ruth Harms Calkin
Today’s Study Text:
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast love Me.”
John 17: 20-23
“Learning To Pray Like Jesus” – Part 9
“Known By Our Love”
“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”
Johann W. Von Goethe
In what ways have I felt the presence of God’s love in my life?
How am I able to share Jesus’ divinity when I love those around me?
“Love unites the soul with God: and the more love the soul has the more powerfully it enters into God and is centered on Him.”
John of the Cross
“The reason why God’s servants love so much is that they see how much Christ loves them, and it is one of the properties of love to love what is loved by the person we love.”
Catherine of Siena
Not long ago, a friend and I, who had both lost someone we deeply loved in a very sudden and untimely death, began to share some of the immediate emotional responses we faced soon after finding out a person we cared about so very much was snatched away from us. If you have ever lost a person you love, you may well be able to relate to the vast ocean of emotions which flood your being after such a shock jolts your entire system.
It was this reality that made me want to consider the entire context that surrounded Jesus when He offered the heartfelt words to His Father we find in John 17. Just imagine for a moment all the thoughts which must have filled Jesus’ mind. It was only a few hours before He was to be crucified. One of His closest “friends” would betray Him. Another would deny he ever knew Jesus – and not just once, but three times. And the rest of His disciples would hide out in fear. Betrayed. Denied. And murdered. This kind of treatment would be more than enough to allow an emotion like love never to enter into the picture. Yet, what we think might happen is exactly the opposite of what really did happen.
There were no words of revenge from Jesus’ lips. His prayer was not that of King David who asked God to take vengeance on his enemies. Instead, Jesus asked His Father to give the precious ones, those He loved so dearly the same spirit of love He had with His Father. There was a very specific reason why Jesus longed for this gorgeous thread of love, one that had a heavenly origin, to be woven from heaven to earth, from God’s heart through Jesus’ heart – right into your heart and mine.
The Apostle John is clear as to the reason Jesus wanted a flowing stream of love to run without interruption from heaven to earth and this was the reason: “So that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me” (John 17: 21, Amplified Bible). Christ’s purpose – the reason for His coming to earth as well as the divinity He brought with Him are wrapped up in the testimony of love you and I bear witness to in our own lives every day.
I had to take some time to contemplate this grandest of thoughts. When someone looks at you and me – and they take note that despite our different personalities and cultures and backgrounds – we are fitted together like a hand and glove because of our unity in Jesus, they will come to the inevitable conclusion that such unique people could be in oneness only because of Jesus’ love, a heavenly gift from the Father’s throne. Simply stated, to unbelievers, the proof of Jesus’ divinity depends on what they see when you and I, who call ourselves Jesus’ followers, interact in love with not only each other, but even with those some would refer to as enemies.
Found in his commentary on the book of John, author David Brown expands on this thought by sharing that the, “indwelling Spirit of the Father and the Son is the one perfect bond of union, knitting up into a living unity, first all believers amongst themselves, next, this unity into one still higher with the Father and the Son, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. So the grand impression upon the world at large, that the mission of Christ is divine, is to be made by the unity of His disciples.”
The key point of Christ’s prayer regarding the impact of our love for each other, despite our differences even when petty and small, focused on by David Brown who notes that when we as Christians bicker among ourselves, we plant seeds of infidelity within the world. But he then contrasts how harmony among differing groups, “through the Spirit of Christ, illuminating, transforming, and reigning in the hearts of the genuine disciples of Christ, drawing them to each other as members of one family, and prompting them to loving cooperation for the good of the world --- this is what, when sufficiently glowing and extended, shall convict the world that Christianity is divine.” Brown ends with these thoughtful questions: “Should not Christians ponder these things? Should not the same mind be in them (you and me) which was also in Christ Jesus about this matter? Should not (Jesus’) prayer be (ours)?”
Many years ago, I was taught a “folk song” at a Bible Conference attended by a group of young teens in California. We were kids from a wide variety of backgrounds – as diversified a group as you could meet. At the end of the conference, with our young hands clasped and our voices lifted in unison we sang these words penned by Jason Upton:
“We are one in the Spirit
We are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit
We are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity
May one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians
By our love, by our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians
By our love.”
It’s been way too many years since I was a young teen singing this song – way too many years!! Isn’t it time we let the Spirit fill us? Isn’t it time we prayed the prayer of Jesus? And what will happen? The world will know that Jesus was sent from heaven by His Father when His children become “One” in His love! This is what will happen!
“Let us make God the beginning and the end of our love, for He is the fountain from which all good things flow and into Him alone they flow back. Let Him therefore be the beginning of our love.”
Richard Rolle of Hampole
“Jesus prayed, Father, the glory which You have given to Me, I have given to them, that they may be one, even as We are one, so that the world may know that You have sent Me.”
John 17: 22-23
“O God, give to us who are still divided the thirst and hunger for communion in faith, life and witness. Keep us restless until we grow together in accord with Christ’s prayer that we who believe in Him may be one”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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