Summary: Objective: As the people of God, a torch has been passed to us giving us the purpose to be to the world what Jesus was to Israel.
PASSING ON THE TORCH
Subject: Christians in the World
Theme: Our Purpose in the World
Time: Sunday Morning July 16, 2000
Question: What is passed on to us?
This summer we will witness one of the most reknowned traditions in the world - The Summer Olympics - dating back to the days before Christ when nations would use the physical prowess of their own to compete for world dominance in the field of sports.
This year in - thousands of athletes from nations around the globe will travel to Sydney, Australia to compete in their own individual sporting events in order to determine if they are the best in the world. This is possibly the best the world has to offer in terms of achievement - each nation vying for a place of prominence in the world yet all done with the hopes of a peacable outcome (although history has shown that sometimes messages of hate have been delivered in what is deemed to be the most peacable display of competition in the world.
From the sight of the ancient Greek olympics a torch will be lit representing the Spirit of the games carried by runners to Sydney - I’m aware of the fact that over the ocean the runners still run continually - until the final runner reaches the sight of the stadium in Sydney where the flame will be lit to begin the games. What a sight - what a display of human ability and national pride. A speech will be given by the official presiding over the games - cheers will ring out - music and pagentry will begin the games.
Unlike the pagentry that will accompany the games - a small group of men gathered in a modest room to celebrate the Passover and then having eaten assembled in a private garden where - without all the pomp and circumstance - in fact in the face of a looming tragedy - a torch was passed on that would mean the redemption of the world. The speech was in a form of a prayer outlining an intimate transfer from a leader to his disciples of a divine will from heaven to redeem the world from its opposition to God.
“I have made known your name to those you gave me out of the world. They were yours and you gave them to me and they have held on to your word. Now they know that everything you have given to me comes from you because I have given to them the words which you gave me and they grabbed hold of it knowing that I truly came from you, and they believe that you sent me. I ask You (Father) on their behalf, I’m not asking for the world but for those you have given to me, because they belong to you and all that is mine is yours and what is yours is mine, and my fame has been displayed through them. I’m no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I’m coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in the name you have given me, that they may be one as we are. When I was with them I watched out for them and I didn’t lose any of them except the one who chose to betray me, since your word did say that someone would betray me. Now I’m coming to you so I’m saying these things while I’m still here so that they may be happy about what will happen. I have given them your word and the world hates them, because they are not of the world just as I am not of the world. I don’t ask you to take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one. They’re not of the world just as I’m not of the world. Set them apart by the truth: the word and you are truth. As you sent me into the world so I’m sending them into the world and I set myself apart form them that they may also be set apart in truth.”