Summary: Jesus is praying that we, United Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, non-denominationalists, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, 7th Day Adventist…you name it…may be one---united by our common faith that Jesus is Lord!!! And this unity is meant to m
“You are in the Bible”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
Imagine some great figure from the past.
Abraham Lincoln, perhaps.
George Washington, possibly.
Martin Luther King Jr., maybe.
JFK or even John Wesley.
Think of someone you respect and admire.
Now imagine that historians have just found, among old manuscripts, a letter from the great person himself.
And imagine that it was talking about…you!
How would you feel?
This is how we should feel as we read this prayer.
Jesus is talking about you and me!
“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message…”
Hey, we’ve made it into the Bible after all!
Jesus is kneeling and pouring out His heart to God the Father and suddenly Jesus stops and says, in essence, “Father, I do not pray for Peter and James and John and Andrew and Bartholomew only, but I also pray for Pat, and Franklin and Charlsee, and for Emily, and for Dennis…
Jesus has loved us for so long.
He’s been praying for us for so long.
And I am convinced Jesus is still praying for us, ceaselessly interceding.
Jesus’ love is so much deeper and stronger than any other love…
…and for those of us who are Christian, we can rest in that fact with confidence and assurance no matter the difficulties we are facing!
How might our prayer lives change if we were to sit quietly each day knowing that we are not only praying to Jesus, but that Jesus has been praying for us all along?
Next week we will celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
And one of the gifts brought to you and me is this…
…as Paul writes in Romans Chapter 8, “the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
Have you ever needed to pray, but you couldn’t quite put it into words?
Allow the Holy Spirit to pray for you with “sighs to deep for words.”
Our prayer lives, our spiritual lives—our entire lives are so enriched and strengthened when we regularly become quiet with the confidence that the Holy Spirit is praying for us!!!
What might such a revelation mean for young people, for example, who are fearful of the future and worried about what to do with their lives?
What might such a spiritual awareness do for us who are in trouble?
And for older people who face illness and uncertainty about what the coming year might bring?
What a gift to be able to bring all our cares and concerns to God in prayer!!!...
…knowing we are loved and cared about beyond measure…
…even when it seems the entire world is crashing down around us!!!
In His prayer in John Chapter 17, Jesus is praying that we all “may be one,” just as Jesus and the Father are one…
…as Jesus puts it, “just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us…
…I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity…
…I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Has this happened?
As in any human relationship, unity cannot be forced.
There can be no bullying or manipulation.
God does not force our hand.
We have free will, but we also have the Spirit and Christ praying for us.
One of the most frequently asked questions which puzzles persons who come to a United Methodist Church for the first time comes from the Apostles’ Creed.
It is one of the great statements of faith produced by the early Christians.
What puzzles people is when we say, that we believe in the “one, holy Catholic Church.”
Surely, they must think, “we are not Catholics!”
The answer, of course, is that the word “catholic” means “the Church Universal.”
It does not mean strictly “Roman Catholic.”
Jesus is praying that we, United Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, non-denominationalists, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, 7th Day Adventist…you name it…
…may be one---united by our common faith that Jesus is Lord!!!
And this unity is meant to mirror, nothing less, than the unity between the Father and the Son.
And in case we miss the point, the result of this will be that the world will see us, and know that this kind of human community, united across all traditional barriers of race, custom, gender or class can only come from the action of God!!!