Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!

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Prayer for Disciples

Reading: John 17: 6-19

Verse Fifteen: “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one”.

Today’s passage is Jesus’ prayer for His disciples after He finally ascends to the Father into heaven. He has walked through the past three years with them, building up both their faith and also a personal relationship with each of them. Along the way He has prepared them for the day when He is no longer present. He has modeled what it is to be a humble servant and to love God with all one’s being. Jesus has sent them out on training missions to get a taste of what ministry without Jesus present.

In these things, Jesus reminds me of parenthood. As we raise our children, we model the behaviors, actions, and choices that we want them to make. We teach our children how to love God and others, how to be willing to give of oneself for the other. We allow them to swim a little on their own, celebrating when they succeed and picking them up when they fail. At some point it becomes time for them to be out on their own and we too pray over and for the next stage in their journey. And we keep praying for our children, just as Jesus does today as He intercedes for us all.

Jesus prays for His disciples as their work continues. Jesus realizes that they now belong to God and not to the world, just as He does. But there is still work to do, so Jesus prays, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one”. He knows they must remain in the world to accomplish the plans that God has for them and His new church. Yet Jesus also knows the challenges that lie ahead so He prays for God to protect them. Jesus knows that just as Satan tempted Him in the wilderness with the things of the world, so too will Satan try and lead the disciples away from the truth.

This is why Jesus closes the prayer by asking God to sanctify them – to make them holy. Jesus knows that if the disciples live a holy life then it will protect them against the slings of the evil one. Jesus knows holiness is rooted in the truths found in the Bible, so He asks God to sanctify them by the truth. He is asking God to put the Word in them. It is by the truth found in the Word that they are made holy. By this same Word we are made holy. This day may we be disciples grounded in the Word, loving God and others with all we are.

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The Mission

Reading: Luke 13: 31-35

In today’s passage the Pharisees make an appearance.  In almost all of their many encounters with Jesus, their interactions are usually negative.  But today they are not.  This group of Pharisees is trying to warn Jesus of Herod’s plan to kill Him.  There is concern for Jesus’ well-being.  Jesus’ response is interesting.  He tells them that He simply must keep going because there is a plan.  Like the disciples, the Pharisees do not understand Jesus’ reference to Palm Sunday and the events that will follow.

Jesus knows that the plans God has will succeed every time.  No matter what Herod or any other ruler does, in the end God’s plan will succeed.  Jesus also knows the plan.  In the conclusion of His story, the cross is essential.  In spite of how powerful he is, Herod will be used by God just as God intended all along.

At times in our lives we are like the Pharisees in today’s passage.  We get lost in the day to day and in the things of this world.  We lose sight of the big picture.  We lose our God-sized vision.  When we allow this to happen, we fail to follow our mission.  Jesus calls us into loving service of all mankind.  Our long term destination is the same as Jesus’: heaven.  Our daily task is also the same as well: to take as many along with us as we can.  We call this making new disciples.

Jesus never lost sight of His mission and the plan.  He knew seeing it through was the only way for you and I to find God’s goal for us: salvation.  May we also keep focused on our mission and the plan.  May we too always share the good news of Jesus Christ with all we meet.  May we serve as He served.