Ponderings
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June 2, 2014, 11:00 AM

We are never alone.

“After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.” NRSV JOHN 17:1-11

 

I think that this is a marvelous text. Each phrase can be picked apart but each phrase needs the one that precedes it and the ones that follow.  They are all intertwined and they all go back to the very first verse, “In the beginning….”  Jesus has finished teaching and now begins to pray….after all it is called the “Farewell Prayer.”

Take the text above for instance. The very first opening words direct you to ask, “What words?” Then one might ask, “Jesus. Who is Jesus?” Who is he looking “up to heaven” to?  Who is his Father and what hour is he speaking about? How did his “Father” get all this authority and what authority did he have?” How do you get “eternal life?” Are all these people related? Where is this “Jesus” going?  See simple but oh so complex!

Notice right off the bat that Jesus does not bow his head in prayer…. He looks UP to heaven thereby signifying that his eyes are open . Then he starts his prayer by glorifying God!  Jesus is always glorifying God….ALWAYS. In that glorification Jesus has the authority to give eternal life. Eternal life in heaven, with the Son and with God. Remember a few weeks ago the text for Sunday was, “In my Fathers house are many rooms….I go to prepare a place for you.”

As I read this prayer I see it as Jesus’ prayer for the disciples. He is going to leave them, they will be alone, Jesus will not be there with them, protecting them!  He knows they will be alone, he knows they will fall away, that they will scatter, that they will deny him and that one will betray him. HE KNOWS!

This is really good news for us. Why? Because Jesus only left them alone so that he could do what he was born to do; to die so that ALL of us might be forgiven of our sins and in believing receive eternal life.

I know that Jesus is with me every day…every moment of every day. He never leaves my side, he never lets me go it alone. I know this because he told me so….and he told you, “I am with you ALWAYS, to the end of the age.” Matt 28:20b

He has never left us ….from day one to day zero …. He has never left. We are in him and he is in us! He never left. He gave us the Holy Spirit to protect, to energize, to enliven us so that we can believe, to teach, to baptize.

Jesus gave his all, even his words. They were not his words but God’s words. Jesus never takes credit for anything. Even in his final prayer it was important to begin with glorification of God before he did anything else. 

Friends, Jesus gives us the model for prayer, First and always first, glorify God, praise God for everything. We don’t have anything that God doesn’t want us to have. Pray for those around you and your neighbor. Pray always; when you drive, when you go about your day, when you rest, when you…. Pray…Look up to God and pray…GOD LISTENS and ALWAYS ANSWERS!

I have learned that God has a wonderful sense of humor. God loves unconditionally, God loved me so much that he sent me to you and called me to be your sheepdog two years ago! Two years can you believe it?  God has accomplished a lot through us and works with us every day as we feed, comfort, heal, and minister to God’s people in and outside of the four walls of this church.

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