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THE NIGHT JESUS PRAYED FOR US
Intro: We are in the midst of Passion Week. Last Sunday was Palm Sunday. It marked the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey declaring Himself to be the Messiah and the King of the Jews, in fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy, Zech. 9:9. That day also marked the beginning the final week of our Lord’s earthly ministry.
It was a week filled to the brim with activity. During that week, Jesus cleansed the Temple. He taught His disciples. He was confronted by His enemies. He spent His time completing the work His Father had sent Him to accomplish. That week ended with our Savior hanging dead on a Roman cross.
The last night of our Savior’s life was a night filled with much activity. He spent the evening with His disciples in the upper room, observing the Passover. When they finished their meal, and after Judas had left them to finish his betrayal of the Lord, Jesus and His disciples left the upper room and made their way to the Garden of Gethsemane. Once Jesus arrived there, He would pray in such agony that His sweat would become as “great drops of blood”. In the Garden that night, Jesus was battling evil for us on a grand scale. He overcame Satanic attack that night for us and lived to go to Calvary.
As Jesus and His men walked from the upper room to Gethsemane, the Lord used that time to comfort them, and to teach them many things they needed to know and understand about the future. The things Jesus taught them can be found in John chapters 14-16. They learned lessons about salvation, Heaven, the Holy Spirit, servant hood, among other things.
Just before they arrived at Gethsemane, Jesus prayed with and for His people. As the cross of Calvary loomed large before Him; as the sure knowledge that Israel would once and for all reject Him as their Messiah; and with the knowledge that even His Own disciples would forsake Him, Jesus took the time to pray for His people.
He didn’t just pray for the eleven men there with Him in the garden that night, He prayed for everyone who would ever believe on Him as well. In fact, that very night, Jesus prayed for you!
Jesus opens His prayer by praying for Himself in anticipation of rejoining the Father in the glories of Heaven, v. 1-5. Then He turns His attention outward to pray for His people, v. 6-26. Today, I want to zero in on verses 11-26 and preach for a while on the thought: The Night Jesus Prayed For His People. Let’s listen in as the Master prays and hear what He had to say to the Father about His people.
I. HE PRAYS ABOUT
(Ill. Jesus is headed to the cross where He will die. Three days later, He will rise from the dead and then forty days after that, He will ascend to Heaven. He is leaving His disciples in the world to carry on His work. These verses teach us the will of the Lord for His people as they journey through this world.)
A. v. 11-12 He Wants Us To Be Secured – These verses speak about the glory of our eternal security in Jesus - 1 Pet. 1:5; John 10:28; John 6:37-40! (Ill. Imagine having to keep yourself saved while you tried to live for God! I praise the Lord that my eternal salvation is not up to me, Rom. 8:30.)
B. v. 13 He Wants Us To Be Satisfied – He prays for His people to experience His joy! Not just happiness, which is dependent upon circumstances, but joy that is rooted in the Lord and in the work of the Spirit of God in our hearts, Gal. 5:22.
(Ill. The world is all about happiness! Just watch TV. You will be happy if you drive a certain kind of car, or if you have this product or try this cosmetic. Jesus promises His people joy! Joy lets you be content when cancer ravages your body. Joy lets you praise Him for the passing of a saved loved one! Joy lets you stare adversity in the face with peace. Joy has nothing to do with happiness, but joy has everything to do with contentment, and contentment is priceless! (Ill. 1 Pet. 1:8; 1 Tim. 6:6)
C. v. 14-16 He Wants Us To Be Separated – He prays that His people will be kept from the influence of the world and of the devil. He wants His people to walk differently from the world around them, 2 Cor. 6:17. Everything we do should be analyzed in light of our Savior’s desire that we be separate!
To aid us in our fight with the flesh and the devil, the Lord has provided all the resources we need to be victorious in that battle. He has promised us the ability to win over temptation, 1 Cor. 10:13. He has promised us the ability to win over the tempter, James 4:7. Jesus is our perfect example, vv. 14, 16. He was in the world, but He was certainly not of the world!
(Ill. There is a very real devil who would love nothing better than to devour your life and testimony, 1 Pet. 5:8. God’s plan is not to remove us from danger and opposition, but to protect us and preserve us in the midst of it.)
D. v. 17-19 He Wants Us To Be Sanctified – The word “sanctify” had the idea of “purifying something so that it can be set apart for exclusive use of the Lord.” When something is sanctified, it is made holy and it is set apart for the glory of God.
Jesus wants His people to be purified and used for solely the Lord’s glory. This sanctification takes place through the ministry of the Word of God, John 17:17; Eph. 5:26. As we spend time in the Word of God, it exposes areas of our lives that need attention. When we hear the Word of God and fashion our lives after its teachings, we become cleaner spiritually and of greater use to the Master, v. 18!
(Ill. The lesson about vessels, 2 Tim. 2:20-21. Some are honorable and can be used, while others are dirty and cannot be used. The cleansing ministry of the Word and prayer sanctifies us and prepares us to be used by the hand of the Master!)
II. HE PRAYS ABOUT OUR DUTY
A. v. 20-23 We Have The Duty Of Agreement – Christ’s desire for His people is that they be “one”. That is, He wants us to walk in unity. The secret to that requires us to get a couple of things just right.
· We must be able to disagree without being disagreeable!
· We must be able to discuss our differences face to face.
· We must be able to let go of minor hurts and pointless disagreements.
In other words, everything we do in our lives must be done with a view to maintaining unity within the body! Notice the Lord’s will for His people - 1 Cor. 1:10; Phil. 1:27; Phil 2:1-4; 1 Thes. 5:13; 1 Pet. 3:8.
This will require us to love one another more than we love ourselves. This will require us to refrain from gossip and backbiting, Pro. 26:20-22. This will require us to allow others to have opinions which differ from our own, Rom. 14:5-12. This will require us to allow others to be the person God saved them to be, Rom. 14:1-4. This will require us to practice the kind of forgiveness we have received from the Lord Jesus Christ, Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12-13.
(Ill. Why is unity so important in the church? We are a living advertisement for the Lord Jesus. When the world sees the people of God, they either see the presence of the Lord or the presence of strife. They will either see love or animosity. The Bible says that mutual love would be our calling card, I John 3:10-14; 4:20-21. We will never see everything eye to eye, but there is plenty about which we can agree.)
B. v. 25-26 We Have The Duty Of Affection – Not only in He concerned about His people being in one mind, He also wants us to be in love one with another! As Jesus brought His prayer to a close, He took a minute to pray that we would be filled with His love. That is, He desires that His people be characterized by a life of love one for the other. This kind of Love is God’s demand for His children - 1 Cor. 13:1-8. In fact, Jesus declared that our mutual love would be a sign to the world that we were genuinely of the Lord - John 13:34-35. More than anything else, our love, one for another, declares that we belong to Him!
III. HE PRAYS ABOUT
A. In verse 24, Jesus declares that it is His will that His people be with Him in His heavenly home!
(Ill. In the New Testament, there are 2 Greek words that are translated "to will". They are, 1.) Thelo, which means “to purpose”. It is used for the will of God which is unalterable and firmly fixed. It is the will of God and will come to pass; and, 2.) Boulomai, which means “to have a wish or a desire for something”. This word is used of desires that may or may not come to pass.
In John 17:24, Jesus uses the word “Thelo”. Jesus is saying, “I am declaring that it is my purpose that everyone who receives Me will be with Me in Heaven and will behold My glory!” In other words, if you are saved, you are going home!)
B. Just as a reminder, Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people, John 14:1-6! It is a place like no other, Rev. 21-22, where Jesus is the Light and God will dwell in the midst of His people. Heaven is far greater than we could ever hope to describe, but for the redeemed, it is home and we will be there by and by!
Conc: I praise His name that Jesus took the time to pray for us before He went to the cross to die for our sins! I praise Him for the things He asked for. I praise Him that He is still praying for us today, Heb. 7:25.
God the Father has and will answer every request made by His Son. I want to praise Him for that today. I also want to search my own heart to ensure that the parts I have a say in, like Satisfaction, Separation and Sanctification are accomplished in my life. If He has spoken to you about your own walk with Him, the time to talk to Him is now.