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JESUS PRAYS FOR YOU
Intro: The night before the Lord Jesus was to be crucified was a night filled with much activity. He spent the evening with His disciples in the upper room, observing the Passover, teaching them about the Holy Spirit, and generally encouraging them to carry on His work in the world. After they had finished their meal, Jesus led them outside the city to a garden called Gethsemane. There, He took time to call on His Father. Luke tells us that He prayed with such intensity that He sweat became like great drops of blood, Luke 22:41-44. You see, in that garden, Jesus was under satanic attack! Jesus was battling evil on a grand scale for you and me as He prayed that night.
John gives us a little insight into this prayer which Jesus prayed. He allows us to listen in on Jesus as He calls on the Father for us. I am sure that we do not have a record of all of our Lord’s prayers that evening, but the portion we have in John 17, lets us know where His mind was that night. 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, 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 11 men there with Him in the garden that night, He prayed for every one who would ever believe on Him as well. In fact, if you are saved, Jesus prayed for you!
Jesus open 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. Tonight, I want to zero in on verses 11-26 and preach for a while on the thought: Jesus Prays For You. Let’s listen in as the Master prays and here what He had to say to the Father about His people.
I. V. 11-19 HE PRAYS ABOUT YOUR DESCRIPTION
(Ill. Jesus is headed to the cross where He will die. 3 days later, He will rise from the dead and then 40 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 You 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!)
B. V. 13 He Wants You To Be Satisfied - He prays for His people to experience His joy! Not just happiness which is dependant 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 You 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.
D. V. 17-19 He Wants You 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 fro the glory of God. Jesus wants His people to be purified and used for 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, others are dirty and cannot be used. The cleansing ministry of the word prepares us to be used by the hand of the Master!)
II. V. 20-23; 25-26 HE PRAYS ABOUT YOUR DUTY
A. V. 20-23 You 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 is being able to disagree without being disagreeable! In other words, everything we do 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
(Ill. Why is unity so important in the church? Because 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. Where there is strife, there is confusion and God is not the author of confusion, 1 Cor. 14:33.)
B. V. 25-26 You 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 13:35.
III. V. 24 HE PRAYS ABOUT YOUR DESTINATION
A. 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. 2.) Boulomai - which means to have a wish of a desire about something. This word is used of God's desires that may or may not come to pass depending upon the actions of others. For instance, this word is used in 2 Pet. 3:9. It is not God's wish that any perish, however, for that wish to be realized, men must receive te Lord. In John 17:24, Thelo is the word used. Jesus is saying, "I am declaring that it is my purpose that every one 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! (Ill. Heaven isn’t anything like this world! Nothing ages, breaks or wears out over there!)
Conc: I am grateful that Jesus took the time to pray for us before He went to the cross to die for us! I am grateful that most of His prayer declares that which will be done for me and in me. However, I would just remind us this evening that part of it, the satisfaction, the sanctification, the separation, the unity and the love are dependant upon us being willing to yield to His will for our lives! His pray has been answered! Has it all been answered in your life?