Wednesday, April 4, 2012

John 17

     Jesus ends the Last Supper discourse with what many call the "High Priestly Prayer" of Jesus. It is a prayer for his closest friends and for all who believe because of their testimony (that is to say all Christ followers). The heart of the prayer is for heart. It is a prayer for intimacy. Jesus prays for the unity of his followers "that they may be one as. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us (17:21). This prayer for unity within the community of Christ followers is a prayer that has shamed the Christian movement for 2000 years. The church has struggled to be one. The church has struggled to find unity. This kind of unity is not an organizational understanding; it is not a lock step everyone agrees on everything with everyone kind of thing. It is not being forced to agree with things that you do not agree with. This kind of unity is a unity of relationship and a unity of purpose. I believe the early church shared this level of unity. I also believe that even within this profound spiritual unity there were disagreements: See Acts 15 (the Jerusalem Council); Acts 6 (the selection of Deacons) and Paul and Barnabas' falling out over young John Mark. These incidents show that the early church had its disagreements around matters of process and methods. Where they held unity was in their deep spiritual commitment to the person of Jesus. That we may be one as Jesus and the father are one.
     Jesus also prays that we would be "in the world" but not "of the world." This is such a critical distinction. It is easy to be spiritual and disconnected. It is easy to be connected to the world but disconnected from Jesus. The truly great challenge, and the challenge that Jesus gives us, is to stay connected and living in the real world while maintaining our core relationship with Jesus and the Christian community. Or, to put it another way, Jesus prays for us to stay as part of the world but to keep apart from the world's values and mores. This understanding is vital because the goal of the Christian faith is not to earn a deed to a gold plated mansion in the sky. The goal of the Christian faith is to bring the Kingdom of God here to earth.

1 comment:

CasioKid said...

What an awesome responsibility for Christ followers to shoulder: choosing a candidate to support in our elections! The Media is not always helpful in presenting all the needed facts. Aside from politics, we must be discerning of God's purpose for our lives and our local community as well. I'm glad I can read my Instruction Manual ( my Bible ) and dialogue with other thinking Christians. Filtering out the junk on Social media like Facebook is also challenging, but in light of my Savior and my desire to follow, it's easy.