23.5 John – Jesus Prayer, part 2 – the dance

I love the image that Timothy Keller painted in his book, The Reason for God, of the divine dance that is so beautifully illustrated in our verses today.  In the beginning, man was made in the image of God and was invited to participate in the dance.  It is a beautiful and eternal dance, one where each partner of the Trinity is in constant motion with the other, complementing and leading and bending and twisting, and supporting and relaxing in a completely fluid and beautiful dance.  Adam and Eve participated in this at the beginning of creation.  They were with God fully, hearings, seeing, touching, together in creation and the glory and holiness of the everything that God had created for them to be part of this dance.

Until they day that they stopped dancing with God, because they had made the decision that they wanted to be god instead.  When sin entered, they stopped, they stopped listening to the music of the heavens, they stopped moving in synchronicity with God, they just stopped.  The dancefloor of Eden was no place for someone who wasn’t going to dance and they were cast out.

But, Jesus’ prayer of Joh 17:20-26 is for us, those who were not with Him but who believe because of the words and works of those who were in that room with Jesus that night (including Jesus himself!).  It is a prayer that God, again, bring us back into the dance.

Look at the beauty of Jesus’ words in this passage, “I in them and you in me so that they may be brought to complete unity”, “all of them may be one”, “Father, just as you are in me and I am in you may they also be in us”, “I have given them the glory that you gave me that they may be one as we are one” .  Do you see the motion of the dance in these words, the spinning, holding, connecting that is the glory of God?

My Answers:

11.
That all believers (then and now) may be one as the Father and Son are one.  In God so that the world may believe.
Restored to our original state.
There is one (body, spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism, God, Father, overall all through all in all

12.
John 17 is Jesus prayer for His disciples, as the high priest prayed to God in the temple and offered sacrifices for the atonement of sin, Jesus brought them forth to God to receive the sacrifice that He was going to make on their behalf

13.
Unity that is unity in God

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23.4 John – Jesus’ prayer, part I

Every military movie I have ever seen seems to have at least one scene where people are marching through enemy territory.  And, it never fails that one brave leader is given the job of taking “point”, heading up the procession and another is given “the rear” to keep a watch that no one slips up from behind.

I thought of this as I read Jesus’ prayer in these verses where He asks God to sanctify and protect those who belong to Him.  Sanctification is leading us on the path to holiness.  We don’t know the way because we are not holy, but God does.  Our job is to follow, He has the lead.

But Jesus doesn’t just ask Him to lead us into sanctification, He also asks Him to take the rear and protect us as well.  In my life at least, this seems to be where evil and temptation lurks.  It doesn’t confront me head on as I’m marching forward with God at the lead.  It tries to sneak up and nip at my Achilles’ heel.  It comes up behind me and whispers a passing comment, or just lurking causing a sense of fear or dread or doubt.

Remembering and repeating this prayer is important to me.  It helps me with the image and acknowledgement is not just at the head, but He can be in multiple places at the same time and can be leading and taking the rear.  He can encase me from harm front, back and on all sides.

My Answers:

8.
a.
For protection, to keep them safe, to sanctify them by the truth, to have them be sent into the world (as Jesus was)

b.
Pentecost – that although persecuted, they came together and were indwelled by the H/S and spoke boldly to those gathered and brought many to faith that very day.

9.
For them, eternal life had already begun.  They were no longer shackled by sin, they had been set free because of faith

10.
To be made holy, set apart for God, chosen, a treasured possession, a gift, to not conform but be transformed, a new self, a new creation, to be disciplined, to arise out of the destruction of the world, to be without fault and a great joy

23.3 John – Gift

Gifts are great.  I’m not talking about the mass-consumerism obligatory gift giving that society means.  I’m talking about the emotion involved in having taken the time to find, or better yet make, a heartfelt gift and presenting it to another person in love.

For example, my wife is a quilter.  She loves to craft an item of beauty that can be used (not just displayed) and last a lifetime.  But what she loves to do the most is to pray while constructing a quilt.  Each clip, each stitch, each block, is a physical manifestation of prayer offered to God for the individual or family receiving the quilt.

I think this is how we are as gifts from the Father to the Son.  It isn’t just the finished product of our lives that will live with Jesus for all eternity, but it is the snipping and clipping and stitching work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  It is the joining together of blocks that make up family and community and church.  It is the embellishment of different colors of stitches through the stages of our lives and the special flourishes that make is into a gift.  I think it is even the prayers offered in the times the Holy Spirit has to rip out stitches, not because of his mistakes but because of our resistance to the direction we are supposed to go.

Our lives may look like a bunch of mixed up, mismatched and ragged pieces, but the work of the Father through the Holy Spirit shapes us into a gift that is a blessing to His son.

My Answers:

6.
They are a gift from God.  Jesus invested them with the words that were a gift to Him from God.  They are shared by Jesus and His Father

7.
a.
Because it is through the believers in Jesus that the light of Jesus’ divinity shines in the world.  The disciples are a gift and a testament.  They are the witnesses

b.
By living in the image of Christ, by praise Him, to spread the message, to rejoice greatly, to be refined by fire, to praise, glory and honor Jesus and – through so doing – to reveal Him to others

23.2 John – More than a noun

Nouns are interesting things.  They are the word or words we give to put a name to a thing.  But they are horribly incomplete.  For example, the noun house has a completely different meaning to me than it does to you or that it would to someone in another of the world.  When you example it, that is true for many if not most nouns.  And, while that is fine for many nouns, it is not for the noun, God.  You don’t have your god and I have my god, there is one true God and the way we know Him is either the truth or it is wrong.

Jesus was the physically embodiment of God.  By knowing Jesus and the decisions, choices, actions he took and the words he chose we collectively see the attributes of the one true God.

But this is far more than just knowing about those things, as we might read in a History book, it is knowing them as windows into the attributes that are God.  When we say, as scripture does, that God is Love, through the life of Jesus we see what that means lived out.  God is not a static point in time, but a living being and each element/attributes gives us more clarity on the truth of God.

As we participate in our bible study this week, I think it is important to recognize that to study Jesus is to Experience God.  Jesus is living, He is alive in us and with us.  We have the word of scripture including His words to experience what it was like to sit in that upper room and have Jesus pray over us

But that experience requires more than a passing task oriented approach.  It requires prayer.  It requires an open heart and mind.  It requires an encounter with Jesus, coming into His presence, which always causes us to recognize our own sins and confess and repent of them.   It is getting in there with Jesus and loving like He does, and forgiving like we ask for forgiveness and trusting in Him for our daily food and daily life.

My Answers:

3.
Honor, give praise, to recognize and point out the holy nature, to identify and recognize God’s presence.

4.
a.
To know Jesus is to see God, not a man, it is to know the verb not just the noun.

b.
It isn’t something that begins in the future, it is something that started the day my eyes were open to the truth.  I know God now, not just after I die.  I grow to know God more and Jesus Christ, every day.  Eternal life has already begun.

5.
Jesus was in creation, all things were made through Him.  He contained the full glory of God, and sat it down to come to earth for us.  After conquering death and fulfilling the restoration of mankind, He returned to His place in the throne room of heaven.  He is the radiance of God’s glory (Shekinah)

22.5 John – Going along vs. being a target

Is it enough to know and believe what is right?

That is a challenge Christians have always faced and one that we face today.  “The crowd” in whatever form or name you choose to give it (popular opinion, the state, the authorities, the man, the world) is always going in a direction and, let’s face it, in a big picture view, it is pretty much always going in the wrong direction.  Without the influence of the church, the world becomes more and more immoral.

We know, as Christians, that we are not to “go along with the crowd”.  But, taking a stand, speaking up, makes you a target for trouble.  That trouble may be disassociation.  It may be labeled as “hating” (which is ironic, since it is normally an act of love and caring for others over self that prompts one to take a stand).  It may mean financial, verbal, legal or even physical persecution.  In some parts of the world, it may mean imprisonment and even death.

But where is the line between silent protest and silent acquiescence?  Where is the difference between staying and fighting and shaking the sand from our sandals and moving on to where people are listening to the conviction of the Holy Spirit?

As we look at the words Jesus told to the disciples, that in their own ways each of them would abandon Him, we are convicted in the ways that we too abandon Jesus in our approach to the world of “get along, go along.”

But, I think the answer to this is also provided in these same verses.  We are called to pray by “asking in Jesus’ Name.”  I think that has far less to do with the words we pray and more to do with what we pray for.  We have a very big tendency to pray for ourselves.  I’m not saying that is not allowed, but it isn’t the entire picture.  What if more of our prayers were for Jesus to be glorified?  What if more of our prayers were for Jesus to be made known to non-believers? What if more of our prayers were for other sheep to be found?  What if more of our prayers were for the missionaries who are dedicating their lives to their calling?  What is more of our prayers were for our pastors, our leaders, our judges, our courts, our teachers, our civil servants, our doctors?

What if we stand firm not in spite or to make a point and not with thoughts about becoming a target or raising the attack of others, but because by standing firm we provide strength to that other believer who thought they were alone?

Speaking up and taking a stand always brings troubles.  But, nothing can be brought to bear that Jesus has not already overcome.  Not only has He overcome it, but, by the presence and seal of the Holy Spirit, He has already overcome it in our lives in our situation in our time.

My Answers:

11.
a.
To ask for the things that Jesus would ask for and for them to come for His recognition and glory.

b.
Steadiness.  A solid daily witness through words and actions.  Help and guidance in the things he has entrusted to me (particularly the people, i.e., family members).  For a giving heart.

12.
Any level of persecution is a test.  Also the temptation to “go along with the crowd” when others are acting or saying things that are not Christ honoring.

13.
There is nothing here that is stronger than Jesus.  He has overcome not only His own death, but also all the problems and troubles the world may ever dish out to me.

22.4 John – OK to Ask

My daughter recently changed to a new school and there was one particular problem or topic in chemistry that wasn’t clicking for her.  She went through the practice exercises in the homework.  She read the textbook.  She asked other students.  She asked her parents (not that I was any help in that regard).  She even looked on line.  But, there were still questions.  Then she stayed after school one day and asked the teacher.  The teacher very patiently and thoroughly went through it with her in different ways and perspectives, even to the extent of basically giving her a copy of the upcoming test and coaching her through it.  And, now she understands it (and aced the test!).

In our verses today, Jesus reminds us that it is OK to just ask the teacher.  We can read the bible.  We can fast and meditate.  We can seek counsel of others.  But, we can also just ask God.  He is patient.  Just as we saw in verse 12, he is not going to burden us with more than we can bear.  He wants us to grow and learn and understand.  This is not some mystery or riddle that is a trick for us to go decipher.  Jesus wants us to know and understand it.  He wants our eyes to be open and our thoughts to be clear.

I am not saying to throw out your bible and cut ties with other believers just to rely on divine inspiration.  Reading the bible and talking to others, just like reading the textbook and discussing with other classmates, provides a foundation and basis for the Teacher to pour understanding into our lives.

 My Answers:

8.
The time when He is dead and in the tomb.  The time of His resurrection.
While Laz was in the tomb they did not see, Him, but He came out at Jesus’ calling and was seen again and ate and lived with them.
Could also mean the time between His Ascension and Pentecost.
Could also mean the time between His Ascension and the Second Coming

9.
Jesus showed his compassion by answering their unasked questions.  He said they would morn, this is their time of mourning, they would have grief and would weep, but it would pass and a time of joy would replace it, a time of rejoicing

10.
I ponder it and sometimes as others.  He says to ask God in His name.

22.3 John – VoJ

In theater and stage the unseen voice of an announcer or narrator is often referred to as the V.O.G. or Voice of God.  In our lesson today we learn that the Holy Spirit also speaks as the Voice of Jesus.

In verse 13 we read, “He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears”.

Don’t miss the depth of the love and self-sacrifice that line of scripture tells us about the Holy Spirit.

It brings to mind Team Hoyt, the father who has pushed his disabled son through more than 30 marathons for the joy on the son’s face.  Or even a translator or interpreter who gives up the things they have to say purely to sign or say the things being spoken by another.

The Holy Spirit is God, just as much God as the Father or the Son.  Yet, He purposefully and intentionally gives up His own words in our life to relay the words of Jesus.  He is the voice of Jesus in our souls, in our day to day lives.  He is the model of trust and reliance of our Lord for the words.

Why?  To bring glory to the Son and to the Father.  Verse 14: “He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.”

Wow!

My Answers:

5.
We know the Bible is true because Jesus promised the Spirit of truth would guide the disciples who wrote it.

6.
He does so through a self sacrifice.  Instead of speaking on His own, He speaks to men only what Jesus tells Him and Jesus tells Him the words that belong tot he Father.  In this way, Jesus is eternally glorified.

7.
speaks to us in the words of Christ.  I need Him for every part of life but in particular daily direction, guidance on how to pray, work on my heart to be more submissive to God and patience to wait for God’s timing.