Friday, September 7, 2012

For Those Who Will Believe

We've been using the family devotional guide, Lord, Teach Us To Pray, with our small group and also at home with our children each evening.  I'm not always able to listen as closely as I'd like when my husband is leading these times; sometimes it's necessary for me to help keep my son quietly occupied so that my daughter can really hear the teaching.  But I'm really thankful that I was able to hear my husband read John 17 the other day.  I know I've read it myself before.  And the truth that Jesus is a high priest for those that trust Him has been precious to me; I'll often paraphrase Hebrews 7:25 when praying: Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.  I came to love that verse in the context of Hebrews 7:18-28:   

[18] For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness [19] (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
    [20] And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, [21] but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him:
    “The Lord has sworn
        and will not change his mind,
    ‘You are a priest forever.’”
    [22] This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.
    [23] The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, [24] but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. [25] Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
    [26] For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. [27] He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. [28] For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.
 
Jesus as a high priest has been part of my theology.  But John 17, which we were directed to by the devotional guide, did two things for me in a fresh way:

1) Showed me how Jesus intercedes for those that believe in His name
2) Gave me a greater love for my High Priest

[The High Priestly Prayer]
    [17:1] When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, [2] since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. [3] And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. [4] I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. [5] And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
    [6] “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. [7] Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. [8] For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. [9] I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. [10] All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. [11] And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. [12] While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. [13] But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. [14] I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [15] I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. [16] They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. [18] As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. [19] And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
    [20] “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, [21] that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. [22] The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, [23] I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. [24] Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. [25] O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. [26] I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
   
(John 17 ESV, emphasis mine)

The passage in bold is what grabbed me as I listened.  Isn't it marvelous?  Doesn't it stir up in you love and gratitude for the God of compassion, friend of sinners?  Aren't you grateful that your High Priest prays for you like that

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