This Sunday we are smack dab in the middle of Jesus' longest recorded prayer in scripture.
The entire chapter of John 17 is a prayer. The way the Gospel of John shares the story, Jesus is just about to be arrested and he has gathered the Disciples one last time during his earthly ministry to sum up his feelings and his plans for them.
As the study notes in the NIV Student Bible report it, "This famous prayer represents a kind of commissioning or graduation. In it, Jesus hands over his mission to the disciples and, by extension, to all believers who will come after him."
The prayer has three sections. In the first section Jesus prays for himself. In the second section Jesus prays for his Disciples. In the third section Jesus prays for all believers.
This Sunday we are smack bad in the middle of Jesus' prayer, which means the sermon scripture comes from that second section (John 17:11-19) and I'm particularly struck this week by one turn of phrase in this section. Jesus prays, "I say things while AI am still in the world so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them." Isn't that something? Isn't that incredible!
Christ Jesus has come to set us free, to commission us for continuing his work in the world, and above all else to feel the same joy that he feels.
Last Sunday we talked about love -- about how Christ's commandment to us was to love one another -- and how we can live out that love. This Sunday we get to focus on the effects and results of living our lives rooted in Christ, abiding in God's love, and wouldn't you know it (actually, I don't think you would, that is why need to talk about on Sunday!) the results of giving our lives over to God and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ is in fact a life of joy!
Come join us this Sunday at FCC Scottsdale as we make a joyful noise to joyfully celebrate the joy-filled new lives that we inherit and inhabit as followers of Christ Jesus our Lord!
And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.