From the Pastor's Desk
The Real Lord's Prayer
It's kind of an interesting word, isn't it? Is it just me or doesn't that word fill us
with some mixed emotions? There are
obviously good, positive thoughts
that we associate with this word. We
know prayer is good; we are grateful for the privilege of being able to
approach God through our prayers; we know prayer works; it is our spiritual
lifeline to the Lord.
doesn't it also fill us with some angst? We know we should pray, yet I'm guessing that
most of us, at least I know it's true for me, don't pray like we should. So there's at least a little bit of guilt
running through our minds when we hear about and think about the whole topic of
is important. It is vital to our lives
as Christians. We literally can't live
in fellowship with God and walk effectively with Him without it. Prayer is much more than simply lifting up
those who are sick. Prayer involves
thanksgiving; praise to God; confession of sins; as well as our daily
supplications. Prayer expresses the
soul's longing for God. It is the cry of
God's people to their gracious, compassionate heavenly Father.
are lots of examples of prayer recorded for us in Scripture. Abraham prayed for his son Ishmael, for
Abimelech and for God to spare Sodom.
Abraham's servant prayed for guidance in finding a wife for Isaac. Isaac prayed for Rebekah to have a baby. Moses prayed that God would spare rebellious
Israel. Joshua prayed; Gideon prayed;
Hannah prayed; Samuel prayed.
prayed a prayer of thanksgiving and he asked God to spare the son Bathsheba
gave him, among many others. Solomon
prayed for God's blessing on Israel.
Elijah prayed that God would reveal Himself as the one true God. Jonah cried out to God from the stomach of a
large fish. Jeremiah prayed; Ezekiel
prayed; Nehemiah prayed.
pattern of course continues in the NT.
After Jesus ascended, His followers returned to Jerusalem where they
continually prayed. The early church
leaders prayed in the face of persecution.
Peter prayed in prison. Paul's
ministry was marked by continual prayer.
The apostle also frequently asked others to pray for him and his
to say, the greatest pray-er is Jesus.
From the beginning until the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus spent
frequent time in prayer. But this
morning, as we get back to our look at the gospel of John, we're going to start
looking at a section that records for us the most profound and magnificent
prayer ever recorded.
find what we're calling the real Lord's
prayer in John 17. We're going to
get started by only reading verses 1-5 this morning, and we're actually not
even going to look closely at all of those verses today. John
prayer that Jesus prayed to the Father marks the end of the disciples' time
with Jesus in the upper room. A lot has
happened for this group of men during the previous few hours. The evening began with a foot-washing, in
which Jesus Himself washed and dried the disciples' feet. Remarkably, He even knowingly washed the feet
of the one who would betray Him, Judas Iscariot.
there was the final meal, the Last Supper during which Jesus revealed that
Judas would betray Him, that He was about to die, and that Peter would deny
Him. The disciples were understandably
shocked and dismayed by what Jesus told them.
Yet, Jesus spent much time comforting and consoling them.
did that by promising them future glory in heaven with Him. He promised them the Holy Spirit, the Helper
who would come to them after He left.
Though the world would hate them, just as it hated Christ, the Spirit
would strengthen and guide them in the truth.
Though they would grieve for a short time, Jesus assured them that their
sadness was only temporary. They did not
realize at the time that Jesus would rise from the dead only three days after
His death. They did not realize that His
death was a necessary part of God's plan and had been for the Messiah all
were expecting the Messiah to come and overthrow the Romans and establish His
earthly kingdom. When Jesus triumphantly
arrived in Jerusalem they thought that plan was finally coming to
fruition. Now they're shocked to hear
that He is leaving them. Rather than
conquering Rome, He was going away.
Rather than building up a kingdom, He was laying down His life. In the upcoming hours He would be betrayed,
arrested, put on trial, abandoned, falsely accused, beaten, mocked and
crucified. The disciples' great
expectations turned to shock, heartbreak and despair.
is in this context, after Jesus spoke these things recorded in the previous
three chapters, that He graciously and fervently prayed for His disciples. As they left the upper room and started their
journey through the city and across the Kidron Valley to Gethsemane, the
disciples would have been unable to separate this prayer from the solemn
instructions they had just received in the upper room. In fact, much of what Jesus had just told
them is repeated in His prayer to the Father.
prayer was spoken by Jesus just hours before He went to the cross. As we look at it closer over the course of
the next few weeks, its significance is difficult to overstate. Here we have recorded for us the words of the
second member of the Trinity. He is
speaking to His Father about the nature of their communion; the outworking of
their eternal plan of salvation; and about the way in which the disciples and
all believers fit into that plan.
hearing this prayer, the disciples were allowed to listen in on the most holy
and profound of conversations. As we
read this prayer, we are ushered into the Holy of Holies where we find our
Great High Priest interceding on our behalf.
is the longest and most significant of Jesus' recorded prayers. We refer to Christ' instruction on prayer in Matthew chapter 6 as the Lord's
Prayer. Yet that isn't even a prayer of
Jesus. Rather, it is a model given by
the Lord to His disciples for how they should prayer. Disciples
prayer would be a better title. What
we are reading in John chapter 17 is an actual prayer of the Lord and from that
perspective is the true Lord's Prayer.
He uttered this prayer shortly before the cross, Jesus rejoiced. He knew that the redemption that had been
pre-determined in eternity past was about to come to fruition in time and
space. Jesus understood that the hour
had finally come for the fulfillment of that which God had promised from before
time began. He was ready to face the
cross. The cost would be immense, but
the glorious result would be eternal.
disciples may not have wanted to hear all that Jesus had been saying to them,
but they needed to hear it. The Lord was
preparing them for the events that were about to take place. He had told them what to expect; He warned
them of the persecution they would face on His behalf.
worked to prepare them in a number
of ways. He told them of the Holy
Spirit's coming and the work He would do in their lives; He assured them of His
love for them; He told them to love one another and He even modeled that love
by washing their feet. Now, He was
getting ready to model that sacrificial love once again. This time, He would show them love by
publicly praying for them.
of what Jesus said to them and all of the promises that He had made, are summed
up in the final verse of chapter 16. He ends that chapter by declaring, "I
have conquered the world." It
is no coincidence that this prayer immediately follows that declaration. Jesus said that He had won victory over the
world, then He immediately turned in submissive dependence to the one who would
ensure His triumph.
hard for us sometimes to sit back and try to get a big picture of what is going
on here or to try to look at it from the disciples perspective without the
benefit of knowing what is going to happen.
But if we could do that, it wouldn't look good. You take all that has happened, all that is
going to happen; if you were to collect all that Jesus said; all of His dire
warnings and predictions, and from a human perspective, things looked bad.
we don't get the sense of any sort of remorse, or sorrow, or negativism or
pessimism from Jesus' prayer. This
petition to God was anything but pessimistic.
Of course, Jesus had absolutely no reason to be negative or pessimistic. His focus was on God and God's plan. So His prayer was a confident declaration of
undying faith and certain glory.
began His prayer by looking up to heaven. Looking upward is a common and familiar
posture that many people take when they pray.
It acknowledges God's throne in heaven.
It also reflected the confidence of Jesus' heart.
think of the significance of looking up.
When someone is guilty of something or unsure and lacking confidence,
they generally tend to look down and to avoid eye contact and look away. But someone who is innocent or confident,
looks at you; they look you in the eye and engage you. Jesus had no trouble looking at God and
facing Him because He was pure and holy and perfect. He was confident in His relationship with the
addressing God as Father, Jesus
acknowledges His submission to
God. He also expresses His dependence upon Him. This was much more personal and intimate than
the Jews tended to be with God. They
didn't look at their relationship with Him as a close, personal, intimate one. They would commonly refer to God as "Our
Father." Jesus here refers to Him
as "My Father."
of what Christ has done for us, we do have a personal, intimate relationship
with God. Anyone who is a genuine
believer is granted the same spiritual intimacy with God that Jesus had. That means we can approach His throne of
grace with boldness. We can pray to Him
and make requests of Him. We can relate
to Him and interact with Him. Through
all of that, we need to always maintain a reverence and an awe for God because
He is holy and perfect; He is God and that will never change. But we also have a closeness and an intimacy
with Him. That will also never change
because our status as His children will never change.
is another area where we are presented with truth concerning the Trinity. On the one hand, we see Jesus here making
Himself equal with God by claiming
to be the Son of God. On the other hand,
He was also demonstrating His distinctness
from the Father since He was clearly not praying to Himself. This is the truth concerning the
Godhead: The Son is equal to the Father
yet distinct from Him. He is equal to
the Father in essence, but He is also a distinct person within the
looked earlier in John's gospel where Jesus had said a couple of times that His
hour had not yet come. In chapter seven,
His brothers wanted Him to come public with His ministry, but He said that His
time had not yet come for Him to do that.
Then back in chapter 2, Jesus' mother wanted Him to do something about
the wine running out at a wedding. At
that time He also said that His time had not yet come.
however the time was right. Now His hour had come. That means that it was now time for Him to
consummate His earthly ministry and finish the work He came to do. Now it was the time for Him to complete the
job and the work and the ministry that God had sent Him to the earth to do.
are a lot of different aspects of this that are all coming together to be
accomplished at this time. Again, it can
be helpful to try to step back and get a big picture view of what is going
on. The unfolding drama of redemptive
history had reached its climax. Plans
that were made in eternity past were finding their culmination in time. The hour had come in which the Son of Man
would offer Himself as the perfect and only sacrifice for sin.
hour had come when the sinless one would be
made sin for believers. 2 Cor. 5:21. Jesus the sinless one took our sin so that we
could be righteous in the sight of God.
The hour had come for Christ to cancel
the debt of sin. Col. 2:14. Whatever debt we owed God because of our sin,
Jesus paid in full. The hour had come
when OT prophecies would be fulfilled. Gen.
3:15. Jesus is the seed of the
woman who struck the serpent's head.
hour had come for Jesus to be crushed
for us. Isa. 53:5. There is a
lot going on in that verse. He was
pierced and crushed and punished, because of that we are healed
spiritually. The hour had come for the
shadow of OT sacrifices to give way for the final sacrifice. Heb. 10:14. Jesus is the one perfect offering to atone
for sin. The hour had come for Jesus to triumph over the kingdom of darkness. Heb.
2:14. That is exactly what Jesus
did: destroy the Devil. The hour had come for God through Christ's
sacrifice, to defeat sin and death and Satan and to redeem a people for
the hour of supreme suffering and even greater victory at hand; with His
terrified and heartbroken disciples still surrounding Him, the Lord lifted His
eyes to heaven and prayed.
was the first thing that Jesus prayed for?
God's glory. The first thing He asked was for the Father to
glorify the son so that the Son could glorify the Father. All throughout His life on earth, all during
His earthly ministry, Jesus' focus was always on glorifying His Father. He always perfectly submitted to the Father's
will in everything, all the way to the end.
prayer highlights His absolute confidence in and submission to the perfect will
of God, even though He knew perfectly well what it would cost Him. Therefore, He prayed that the Father's will
would be done; that the master plan of redemption would be accomplished; that
the Father would bring to reality all the promises He made to His disciples.
He was consumed with the glory of God, Jesus viewed the cross from an eternal
perspective. He wasn't dispassionate or
stoic about it. He was fully dependent
on His Father's care and wholly submissive to His will. He knew there was going to be pain and
suffering. But He also knew of the
triumphant glory that would result.
me start to wrap things up this morning by asking you all a question: Are you consumed with the glory of God? Is glorifying God and advancing His kingdom
your number one priority in life? Is
that what you're living for? Is that the
goal that you're aiming at every moment of every day?
genuinely believe that is how we should be living. Yet, most of us fall far short of that
goal. Most of us are lucky to maybe
occasionally glorify God here or there.
I think for me some of the time that I glorify Him is almost accidental;
I don't set out to do it. That obviously
needs to change.
think a big part of changing that in my life is changing my prayer life. We have spoken this morning about Jesus
offering up this prayer to God. We all
know how important prayer is; we've all seen it works in our lives and in the
lives of others. So why don't we spend
more time praying? Why is it so hard,
even for those of us genuinely born again by the power of the blood of Christ,
to spend adequate amounts of time in prayer each day?
also need to pray like Jesus did: for
God's will to be done. We don't always
know what God wants in any given situation.
But we need to pray. We need to
pray that the sick are healed physically and that the lost are saved and
forgiven. But we also need to pray for
God's will to be done, that is most important.
week, I encouraged everyone to read the Bible.
Not to make a commitment to do it or to set a resolution to do it, but
to actually just simply do it. Today, I
make the same exhortation regarding prayer.
Don't make a commitment in your life to pray more; don't make it another
probably someday soon broken resolution to spend more time in prayer. Pray.
Pray more. Pray longer. Pray more effectively. It simply comes down to us needing to pray
more, so let's just all do it.
our singers and musicians come now, we invite you to publicly respond to God's
working in your life right now as we stand and as we sing.
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