Scripture: John 17:11-19 (alternate reading: Luke 1:36-59)
11 And now I am no more 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 none of them is lost but the son of perdition, 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, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you did send 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 consecrated in truth.
Meditation: Do you know why God created you - what purpose and mission he has entrusted to you? Jesus' aim and mission was to glorify his heavenly Father. All he said and did gave glory to his Father. On the eve of his sacrifice on the cross and in the presence of his disciples, Jesus made his high priestly prayer: "Holy Father, keep them in your name that they may be one as we are one". Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples and for all who would believe in him. Jesus' prayer for his people is that we be united with God the Father in his Son and through his Holy Spirit and be joined together, in unity with all who are members of Christ's body.
A mission of love to make us one
What motivated Jesus to lay down his life on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world? It was love - love for his Father in heaven and love for each and everyone of us who are made in the image and likeness of God. Jesus was sent into the world by his Father for a purpose and that purpose was a mission of love to free us from slavery to sin, Satan, fear, death, and hopelessness. Jesus saw glory in the cross rather than shame. Obedience to his Father's will was his glory. Jesus kept his Father's word even when tempted to forgo the cross. Jesus did not rely on his own human resources and strength to accomplish his Father's will. He trusted in his Father to give him strength, courage, and perseverance in the face of opposition, trials, and temptation.
God created us for a purpose and a mission
We also must take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus wherever he may call us. He will give us the strength and power of the Holy Spirit to live as his disciples. John Henry Newman (1801-1890) wrote: "God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission - I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for nothing. Therefore, I will trust him. Whatever, wherever I am. I cannot be thrown away." Do you trust in God and in his call and purpose for your life?
Consecrated in truth and holiness
Jesus prayed that his disciples would be sanctified and consecrated in God's truth and holiness. The scriptural word for consecration comes from the same Hebrew word which means holy or set apart for God. This word also means to be equipped with the qualities of mind and heart and character for such a task or service.
Just as Jesus was called by the Father to serve in holiness and truth, so we, too, are called and equipped for the task of serving God in the world as his ambassadors. God's truth frees us from ignorance and the deception of sin. It reveals to us God's goodness, love, and wisdom. And it gives us a thirst for God's holiness. The Holy Spirit is the source and giver of all holiness. As we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, he transforms us by his purifying fire and changes us into the likeness of Christ. Is your life consecrated to God?
"Lord Jesus, take my life and make it wholly pleasing to you. Sanctify me in your truth and guide me by your Holy Spirit that I may follow you faithfully wherever you lead."
28 Summon your might, O God; show your strength, O God, you who
have wrought for us.
29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem kings bear gifts to you.
32 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; sing praises to the Lord, [Selah]
33 to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, he sends forth his voice, his mighty voice.
34 Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and his power is in the skies.
35 Awesome is God in his sanctuary, the God of Israel, he gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: The Bond of Christian Unity in Love, by Cyril of Alexandria, 375-444 A.D.
"Christ wishes the disciples to be kept in a state of unity by
maintaining a like-mindedness and an identity of will, being
mingled together as it were in soul and spirit and in the law of
peace and love for one another. He wishes them to be bound
together tightly with an unbreakable bond of love, that they may
advance to such a degree of unity that their freely chosen
association might even become an image of the natural unity that
is conceived to exist between the Father and the Son. That is to
say, he wishes them to enjoy a unity that is inseparable and
indestructible, which may not be enticed away into a dissimilarity
of wills by anything at all that exists in the world or any
pursuit of pleasure, but rather reserves the power of love in the
unity of devotion and holiness. And this is what happened. For as
we read in the Acts of the Apostles, 'the company of those who
believed were of one heart and soul' (Acts 4:32), that is, in the
unity of the Spirit. This is also what Paul himself meant when he
said 'one body and one Spirit' (Ephesians 4:4). 'We who are many
are one body in Christ for we all partake of the one bread' (1
Corinthians 10:17; Romans 12:5), and we have all been anointed in
the one Spirit, the Spirit of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13)." (excerpt
from COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 11.9.18)
from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible,
copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised
Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the
Division of Christian Education of the National Council of
the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved. Citation
references for quotes from the writings of the early
church fathers can be found here.
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