【2013년 5월 12일(주일)】VKC 부활절 일곱째 주일 예배
【제목】내가 비옵는 것은 (What I pray for is…)
Today is Mother's Day. Let us bless and greet all the mothers who are here today. Happy Mother's Day!
But this time of year is also a very important period on the church calendar as well because last Thursday was the 40th day since Resurrection Week. Thus we regard it as Jesus' Ascension Day. Also, this is the last week of the resurrection season, and next week is the Pentecost. As we can see, because this period is so overpacked with important events, we could say it is a very important season.
Anyway, today's passage is related to prayer, specifically a prayer by Jesus. But this is unique from other gospels where Jesus teaches us how to pray, or from the passage of praying at the Garden of Gethsemane, The chapter of John does not contain the Lord's Prayer, not does it have the Prayer of Gethsemane. This is today's chapter. On the other hand, this prayer is regarded as the intercession of the high priest because Jesus was praying for His disciples, as well as all the people in the world.
Thus let us reflect together on today's sermon, keeping in sight of this very significant and crucial time that was the sufferings of the cross, of how Jesus prayed for His disciples and His people.
If we see chapter 17 generally, we can divide it into three paragraphs.
The very first paragraph is from verse 1 to 5, and here is a pray saying to achieve God's goal and dedicate the honor to God. In verse 4, it is said: "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do". What is the work God asked Jesus to do? It is the cross. From chapter 18, we see more of the stories of Jesus's ordeal...
Here, Jesus is already praying for him to complete the affliction of cross, and bring glory to God. Therefore, the pray Jesus made at Gethsemane, "Yet not as I will, but as you will", can be seen as one of the prays he made from the affliction of cross.
The next paragraph is from verse 6 to 19. Here, prays for his disciples, especially the twelve of them, can be seen. In verse 11, he prays "they may be one as we are one"; this is said for the disciples' unison even after his death. In verse 13, he prays "they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves". Verse 15, he prays "thou shouldest keep them from the evil", and in verse 17 he prays "sanctify them through thy truth". The reason Jesus prayed like this is because he knew he wouldn't be with the disciples after his death.
The third and final paragraph, verses 20 to 26, is today’s scripture. It is a prayer for people like us, the common believers.
Specifically within the paragraph, there are 3 different types of prayers first being, “That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (17:21).
The first prayer that came out when Jesus was praying for his disciples was for there to be unity among them. Thus, verse 11 reads, “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name – the name you gave me – so that they may be one as we are one.” And although the prayer for the common believers also is focused on this idea of ‘being one,’ the emphasis is a little different. He focuses on the results of being one – being one leading to believe in God.
In other words, ‘being one’ here is not about the process but the result that follows. Just as Jesus became one with God, we too must become one with Christ and only then, can we see that Jesus was indeed sent by God for us.
Thus, by not becoming one with Christ, we cannot claim to believe in God as becoming one, acts as the support for this faith.
I am going to tell you a story that will hopefully illustrate this concept. One day, an elder suggested that their church and the neighbouring church organize a service together at the congregation meeting. When the elder came home from the meeting, he told his wife what they had discussed. Upon hearing this, the wife picked up the phone and called the pastor and said, “Pastor, I know that my husband had suggested a combined service with the neighbouring church but I don’t think it’s a great idea. That church is a little too liberal.” What had happened at the meeting eventually was passed from the wife, to the son and to the daughter-in-law. Upon hearing this idea of a combined service, the daughter-in-law called the pastor, “Pastor, don’t listen to my mother-in-law. I believe that the benefits to come from this combined service far outweigh the costs!” I am sure that the pastor had to think long and hard about whether to go ahead with the service or not…
Although it is important for the churches to come together, it seems that the unification within the elder’s family was more crucial. Likewise, we must become one with God, and Jesus Christ before becoming one with another
Jesus' second prayer for the faithful appears in verse 23: "I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me" and also in verse 26: "in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."
Verse 23 prays that Christians realize that God loves them as he loves Jesus; verse 26 then prays that God's love--the love that loved Jesus--overflow and abound for them.
Why did He make such a prayer? Because we do not truly understand God's love, and because we fight and hate rather that spread His love.
If we think carefully, human history has Ben one of war and conflict since Cain first killed Abel with a rock. Montgomery, who wrote "A Concise History of Warfare," said "Human history is the history of warfare is a cliched truth. I do not believe people change easily. Here, the word people could easily be replaced with humanity. In other words, it is not that a single I individual does not change, but rather that human nature, like that of a wolf or a dog, possesses an unchangeable instinct. I scoff at the idea of humans as the supreme creature above all creation. If humanity learned anything, would there be so many records of repeated cruel and despairing deaths in written history?"
It is easy to assume Montgomery is right; not once in human history has there be no war, nor have we been free from its terror. It's strange, isn't it? Even knowing how terrifying and horrible the results of war are, we do not seem to learn the lesson. Perhaps this is evidence of man's weak nature.
Whatever the reason, Jesus had to pray fervently before leaving this world. That we know God's love, that our hearts be filled with it.
What is God's love, then? John 1 Chapter 4 verse 7-10 says "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." God loved us so much that He sent His only son to this world as propitiation. So Hesus prayed that people know God's love, and that we learn from that love to be loving people as well.
A distinguished paediatrician said he knew a special way to treat frail, underweight children: every time he checked on the child, he wrote "this child must be loved every 3 hours" as a prescription.
Beloved brothers and sisters, perhaps Jesus' prayer and the paediatrician's prescription are the same. Perhaps Jesus, who knew man's weakness so well, was praying that we be loved every hours, so that we may know and experience love, and learn to share it with others.
Last third prayer appears in verse 24: Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
The prayer is asking for glory to the apostles. What does it mean by “the glory you have given me… before the creation of the world”? The glory you have given me represents the cross. In other words, Jesus wanted the apostles to stand on the same cross as he did because that is the true place for glory.
In 19C Scotland, university students used to mock honorary doctorate women. So they used to ridicule them and say things like “I heard the female student who’s receiving the honorary Doctors degree today used to be an unfaithful wife of a man!” Then one day, Livingston came to school to receive a Doctors degree. The students who saw her clapped their hands when they saw her torn shoulder from a terrible incident with a lion in the jungle and her rough skin from her ministry work there. When they saw her, they thought the she was the most honorable person they had ever seen because instead of the wound, they had seen sacrifice for the true glory of the Christ in her.
But if you look at Jesus’s prayer in a different way, this prayer is the same as a prayer asking for the apostles to be a mature Christian. The issue is whether we think the glory comes from worldly prosperity and blessings or whether we are mature enough to think our hardships are the glory that we receive.
These days, I’m studying the formation of the Bible. I will also be thinking about the history of the translation of the Bible…
Four ministers in U.S were discussing about the various translations of the Bible. One minister preferred KJV with a concise, beautiful style of writing. One minister preferred ASV because this version followed most closely the Hebrew and Greek version of the Bible. The other minister preferred the NRSV transaction because it was translated in the most modern words of English.
The fourth minister kept his silence. When asked for his opinion on which translation he likes best, he answered, “I like the translation of the Bible by my mother. My mother actually translates the Words from the Bible into action. So I think this translation is the most credible version.”
In this sense, we are all translators of the Bible. How are we translating the glory that God has given us? This is not necessarily a language issue. We need to think about how we are translating the word “glory” in our lives; we need to consider whether we are living in accordance to the Lord’s will and whether we actually accept our hardships to be the place of true glory.
Now I will wrap up the sermon. Jesus prayed for his believers like you and me. And what did he pray for? He prayed that we would become one, that we would have faith in God, that we would know what real love is, that we would live a life filled with love, and that we would become God's people.
This prayer was not a pretentious, flamboyant one. It was a prayer that was very personal and sincere. He prayed that “they may be one as we are one”, and that “the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” Jesus sincerely prayed: “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory.” This was the life that Jesus lived. So, ultimately it was his life that became the prayer.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus prayed for us and lived a life of his prayer. Now, how should we pray and how should we live our lives? Since today is Mother's day, should we pray for our family? I hope we have the prayer of Jesus in our mind when we are praying.
It is the mother’s devotion and love that makes up a family, not the kitchen and the dining table.
It is the mix of understanding and the affection that makes up a happy home filled with love.
A father’s love as wide as the sea and a mother’s love that goes as deep as the ground make up a family full of forgiveness, understanding, and tolerance.
A family is a place to encounter faithfulness and friendship. It is where the children’s first training begins. The children there learn what is right and what love is.
The grief is reduced when shared by the family members while joy is doubled when shared within the family.
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