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May 20, 2012 주일(신현철 목사)

2012.05.30 06:12

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【제목】They may be one as we are one (우리와 같이 저희도…)

 

11 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. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

(John 17:11-19)

1.

 

If you calculate the days, today is April 8th (Easter) and the Lord’s Ascension Day was last Thursday (17th).  Next Sunday would be the Pentecost Sunday (27th)

 

I personally do not like the special early morning services and this is because I feel a little sceptical about rallying the ministry through some programs and events. Nevertheless, if we need the special early morning services, I think that this period should be the period we should especially pray.

 

Jesus finished his ministry on earth and ascended. But the Holy Spirit did not descend until 10 days later. That means that those 10 days could be truly called an interregnum. Jesus was not on earth as he had ascended that day, and the Holy Spirit had not yet descended… The disciples must have been in a desperate and urgent situation during this period of time.

 

 Acts 1:13-14 says:

When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

 

They all joined together constantly in prayer… They were unanimous their preoccupied state and had become one, invariably waiting and showing courage. Jesus was not there and the Spirit had not yet descended. The disciples could only pray desperately at this time. This is not a special service, but I hope that this can be a time for us to pray ardently and with desperate minds, just as the disciples did while waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

2.

 

The Gospel talks often about Jesus’ prayer. The most representative one is the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6 and Mark 11. We repeat this prayer every week because the principles and contents of a true prayer are contained in the Lord’s Prayer. There is another well-known prayer.  It is the prayer that Jesus said in front of the last cross. The prayer appears in Matthew, Mark and Luke:Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. But in John nothing is said about the Lord’s Prayer or about the fact that Jesus prayed in Gethsemane. But there is a long prayer in John 17. This is Jesus’ prayer for the disciples and for people all over the world. This is called the intercessory prayer.

 

I personally wonder if Jesus said this prayer in Gethsemane… because Jesus often prayed at night in Gethsemane. But there is only one line attributed to Jesus’ prayer in Gethseane. I don’t think he only said this one sentence during entire night he prayed in Gethsemane. Anyway, this prayer in John is an intercessory prayer for the disciples who will be left behind in the world. Just as Jesus said in verse 11, “I will remain in the world no longer,” Jesus knew that he would be leaving this world. The disciples would face struggle in this land… and so Jesus was praying for them. We can think about what Jesus was requesting from the disciples and what he was hoping for. We should also think about what things Jesus was praying for us.

 

3.

 

In verse 11 we see Jesus’ very first prayer: “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.”

 

 Jesus knew that He wasn’t staying with the disciples but leaving the world. We all come across times when we must part with our loved ones. We have times when we have to leave them behind. There are no exceptions for anyone. For anyone seated here, that time is approaching. But what is important is what we are preparing now for that time.

 

 Jesus knew that the day was coming, and that He could not stay with His disciples… So he prayed whenever he started to think about leaving His disciples in the world. So for His first prayer, he requested “that they may be one as we are one.”  Why did He pray this? Was there no prayer more desperate and urgent for the disciples than this?

 

If we consider each of the disciples separately, we can easily see the reason behind Jesus’ prayer… Peter the ignorant fishermen, the stormy John, the very loyal Jacob, Matthew the former tax collector, Jacob the youngest son of Alpheus, Phillip the Galilean, Simon who loved the citizens, the intellectual Thomas full of doubt, Andrew the first to become a disciple, Bartholomew.. etc. The disciples were so different from each other, as well as their individual personalities. They were people who would have found it very hard to get along. So there was no way that Jesus could not have requested that prayer for them to be “one as we are one.”

 

 But it’s not just them; it’s everyone living on this earth, and the same goes for our church. So many different people with distinct personalities are gathered here, which makes it hard for us to become one. So we cannot ignore the need for the prayer to become one.

 

But here, “to be one” does not refer to consistency or uniformity. It does not mean that we must discard our individualities. Rather, what is important is that Jesus prayed for them to become one “as we are one.” In other words, we must become one “with the trinity God.”

As I mentioned before, the Trinity God consists of three independent entities while still one. A pastor named Young-bong Kim explains this from his book called "Anyone Who Loves Hurts":

The relationship between those who serve, love, and care for each other is the nature of the Trinity God. There is no higher or lower position among the Trinity. Ancient theologians called this a mutual participation, a mutual inside-living, or a mutual penetration. The Trinity God acts in a way different from our current manner of living. Because we have been so changed and corrupted, we don't understand how to work or live without a leader in any organization, whether it's a family, a church or a company. We are uncomfortable without a chain of command. Thus, we try to speak out, establish military discipline and give punishments. To us who are corrupted like this, what the trinity God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit implies about the "circling relationship" and "living for each other" come to us as a great shock. This is just the principle of the paradise that we should discover through Jesus Christ. The restoration of the paradise that we long for is the recovery of the relationship in which we love, serve, and care for each other, and not one of submission and dominance. This is why as Jesus prayed for the unity of the disciples, He prayed for the establishment of the mysterious Trinity.


What would be my last sermon if I were to resign and leave our church,? What would I want to lastly tell our church members? It would probably be this sermon, not because there is conflict in the relationships among our members, but because ultimately we must recover the paradise. We can become align with God as we become one just like our Trinity God.

4

In verse 13, we can see how Jesus prayed for his disciples: “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” Here, when he says “so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them” refers to how our lives become full through the joy of Jesus Christ.    

But, as I have said before, the situation they are in at the moment is not all that joyful or pleasant. Jesus would be leaving soon and the disciples will be left behind. What is there to be happy about? Still, Jesus prayed for the joyous lives of his disciples. How?   

He has already said in chapter 15:10-11 “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” Jesus was living in happiness by being in God’s love. This is what  he wanted his disciples to also experience.

This doesn’t mean that living as a Christian automatically promises a happy and joyous life. It’s more about the essence of life. In the book “With John” by Rev. Lee Jae-Chul there is a story that helps us understand this.   

During the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592, Shim Soo-kwan, who was a descendent of Korean potters, was taken to Japan. He later became the 14th master of Japanese pottery tradition of Sasmayaki. In one of his lectures, he recounted the day he returned home after his graduation from elementary school. His father called him to his workshop and placed a small piece of clay on top of the potter’s wheel and put a needle through the centre of the clay. As he spun the wheel, the father asked Shim what he was feeling. He answered that although the wheel is spinning, the needle was not. The father answered him promptly that “finding the still centre of the ever moving wheel is the life you must live from now on.” This teaching, which was told from generation to generation, was what kept Shim and other captive potters from losing their roots for over 400 years after losing in the war and being forced to work in a foreign land.

True faith is finding the essence of the truth which does not change in this unstable world. By living with the strong grasp of this truth is when we can live with true peace and happiness.   

Christ’s life was the one of much turmoil and instability. He was framed and teachers of the law and the Pharisees were jealous of him. He was even betrayed by the disciple he loved. In the end, he died at the young age of 33. But, there is no one who enjoyed his life more than Jesus. This is because he found the still centre within the movement of life. This is because he was with God in this centre.    

Jesus wanted his disciples to also lead this kind of lives. Joy is not far. It is there when our lives are centred on God and thus reach true stability and happiness. It like the way the Israelites put up tent during their crossing of the desert then moved surrounding this settlement.   

Brothers and sisters, I hope that we can lead lives that are filled with the joy that God gives as Jesus prayed for us. I pray that we can find the still centre in this moving world.

5.

Lastly, let’s think about one more thing. In verse 15, it says, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”    

I have told you in the beginning, this was the prayer Jesus gave when he couldn’t be with his disciples any longer. He prayed for them for the time when he would not be with them. But, he didn’t pray that their lives to become easier. He didn’t pray for them to not have to experience Jesus’ absence.   

Jesus prayed, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” in verse 18. He doesn’t say that he will let them avoid trouble, but that he will send them as he was sent. He continued in verse 16, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” And in verse 17, he says the way to live apart from the world is to “sanctify them by the truth”.

In the end, Jesus wants us to live holy lives on the land. So, even though we live in this world, we do not live like people of the land. He is praying that we will not become people who belong to this land.

Last Friday, we thought about the Sabbath and Sundays. Why do we have to keep Sundays? Why do we have to keep that day holy?   

 That is because even just one day should be kept away from this world and be a day for Jesus. Not all Sundays are sunny. Sometimes it’s windy and rainy. But, this day is special, not because the day itself is special, but because it’s the day we can experience our lives becoming whole through the meeting God. It’s the day we proclaim freedom from sin through the blood of Jesus Christ. This is why this day is so special.   

Beloved brothers and sisters! Jesus left us on this land. He told us to fight against the reality of this place. How? Through the truth. I pray that although we live on this land, you and I will not be controlled or owned by this place. It may be difficult now, but Jesus wanted us to become stronger during his absence. We should be strong soldiers living victorious lives. We should no longer be like children because Jesus wanted us to mature through this time of his absence.   

 

6. 

Socrates left a mysterious last word to his friend Crito: “we owe a cock to Asclepius. Do pay him.” What does this mean? Asclepius was well known then as the god of medicine. But, Socrates said he owed him a chicken.    

Before Socrates drank poison, Crito wanted to make sure the man who will give his friend his poison wouldn’t talk much. This was because if Socrates became agitated, the poison might not take well and he might need to drink more of it. Upon hearing this argument, Socrates told him to not worry about it, as he was find with drinking the poison two or three times. In the end, Socrates died soon after drinking his first cup of poison. He asked Crito to thank the god of medicine because the poison was so well-made that he didn’t have to drink more than one cup.

Socrates, the father of western philosophy, treated even his death with wit because he believed in the immortality of the soul. People say that the last moment of a man’s life tells much of what kind of life that person had lived. In this point of view, Socrates did very well demonstrating his life in his last moments.    

Remember how Jesus prayed for his disciples. It wasn’t a prayer of fancy words. He prayed that they live happy and full lives by being with God. He prayed that they will be separated from this world and be holy. It was a prayer that linked closely with how he had lived. 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…As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world…In the end, Christ prayed for our lives to be owned by our Lord.

During this week, I pray that we will be able to live such lives through the help of this prayer. Also, let’s pray that we can also be like Christ and pray for those people who will remember us through our prayers. Let’s pray especially that the Holy Spirit will be with us during the week.