My Answers to BSF Bible Study Questions
John Lesson 23 Day 5
Jesus Prays for his church and for all future believers John 17:20-26
Jesus prayed that we all may be one, just as he and the Father are one.
Keep harmony and oneness produced by the Spirit in the binding power of peace.
One body. One Spirit.
“There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28 NLT)
Rich and poor (James 2)
Educated and uneducated (Paul was educated, most of the Apostles were not) (Acts 4:13)
Every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages (Revelation 7:9)
Luke records a literal answer to this prayer in Acts 4:32-33—
The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them. (MSG)
2017 marks the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Last year, Pope Francis declared that Catholics and Protestants are one church in Christ, ending 499 years of division! This year begins a year of unity between the Catholic and Protestant churches! (Kris Vallotton)
We attend church services in two cities because we also take my dad to his church. Caregiving makes it difficult to get involved or take part in fellowship events.
I can see a type of oneness playing out more in my Dad’s church. It’s a centuries-old, traditional, rural church. Many of the elderly members attended as children, their parents buried in the cemetery out back.
When a child accepts Jesus, half of the women are in tears. They know who’s sick, who had a baby, who graduated, who needs a job, etc. (The pastor asks and the members call out prayer requests every Sunday morning.)
I’m sure they’ve had their differences, but they seem like a tightly knit community.
I don’t know if the Holy Spirit produced that harmony and oneness. Fans at sporting events, political supporters, and other affinity groups display similar and often greater exuberance.
We also attend a church whose membership has changed dramatically since 2008.
Our closer friends moved out of the area or now attend other churches, and that’s not uncommon in our transient area.
An even more dramatic split and upheaval occurred at our earlier church of many years. We still miss it.
In my view, times of revival and religious persecution bring greater unity. I’ve been part of a church in revival several times. The revived ones can’t bear to be apart for long. The need to create and organize programs, events and membership drives goes out the window.
Not sure where I’m going with this other than to say, our current situation is complicated. Now that I think about it, most people’s lives are more complicated now than they were just fifty years ago.
I’d love to hear some of your answers. If you will, please leave a comment below or head over to the Facebook page.
12. Our Victorious High Priest
MacLaren’s Expositions titled his commentary on this passage The High Priest’s Prayer.
Jesus prayed for all believers as one who “understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15 (NLT)
His one desire is for our unity, perfected and completed into one. Without it, we don’t resemble the unity between the Father and the Son, and the world won’t believe he was sent by God.
Jesus promised to continue to reveal the Father to us.
Even though he knew what he was about to face the following day, his heart overflowed with love for us.
Here’s His objective: through the church, He intends now to make known His infinite and boundless wisdom to all rulers and authorities in heavenly realms. This has been His plan from the beginning, one that He has now accomplished through the Anointed One, Jesus our Lord. His faithfulness to God has made it possible for us to have the courage we need and the ability to approach the Father confidently.
13. Paul’s prayer for the body of Christ
It is for this reason that I bow my knees before the Father, after whom all families in heaven above and on earth below receive their names, and pray:
Father, out of Your honorable and glorious riches, strengthen Your people. Fill their souls with the power of Your Spirit so that through faith the Anointed One will reside in their hearts. May love be the rich soil where their lives take root. May it be the bedrock where their lives are founded so that together with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Anointed is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings.
(This is a doxology of praise to the One with power that is beyond understanding.)
Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us, to Him be all glory in the church and in Jesus the Anointed from this generation to the next, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 (Voice)
God’s way of glorifying Jesus included the cross. He surrendered to God’s plan and even called it joy, disregarding the shame. (Hebrews 12:2)
Jesus’ priority for his ekklesia—an assembly called out by God—loving unity and oneness with each other and with him.
I’m committing myself to pray this more often.
MY answers — not THE answers — to BSF study questions on John Lesson 23 Day 5 ~ John 17:20-26