• OPINION \ Jan 12, 2009
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    The Answer to Jesus' Prayer in John 17
The Answer to Jesus' Prayer in John 17 "I do not pray for these [apostles] alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word (their teaching and preaching while they were still alive, and the New Testament writings we have that they wrote): that they all (born-again believerss) may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. . . .

"O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name (i.e., Father), and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."

YHVH God, the Creator of the heavens and the Earth, is, by that very fact and truth, Sovereign over all things. There is none like Him – never was nor ever will be – for nothing exists or was created and made except by and through Him. Can the mortal human being, or any other created thing, comprehend such a thing!? Certainly not! But it is by faith we must believe that God IS, and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him, and it is through genuine faith in this one true God and in His Word – what He says – that we can begin to understand that what He reveals to us in His Word is truth. The fear of YHVH is the beginning of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

We are living in Bible times! Does not the Word and Spirit of God speak to us that we are towards the end of the last days? Are not the Scriptures written for us, upon whom the end of the ages is come? Are not prophecies being fulfilled today – both 'pleasant' ones and 'unpleasant'? The days of the Bible did not end 1900 years ago, but we are even now living in days which the prophets and apostles were given to see long ago!

I remember when I was an unbeliever that I would ask Christians why there is not peace if the Messiah/Christ had already come, if, as they say, Jesus is really the true Messiah whom the Jews have so far rejected but are supposed to believe in for salvation. It is both tragic and amazing to me how those Christians had no clear answer for me! Once I became a believer and was saved, I began to read the whole Bible as being the Word of God, and not as just some special book put together by men, nearly all of whom were Israelis (the exceptions being Job and Luke).

Once I began to read the Bible with faith that it IS God's word, I also began to repent from some of my own thinking and started to believe what the Holy Spirit communicated from my Father in Heaven. It was painfully clear that He and I had not been thinking alike on quite a number of things! That included the issue of war and peace. The Lord plainly says that even though Messiah has come [the first time; another one of those things where we had not thought alike], there will be not only rumors of war, but actual wars until the end – until the same Lord Jesus Christ comes again. I read this in Daniel, in Psalms, in the 'Olivet Discourse', in Revelation. . .all right there "under my nose"! The Scriptures give the simple and straight-forward answer to the often asked question, "Why isn't there peace if the Messiah has come?" And this applies to other often asked questions as well.

The present war in Gaza by Israel against Hamas has again brought to the surface the deep divisions within the Body of Christ, especially close at home here in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority. Try as we may to be reconciled to one another, there are some serious underlying issues that we carry with us so long as we only do our best to understand, to forgive, to be forgiven, to "give it to the Lord". Clearly, something more is required which only the triune God can provide by His grace above and beyond our best desires and efforts. Otherwise, if it were so simple for us to just engage in serious and heart-felt reconciliation ministry, we would take credit for that which required a true prayer in the Spirit by the only-begotten Son of God, who, even now, as the Son of Man for us at the right hand of the Father, intercedes for us (not for the world).

Yeshua/Jesus/Isua is the only one who can heal these deep, deep wounds of our histories, of God's sovereign will and choices, of our own particular experiences and perceptions of those histories, of our feelings of acceptance or rejection by God the Father Himself. On the cross, Yeshua bore our sins and makes healing possible for our spirit, soul, and body. HE has done it!

The Creator of the Heavens and the Earth is sovereign Lord of all. Jesus tells us that He has received all authority from the Father over all things in this creation. And there is war in the heavenlies, and on the Earth. Should we who believe, despite all, not rejoice that our Lord and Savior is God of Hosts (Armies)? He knows how to lead in battle and victory, despite serious and heavy losses on the way. He has been there Himself. . .and overcome!

When we complain and murmur and falsely accuse, we are really saying that we do not like the way God manages and oversees His affairs. Rather than us maturing into sons of God who can faithfully cooperate with Him in His business and be faithful witnesses as we represent Him in the world, we tend to let our own 'wisdom' and personal interests rise back up (although they are supposed to be reckoned as dead, crucified with the Lord when He died for us) when things get too difficult for us to understand or to explain to others without fear or embarrassment. We revert too easily and quickly to our unredeemed and unsanctified viewpoints, rather than abide in God's overall and far better viewpoint.

There is a peace which the world gives. The only wise God and Savior tells us that the peace He gives is not the same, and not only within individual hearts of those who believe. (Remember, Jesus says that He did not come to bring peace to the world, but a sword. In the prayer of Jesus, He declares that those who come to saving faith are no longer of the world.) The peace which Jesus wants to give also applies to nations and people groups. For this, He is coming again, and in righteousness He judges and makes war! (Rev 19:11) To be called sons of God for being peacemakers, or pursuers of peace, can only be so if it is the peace of Jesus that we are speaking about and acting upon.

As believers together in the truth of Messiah being Jesus, the Son of God the Father, we have been given authority to become children of God. Our identity and unity are both fully realized IN Messiah, and not in our particular emphases – cultural or otherwise – on other subjects of great interest and importance to us within the vast treasures of God's world that He has created and made. Each of us has been given a calling and gift, and even perhaps a ministry. We can tend to make what is given to 'me' the "most important", while denigrating and diminishing that which the Lord has sovereignly chosen to give to others. We are one body, but many members. Christ is not divided.

What this current war in Gaza has brought out WITHIN THE BODY are strong sentiments based sometimes on one's own interpretation of God's plan, which, when false, leads brethren to 'excommunicate' others from even Heaven's gates for those who do not see it their way. We all can try to justify ourselves, but God clearly tells us that all our own righteousnesses are as filthy rags! That is why our unity is only truly found IN MESSIAH, in whom is all of God's righteousness.

How can a Jewish brother, for example, say to any other Christian that, unless he understands and accepts God's continuing purpose for Israel as a nation, he is not in the Body of Messiah, not saved!? How can any Arab brother, for another example, say to any Jewish or other believer that, unless he is willing to nullify Israel's legitimacy as a nation (which YHVH God for His own holy name's sake has pre-determined to restore) in order to satisfy their sense of justice, he is not a true Christian?!

The perfect Father in Heaven is, if I may reverently say so, looking down at His squabbling adopted children, saying, "This one is My son/daughter, and this one is My son/daughter. How can you be saying to each other that you are not my sister or brother!?" Believers are commanded to love one another – those within the household of faith – in a higher way than we would love our own unsaved loved ones or people, or than we would love our enemies. God also loves all these different 'categories' in ways that are only begun to be discerned once we believe and know the truth. We are to love one another as Jesus has loved us. He got pretty annoyed (but not in a sinful way) with His own people because of their unbelief. (Mt 17:17), yet He willingly gave His life for them/us all in His primary love for His Father.

What will it take for us to trust the Lord – in His holiness and wisdom and love – so completely that the work of the blood of the cross and the Holy Spirit in us brings us to that place where Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane at the peak of His testing and temptations: not my will, but Yours, Father, be done?

What will it take for the Father to answer Jesus' intercessory prayer for us? I do not know, but I do know I want to be in the answer, overcoming the world in the joy of my Father and my Lord. As Yeshua prayed, it is for the glory of the Father, and the Son, and those who become one together with and in Him.
1.Nice words but...
 Arab Evangelical, January 12, 2009 10:36
2.Cynicism (reply to 1)
 Howard, January 12, 2009 14:39
3.Problem, Symptoms, Vision (reply to 2)
 John Thorne, January 13, 2009 17:17
4.loving one's enemy
 Layla Souti Malander, January 16, 2009 1:35
5.Towards the Goal (reply to 4)
 Howard, January 17, 2009 14:02
6.Patrick Engström
 , January 25, 2009 5:41