Lectionary Reflection: John 17: 6-19: What He Says.

            Is your life full of joy?  Do you sleep well at night?  Is your life full of peace and harmony even while everyone around you is full of anger, rancor, fighting, arguments, hatred and gossip designed to hurt and destroy people; and does the world hate you because of the peace and joy you have and the fact that you sleep well at night?

            Do you keep the name of Jesus close to your heart and lips at all times and do you feel the closeness with others who do the same?  Does it make you feel like a bit of an outsider, daily, wherever you go, whatever you do, at work, in the community, even at home?  And yet, do you see how forgetful we are and how easy it is to get caught up in worldly things and worldly thinking?  None of us is perfect, is this not so?  Don’t we all forget Jesus from time to time as the world seeks moment by moment to draw us into its orbit?

            But then, do you see how at times we are reminded of the name?  Do you understand that this is the work of the Holy Spirit that causes us to step back from the midst of a given situation and ask these simple questions:  How would Jesus see and understand this situation?  What would Jesus say?  What would Jesus do?  And do you understand that these moments of reminder are for our ultimate protection so that we don’t altogether go tumbling off the cliff?

            Do you know the sanctification in your life when you focus on what is right, good and true?  Do you even focus on what is right, good and true or do you honestly focus on this world?  Let me say this:

            Christians believe in Jesus, that he is the Son of God and one with the Father.  Yet the evil one mentioned in this prayer not only believes that Jesus is the Son of God and one with the Father, he knows it for a fact and with a certainty that we cannot imagine in this life.  Yet the evil one is not saved.  You see, it is not enough to claim to believe in Jesus, and that is not the foundation of Jesus’ prayer in this passage.  The foundation of Jesus’ prayer is the Word of Truth he has given to us, the whole Word of God, the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

            It is not enough to believe in Jesus.  We must also believe what he says. 

            We must believe his words so completely that they are what we want to do.  Jesus mentions the word obedience, but it is not the kind of obedience that comes from fear and slavery.  There is no compulsion here.  Instead, it is the kind that comes from agreement. 

            It is believing in his laws, precepts and ways so completely it is what I want to do and the way I want to live my life.  I know when I stumble and fall, he will lift me up.  The Holy Spirit will remind me of the name of Jesus and keep my feet firmly planted on his highway through the wilderness.  And I don’t care if the world hates me and wants to abuse and destroy me for believing in His Word.  I will walk in the path of righteousness for his name sake.  Because I must?  No, because it is all that I want to do.  I believe in Jesus.  I also believe what he says.

            Sadly, the world today is full of people who believe in Jesus but live in the ways of the world.  They do not believe what God has plainly said in his Word.  Worse, they sometimes twist and distort God’s plain speaking in order to justify their worldly ways.  Sadly, all the joy, protection, oneness and sanctification Jesus prays for the believers will be lost to them.  Whether or not such people will even be saved, I cannot say.  All I can say is as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

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