By Nathele Greene
If you knew you were about to be arrested, falsely accused of a crime, put through a mock trial, beaten so badly that pieces of flesh were torn out and your bones showed, mocked, and ultimately crucified, what would your thoughts be? Most of us would run and hide. Our thoughts would be for self-preservation rather than helping others to cope with what was to come. Jesus knew long before the foundation of the earth was laid that Adam would sin and that mankind would need a Saviour. Jesus would enter into His creation in order to provide the only way that sinful humans can be saved.
As Jesus began His ministry He chose a handful of men to learn from Him and to spread the Gospel after His blood sacrifice upon the cross. Jesus knew what He would face. The Child whose birth we celebrate had willingly left Heaven to be our Kinsman Redeemer, which would require Him to become the Sacrificial Lamb to take our sin away. “O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-58. His blood was shed for our redemption and three days later He was resurrected. Because He lives so will we if we place our faith in Him.
When Jesus knew that it was time for His sacrifice on the cross, He willingly went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Because of that sacrificewe are sanctified if we believe in Him. “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:10.
In Jerusalem He ate one final meal with His disciples and when the meal was finished Jesus told Judas Iscariot to go and do what he had to do…to go betray our Lord. After Judas left, Jesus spoke openly with the men who remained about what was to soon happen. Anyone today who claims to follow Him should read those words, beginning in chapter 13 of the Gospel of John. Write them on your heart. Jesus finished His talk with a prayer for those men who would spread the Gospel far and wide. Jesus also prayed for you.
“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” John 17:1-5.
Jesus had done everything that He had been sent to do, and now the hour had come for Him to offer Himself as the sacrificial Lamb of God. He prayed that God the Father would glorify Him with the glory they shared prior to the creation of the world. Jesus is God the Son and existed prior to the creation of all things. We read in the book of Genesis that God spoke all things into existence, and the Gospel of John makes it clear that Jesus Christ is the one who spoke. Now it was time for Jesus to return to the glory He and the Father had shared in the beginning.
“I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kepht thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou has given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee, Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” John 17:6-12.
Jesus specifically prayed for His disciples who had walked with Him and heard His teaching. These men would face some fierce trials, but Jesus knew each one and had chosen them because He knew they would be faithful. The exception was Judas. Jesus chose him, not because he would be a faithful follower but because he would fulfill Scripture “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, he that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.” John 13:18.
Judas had walked with Jesus and heard what He taught, but still he would betray Him. Just because someone claims to follow Christ doesn’t mean they are a Christian. After Judas left Jesus prayed for those who remained. We can thank God that those men did what they were asked. Even Peter was not lost. He denied Christ and hid, but Jesus restored him and Peter became a strong leader among those early believers. He was faithful even to his own crucifixion.
“And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth: As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” John 17:13-19.
These men would face great opposition as they carried the Gospel into the angry, fallen world. Their strength would be in God. Jesus prayed that these men would be sanctified, that means set apart from the world. Every Christian today needs to heed this prayer. Do you claim to be a Christian, but instead of living by God’s word you follow the world? Maybe you’re more like Judas than a true follower of Christ. God’s truth hasn’t changed so you need to separate from worldly ways and be sanctified through the truth of God’s word.
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou has loved me.” John 17:20-23.
Here is where Jesus prayed for you and me. Because Peter, James, John and the others shared the Gospel faithfully, nearly 2,000 years later people read God’s word and believe unto salvation. Through the years many false teachings have entered into the various denominations. Shame on you if you follow New Age teachings, participate in yoga, or embrace sin because your denomination believes God’s word has changed. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8. Sanctify yourself through God’s word and be separate from the world.
“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:24-26. Do you want to be with Jesus for eternity? Do you want to behold His glory? I do.
Jesus prayed for you and me to be there with Him and I look forward to that time. The world doesn’t know God; they follow Satan and his evil horde of demons. The world is not sanctified by the word of God and will hate you if you separate yourself from sin and follow Jesus. Jesus never said it would be easy. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Only through Jesus can we know the love of God and not be a part of the sin of the world. Our victory comes only through faith in Christ.
After Jesus had finished His prayer they left the upper room and went outside. Jesus knew what He was about to face and He continued to pray to the Father. Jesus prayed that there would be another way for the redemption of mankind to be accomplished. “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” Luke 22:42-43.
There is no other way for salvation than through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. If there were another way, God would have revealed it. Instead He sent an angel to give Jesus the strength to face what lay ahead. Don’t think you can be “good enough” or that Allah, meditation, or any other satanic way will lead to Heaven. Satan is the father of lies and has deceived many people. Only faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross will allow you into Heaven.
Have you turned to Him for salvation? If so then be sanctified by His word and separate from the world. Study your Bible and apply it to your heart. When you stumble in your walk with Him, repent and ask forgiveness. He loves you enough to have given His life for you.
Remember, Jesus prayed for you.