Reflections for the Week ending Sunday May 13, 2018 Seventh of Easter

Gospel: Jn 17.6-19. This is the ‘High Priestly Prayer’ that the Lord Jesus prayed after the Last Supper just before being arrested and crucified. He prays for His disciples (and for us) for protection and sanctification as He prepares to depart this world. He says that believers belonged to the Father who gave them to the Lord Jesus (vv 6, 9; cf Jn 14.46, 65). This is election (meaning choice, i.e., the Father had chosen them). Note that the Father (and the Son) are sovereign.

As Jesus the Messiah prepares to leave the world and return to the Father, He prays that those who believe in Him may be protected and sanctified by the truth. He then adds, “Thy word is truth.” Of course we learned in Jn 1.1,2, 14 that Jesus is the Word and in Jn 14.6 Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” When Jesus confronted Pontius Pilate, the latter said, “What is truth?” not knowing that he was confronting Truth. Our text doesn’t yet say that the Father and the Son will send the Holy Spirit to lead His followers (they are His followers by faith, by believing in Him which He has made possible) into all truth–this comes in Jn 16.13. The Holy Spirit declares His people to be ‘righteous’ which means members of God’s covenant family. To be declared righteous is ‘justification’ and this together with baptism makes one a members of the ‘kingdom of God’, the church. It is on the cross that the Messiah Jesus, defeats the satan who has been ‘ruler of the world’ and become the Ruler Himself, and in His flesh the accumulated sins of the world are condemned (Rm 8.3) and taken away from us based on our being ‘in the Messiah’, ‘one with Him and the Father.’ This incorporation into Father and Son is not based on anything we have done, but simply that the sovereign God chose us for His own reasons, not because we merited it in any way–He simply loved us as He loved Israel even though Israel was not worthy (Rm 9. 15-17). He chose us and made us one with the Messiah who has taken away our sins by who we are, not by what we do. We are, after all, human beings–not human doings. In answer to Jesus’ prayer, the Holy Spirit begins to sanctify us–to make us ‘saints’ on our way by means of this new exodus led by the Spirt to God. We must cooperate with the Spirit by striving to realize the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5.22,23) plus humility and chastity. The process of developing the Spirit-led virtues is described by N.T. Wright in After You Believe. They are the result of synergy–working with  the Holy Spirit who empowers us through ‘patient continuance in doing good [to] seek for glory, honor, and immortality’ (Rm 2.7). This is the meaning of ‘eternal life’ which begins when we believe in Him and is a quality of life enjoyed when we ‘become one with the Father and the Son, as the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father, and that we may be in them’ (Jn 17.21). In baptism we have died with Jesus to sin and the law (Rm 6. 2,3,14; 7.4,6) and have been raised to new resurrection life in Him (Phil 3.20, 21; Col 1-4) so that we are assured of everlasting life in the age to come, not in heaven as disembodied souls, but in ‘the new heaven dnd new earth…as the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of  heaven from God…’ (Rev 21.1,2; cf 2 Pet 3.10-13) where we will live with resurrected bodies given by God as He pleases’ (1 Cor 15.38).

Memory Verse: Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned ( 1 Cor 2.10-14).


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