The Sabbath Word 1: A text for the 1st Sunday of the Month - God's People Long for Home

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. 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”—John 17:11–17. 

Jesus Prays on Our Behalf

In our text, Jesus was very near the moment of His betrayal and death by crucifixion. He had previously spoken to His disciples of God’s love. “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God” (John 16:27). Jesus also encouraged the disciples: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7). 

Jesus had preached and performed the will of God. He gave God’s Word to His own. As a perfect sacrificial lamb, He was willing to give His life. Now as He would no longer be in the world, but with His Father, He prayed for those still living in the world—may they be kept as one, even as He and the Father were one. 

Jesus himself prayed to God on behalf of His own. He knew the sorrow His disciples would have at His departure. They would be scattered when He went to finish the work that was given Him to do. Although the disciples were not with Him, Jesus said that He would not be alone, because the Father would be with Him.

While Jesus was here, He cared for His own. None were lost, but Judas, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. It is secure for us to remember that God’s children are in His care. Jesus encouraged the disciples, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you” (John 16:23).

In the World, but not of the World

Jesus says, “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” (John 17:14). Jesus fulfilled God’s will when He shed His blood on our behalf. Because of His suffering and death, the joy of Christ can become fulfilled in one who believes. The righteousness of a child of God comes from Christ’s work.

The Holy Spirit was given from heaven to the disciples with the power to forgive sins. The child of God believes and proclaims the joyous message: “All sins are forgiven in Jesus’ name and blood.” Al­­though this message is preached from God’s kingdom, many are offended by it. Jesus himself was rejected and hated by the world while He was living on earth. The teaching of the Holy Spirit today also offends the world, as Jesus said it would, because it “reproves the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John16:8). Jesus prayed on behalf of all believers that they would be protected in the world. 

Sorrow Turns to Joy

God’s children experience sorrows in life. The world may at times ridicule the childlike faith of a believer. Sin can also cause the heavenly journey to become difficult. Jesus encourages us to place our cares on Him. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28–30). Jesus speaks of tribulation in the world, but says to be of good cheer because He has overcome the world.

The greatest joy of a child of God is when sins are forgiven. In this way, one is sanctified and owns the hope of eternal life. With living faith, we follow Christ’s doctrine and long for the heavenly home.

Keith Moll

May 2017 Voice of Zion



Laestadian Lutheran Church 279 N Medina St, Suite #150, Loretto, MN 55357
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