Jesus Passionately Prays for You

Based on John 17:20-26, Jesus tells us what he wants.  Though, it’s not just what he wants, but what he wants for us. “Jesus Passionately Prays for You.”  June 2, 2019.

When was the last time you really wanted something? I don’t mean you thought it would be cool to have, but I mean really, really wanted something! When was the last time you were willing to work to get something or there was a price to pay to acquire it?

Maybe it’s that scholarship that you wanted or maybe even needed to get into the school you wanted to attend? You probably worked hard to make it all work. Long nights of studying to get the grades you needed, lots and lots of applications and grants request writing. But in the end it was worth it because you got what you wanted.

Maybe it’s the 10 pounds you are trying to lose. Do you like just talking about it, or do you really want it gone? Is it worth it to you to eat healthily, work out often and be disciplined? How much of that you are willing to do will help you to gauge how much you really want to lose the weight.

Maybe it’s a starting spot on the team. Of course you want that spot, but do you really want it? Do you want it enough to train during the off season, hit the weights every day to eat properly so that your body stays in the shape that it needs to be in?

I want an Olympic gold medal, but the difference between me and Simone Biles is she is willing to work hard every day and dedicate her life to accomplishing that goal. I on the other hand relate more to a T-shirt that I saw the other day which read “I wonder if tacos think about me all day, too?”

Today we heard Jesus tells us what he wants. And not just what he wants, but what he wants for us. I pray also for those who will believe in me through (the disciples’) message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. He wants his followers to be one. He wants us to have unity with one another.   

And that’s a wise prayer. Teams work better when they have unity. If your football team has 11 players with different goals and different ideas about how to accomplish those goals, it’s not going to turn out well. But when all 11 come together and agree on a goal and on how to get there, then the team can function and succeed.

And if a church has 1200 people pulling in 1200 different directions, that isn’t going to be a good thing for that church. They aren’t going to get much ministry done and there’s probably going to be a lot of fighting along the way.

And why is it that Jesus has to pray this prayer for us? It’s because this unity isn’t a natural thing. Sinners don’t come to a spirit of compromise or decide on teamwork on their own! People like you and I do like our own ideas and we think that our mindsets are the right ones. We feel like we are the most important ones around and if there’s a problem it’s with the other people and not with us. We are much more self- minded than kingdom-minded. We are much more “me-oriented” than we are “team-oriented.” We are much quicker to ask “How will this affect me?” than “How will this affect the kingdom?”  

But even more than church members that get along and church ministries that are clicking on all cylinders, Jesus wants to have oneness with you. He wants you to be in his family and you to enjoy a relationship with him: I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me.

Jesus wants a place in your life. Jesus wants a place in your heart. He wants to dwell in you even as the Father dwells in him.  He wants you to have faith in him and to know and trust and believe that he is your Savior from sin. He wants you to have faith in him and to know and trust and believe that heaven is your eternal home.

When we pray for something, often “Amen” marks the end of our involvement. Often “Amen” is the last that we can do!

But not so with Jesus. He wanted you and me. And it wasn’t just lip-service. It wasn’t just the right thing to say. He really, really wanted you and he would stop at nothing to make it happen. Jesus Prays Passionately for You. He didn’t just say “ Amen” and then walk away. He prayed and then he became the answer to his prayer. He said amen and then he went and made it come true.

Consider the context of this prayer. Jesus is with his disciples in the Upper Room. It’s Thursday evening of Holy Week. He is just minutes away from the beginning his passion, his suffering and death for the sins of the world.  But he’s not worried about that. He isn’t consumed by self-preservation like you or I would be. His heart and his soul and his mind is on something entirely different!  He is fully consumed with thoughts of you!!

And here we see the remarkable love of Jesus. The fact that he would even remember you at that time in his life is remarkable. The fact that he would take the time to pray for you, remarkable. The fact that he would speak the prayer that he did is graciously incredible. How many times…have you ever prayed “Dear God, please make my pain their gain!” Lord, in order to take the hurts away from those people bring it to me!?!? That’s not a common prayer for us. That’s not a common prayer, because self-less love is not a common love. But it’s Jesus’ love and it’s why Jesus Passionately Prays for Us. It’s the way that Jesus loves which is why he has no problem offering a self-sacrificing prayer.  He knew he was the only one that could make it come true. He knew he was the only answer, yet he Passionately Prays.   

Jesus Passionately Prays for Us and then he steps outside and embraces his passion.  We stepped outside and continued his journey to the cross. He did it to make you one with him! He offered his hands to be shackled by Judas’ mob to make you one with him!  He allowed himself to arrested and falsely convicted and sentenced to die to make you one with him. He gave up oneness with the Father and allowed himself to forsaken by the Father so that he could become one with you. He closed his eyes in death so that he could become one with you. He willingly allowed his body to be laid in a sinners’ tomb so that he could be one with you.

But it doesn’t end there. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

In his resurrection, we see Jesus’ glory. In his resurrection we see the glory of his love and the wonder of grace. In his victory we see that as he rose we will be raised. In Easter, we recognize that we united to Jesus in faith. Easter means that the prayer is answered. Easter means that we will join Jesus in the family of believers and will be eternally united with our gracious God.  

Paul reminds us the of the glorious connection that we have with Jesus in his resurrection.  

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).

This Thursday we celebrated Ascension. And we rejoiced that because Jesus ascended into heaven, we will one day rise to a glorious life in heaven too. We heard the angels promise: “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11b).

The glory of Jesus is ours.  Oneness with our Triune God is ours.  A place in the city of God is ours. Eternal unity among the body of believers will be ours.

And on that great and glorious day, Jesus’ prayer will have its ultimate answer. There in heaven we will shine with the brightness of God’s glory. There in heaven we will be united in one mind and with one voice we will sing the praises of the Lamb who was slain to bring us everlasting unity and peace. There the church will rejoice that the battles are over, that the enemy has been destroyed, that victory has been won. There we will forever rejoice that Jesus had a passion for us, in his prayers, in the life he lived and the life he gave for us! There will we enjoy what he so passionately desired for us – oneness with God and oneness with each other!!

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!  

Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20).

Preached at Grace Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, WI on June 2, 2019