Thursday, Jan. 7
We might think that the pattern of election as revealed in John 10 is limited to the twelve disciples I don’t think so. Jesus prayed for his disciples just before the climax of his earthly ministry, just hours before his crucifixion (Jn. 17). Clearly, the disciples were especially chosen (vv. 2, 6), with the implication that many others were not chosen. The pattern of election is just as clear in this prayer—chosen, belief, revelation, acceptance, obedience—but there’s an added element here. “My prayer is not for them (the twelve disciples) alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.” That includes all believers of the church age. We are included in that prayer. So election is not a call to leadership, but applies to all who believe. The vast majority of the “called” are not Apostles or elders. The call is first of all a call to salvation, but then it involves a call to go into all the world to proclaim the good news of salvation. And since we’re included, we need to take notice. You might want to read the rest of John 17, but maybe I can give you a brief summary. 1) The disciples saw how Jesus was persecuted and Jesus told them on various occasions that they would be persecuted as well. Just as the world hated Jesus, so will they hate his followers. So Jesus prayed that they would be “protected.” This does not mean that they will not be persecuted. Many of them would die a martyr’s death. By “protected” Jesus meant that they would not renege on their commitment to Jesus, that their testimony would remain positive—even unto death. 2) He prayed for unity—within the body of believers and with God. The importance of this is revealed by the phrase “so that the world would believe (v. 21). 3) Then he focuses on love—that the love that existed between the Father and the Son would be also exist between God and the disciples and within the body of believers. All three of these requests have to do with evangelism. The last part of the prayer reveals Jesus’ longing to be reunited forever in heaven with his beloved followers so that they would see him in his full glory. I’m excited about all of this, but I’m even more excited about something else. That prayer of Jesus was on one occasion only and occurred about two centuries ago. But he is right now seated beside the Father making intercession for me—just as he is for all believers. That is awesome. And do I ever need it!