Benediction

Cristo Redentor

After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you.” (John 17:1)

Read: Matthew 26:1-5, 14-30, Mark 14:1-2, 10-26, Luke 22:1-30, John 13:1-30

Relate: Usually, when Jesus prays, it is a very private thing. Occasionally in the gospels we have glimpses of very short prayers. Two such examples are when He was about to feed the five thousand and right before the raising of Lazarus. Far more often we only hear of Jesus being alone when He is praying. Even if He brings a disciple or the three along, as He soon will at the Mount of Olives and as He did at the Mount of Transfiguration, He still separates Himself from them a bit and His prayer time is a very private matter. We don’t know what He is usually praying on the many, many times in scripture He is getting alone to pray. Even at the Mount of Olives we get only a glimpse or a summary of His prayer.

The first of two notable exceptions to this are what we call The Lord’s Prayer. It would actually be better named the teaching prayer. It is a tool and an example of how to pray on so many different levels it is staggering. On a literary level alone it is the greatest recorded prayer in human history. The other exception is His benediction here. This prayer would be more aptly named the Lord’s Prayer because it is not just a model for others to use but rather a genuine, heartfelt prayer that we have from Jesus to the Father. It is the only prayer we have of its kind and in it, He is praying for you and for me.

React: If you haven’t done so yet I would encourage you to hop over to John 17 and read this prayer in its entirety. In fact, as I’m writing and we’re reading out of this prayer over the next week or two, I would encourage you to do so daily. What are some thoughts and observations you have as you read through it? What jumps out at you? What are some things you saw that you could use in your own prayer time?

I have my own observations and I’m sure a few of them will be woven in to what I write as we dig deeper into the Lord’s Benediction, but I would love to hear from you. What are your initial thoughts? What are some points or verses you would most like to see highlighted?

Respond: 

God, I am so thankful that You didn’t just leave us with an instructional prayer but also that You modeled intercession both through Your lifestyle and through this Benediction as well. I confess that I am not coming to You, spending time with You nearly as often as I should. Help me to find myself seeking You through prayer far more than I have been. Give me a passion, a longing to be a man of intercession. Help me to live out a life of continual prayer just as You have done so before me.

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10 thoughts on “Benediction

  1. What strikes me as I read John 17 is how “in the present” Jesus sees Himself–with the disciples before His arrest, with His Father before the world began and with you and I (believers to come) as the work of the disciples is carried out. Pervasive in all of this is the fulfillment of His ultimate desire: “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me . . . to see my glory . . . given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” The question arises in my mind, “Is Jesus enough?” as I reflect on his prayer. My answer comes in the very next heartbeat . . . “Oh my heavens yes!”

  2. Jesus speaks with Father in a way that I strive to attain with him and others. I’ve never been very good at conversation, but as I learn to speak to and hear Jesus more, it seems I’m getting better at trusting his word to flow through me.

    We can also be one in Jesus and Father. We can be unified without having to control or be controlled by others.

  3. First let me thank you BJ for lifting up the Lord as you do. You point a finger not to us, our doctrines nor to boost your own bubble. This is a breath of fresh air and you consistently throw us back upon our Savior and direct us to God. Just wanted you to be encouraged in your work as those who do point to the Lord do not often find much encouragement in these times and the little response we get from preaching to an unseen ciber audience.

    As for the Lord´s benediction or prayer; the sensation which came over today is like a window into what is really going on. Often we drag Christ and God along with all the amazing things that we perceive down to our earthly understanding of them. But here Jesus is opening a window into mighty things which are infinitely greater than our tiny planet. God´s great plan of redemption is overwhelmingly awesome stuff but as Jesus speaks like He does in this prayer, one has a sense of all that might be going on up there outside of our current awareness.

    We as Christians attempt to heed a call to look away and set our faith on Something greater than what we see and know living here on our planet. Jesus is directing us towards that, communicating with and directing our attention to our Creator and the Greatest Entity that could be. As higher as the heavens are above our universe, is our God and greatly to be praised, sought and contemplated!

    We will be anxiously awaiting your own thoughts and those who respond to the message.

  4. This “great intercessory prayer” is beautiful because it shows the relationship of the Son to the Father – the Son’s obvious love for, obedience to, and complete knowledge of the Father. I think the word I want is ‘familiarity’ – like the “Abba” on the cross. Also because it shows His obvious love for His disciples, then and now. He wanted them and us to have this same relationship to the Father – to know Him as He does, to be as familiar with Him, and to experience the same love.
    It also makes obvious the distinction between the Son and the Father – Jesus is praying to His Father, not to Himself; He expresses the desire for His followers to have the same unity with Them and each other that He and the Father have – i.e. not to become one being, but to become completely unified in love and purpose. It’s both doctrinally and personally beautiful.

  5. I keep a prayer list that I try to go through most every morning. I name each and what I know of their situation to God. When I get through list, I say the Lord’s Prayer slowly to look at names that each petition would apply to. I’ve found that it’s a very good way to pray completely for others.

  6. Whenever I have the opportunity, I say my prayers outside so that I can be more aware of where I am in relation to my spot on earth. It is hard to fathom sometimes that the Creator of this world came down and stood on it, walked on it and knows my frailty better than I do myself. So small in comparison to our world and universe, yet He did. John 17 speaks to the wonder of it all and it boggles my mind that I am included because of faith in what Jesus accomplished. It is so personal, so real, and our Lord’s prayer exemplifies the love of the Father and the Son for us and our Father’s ultimate plan. As I ponder what Jesus was heading into, I cannot help but know that my understanding is so short of what Jesus knew and felt inside. And I know that He knows that. It pulls at my heart.

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