Father, thank You for Jesus and the life I have in Him!
“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” (v 12)
Here again, Lord, another record of a time, in the midst of all that You did as You ministered, when You stepped aside from the work to be with Your Father. In this visit, the two of You talked all night long. I wonder what You prayed about, Jesus?? In John 17, I get to read some of the kinds of things that You prayed. Thanks for the times when Your prayers were of intercession and they included even me (e.g. John 17:20-26).
“…and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor” (v 16 NIV)
Now, Luke was obviously writing this after Judas had shown his true allegiance–to himself, not You. Yet, when You called those guys together on that mountain one morning, and You designated them as apostles, You knew just what Judas would eventually do. Still You chose him to hang out with You, to serve with You … You ate meals with him. You even washed his feet (John 13). Even before he had done to You what You always knew he would do, You loved him fully.
Long, long before I was created, You knew me too. You had already seen my entire life unfold. You knew the ways in which I could sin and hurt Your heart. You knew it all–yet You loved me still. Your persistent love could never let go of me no matter how fierce my rebellion or horrid my sin. That’s GRACE! There is nothing I can do to earn Your love; there is nothing I can do to lose Your love. You simply love me because … that’s YOU!
Continue to shape Your kind of love in me, so that it touches the lives that I touch. Make me just like Jesus, so that others can be loved through me like You love me.
“Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit Me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens–skip like a lamb if you like! –for even though they don’t like it, I do …and all heaven applauds …” (v 22-23 MSG)
So, Father, You say it’s a good thing when people who encounter me choose to have negative thoughts and say negative words about me. You point out that this happens when they can see Your truth in my life and that truth cuts a little too close to home for them. Then, what does it mean if no one says those kinds of slanderous things about a follower of You? What does THAT say about the person’s Truth witness?
“…it’s trouble ahead if you think you have it made. What you have is all you’ll ever get. And it’s trouble ahead if you’re satisfied with yourself. Your SELF will not satisfy you for long. And it’s trouble ahead if you think life’s all fun & games. There’s suffering to be met and you’re going to meet it. There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests… Your task is to be true, not popular.” (v 24-26 MSG)
Father, I am totally bankrupt without You. Nothing on earth can satisfy my needs. In each challenge I face, You promise to meet me and walk with me through it. What others think of me doesn’t matter. It’s Your approval that truly assures me that I am whole.
Thank You for Your promises that You always come through on. Thank You for the assurance of belonging to You and being Your child. Thank You for Your work in me to make me just like Jesus. Amen.