Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Gospel of Peace: Making it Real - Lesson 2 - “Christ’s Prayer for Us” - John 17.20-26

Lesson 2 - “Christ’s Prayer for Us” - John 17.20-26
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”) 
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.) 
WS: Word Study (Understanding grammatical and theological definitions and usages in other passages.)

1.      Context: When did Jesus pray this prayer (in the chronology of the passion week)?
2.      Context: How does John 17:19 set the stage for this last part of Christ’s prayer?
3.      ID: Who was Jesus praying for in John 17:9-19?  Who is the subject of his prayer (“they” or “them”) in verses 20-26?  Who referred to and what are the key words in these verses?
4.      Read 17:20-26 slowly several times and then in other versions (jkv, rsv, nasb,  niv, nlt, chs). 
5.      ID: (20-22) Note the five occurrences of the word “one.”  In what sense does this passage mean 1) that the Father is one in the son? And 2) that “they” are one with the Father and Son?
6.      ID: (21) What is one result of believers being one and being in the Father and the Son?
7.      WS: Verse 22 refers to the “glory” the Father gave to the Son and the son gave to those who believed.  What does the word glory mean in this passage and in what way has Jesus given believers glory?  glory -- doxa
8.      WS: Verse 23 says, “that they may be made perfect in one.” The word for perfect is teleioō.  What does “perfect” mean in this context? (kjv, nasb, nkjv, esv, nltperfect (ed) (ly); niv, netcomplete (ly) )
9.      ID: (25) Does Jesus addressing the Father as “righteous Father” have a special significance to this passage?  What is it?
10.  ID: (26) What should be in us?  Look at the way the word love (agape) is used in verses 23-24.  What will that love look like in us?
The WALK: What should I do?
1.      What does it mean for us to be one? What are some ways we work against this?
2.      How unified do you think we are at TBC?
3.      What do we need to work on? How can you help?
4.       Are there people that you don’t have peace with? What are some things that are contributing to that? (Don’t forget to think about your part.)

Lesson 2: Book Review
The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by  Ken Sande is a practical theology of reconciliation, forgiving, and peacemaking.  Resolving a conflict is one thing, but the book goes beyond that to principles for life-changing reconciliation with family, coworkers, and fellow believers.  In the book he makes reference to the passages in this year’s Bible study.  An example is this passage from The Peacemaker (pp. 47-48) that comments on John 17:20-23.
Unity is more than a key to internal peace.  It is also an essential element of your Christian witness.  When peace and unity characterize your relationships with other people, you show that you are God’s child and he is present and working in your life (Matt. 5:9).  The converse is also true: When your life is filled with unresolved conflict and broken relationships, you will have little success in sharing the good news about Jesus’ saving work on the cross.  This principle is taught repeatedly throughout the New Testament.
One of the most emphatic statements on peace and unity in the Bible is found in Jesus’ prayer shortly before he was arrested and taken away to be crucified.  After praying for himself and for unity among his disciples (John 17:1-19), Jesus prayed for all who would someday believe in him.  These words apply directly to every Christian today:
"My prayer is not for them [my disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 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. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
John 17:20-23 emphasis added
Jesus prayed these words during the final hours of his life.  As death drew near, the Lord focused on a single concept he knew to be of paramount importance for all those who would believe in him.  He did not pray that his followers would always be happy, that they would never suffer, or that their rights would always be defended.  Jesus prayed that his followers would get along with one another.  This was so important to him that he tied his reputation and the credibility of his message to how well his followers would display unity and oneness.  Read his prayer once more and think about how important unity is to him.  Is it equally important to you?
The book is available online or in the TBC bookstore.  It would be a great supplement to this year’s study series, “The Gospel of Peace: Making It Real.”

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