Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day 23: John 17


Jesus fulfilled His part of the plan. He has given us all that we need to know about God. He revealed God to us and has shown us how to obey Him. Now the baton is passed. Now God has involved us in the Divine plan. No longer is God depending on Jesus to reveal Him; now He has commissioned us to reveal God to those who do not know Him. In doing so, we bring glory to the Godhead - Father, Son, and Spirit.

The Trinity, the Godhead, is one God with a unified essence who exists in three equal persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They have been active for all of eternity in the salvation of the world. The Father is the originator, the Son is the revealer, and the Spirit is the completer. In other words, the Father acts, through the Son, by the Spirit. Now, God dwells in us through faith and we are God's body in the world.

Jesus is no longer present to continue the work, but He has left the Holy Spirit to enable us to be a part of that work. We do not accomplish God's work on our own, He does His work through us. Just as the Father, Son, and Spirit have been working for all of eternity in perfect community, Jesus has left behind a community of His followers to carry out the task. It is not something that we were designed to do alone. From the very beginning, Jesus stressed the importance of community, of others, of having partners. He didn't select a disciple, He selected twelve. Even among the disciples, He did not select one to be closest, but three, Peter, James, and John. When sending them out to minister, they were sent in pairs. As God said in the beginning, it is not good for man to be alone.

That is why He has created the church. The church is a gathering on earth of those who believe in Jesus and are called to know God and make Him known. God has made us partakers in the Divine nature by giving the Spirit to dwell within us as we turn to God in faith. He unites us individually to God, but also works to restore the perfect God had created among mankind. As we dwell in that perfect community, we see God manifest Himself in several ways.

The Spirit is sent to protect us from the world and the evil one who is directing it. We will face danger in the world, just as Jesus did, but not alone. We are part of a family, a community, a united and unified body of God here on earth. We may fall, but we have others to help us get back up (Eccl. 4:10). Although the entire world will be aligned against us, we have a place of refuge, safety, and support.

This community, the church, also becomes the greatest means of communicating God's glory. It is not our progams, the glitz, glamour, or anything else we can manufacture. Instead, it is something supernatural that we cannot experience on our own, our love for one another. God desires that we dwell in unity just as the Godhead does. Just as they are three in one, so we are to be many but one. God calls us His body - a unified whole represented by many parts. When one suffers, we all suffer. When one rejoices, we all rejoice. When one mourns, we all mourn. As we are brought to unity by the Holy Spirit, we demonstrate the love of God to the world. The world is a void for this type of loving, self-sacrificing, others-centered, unity. And sadly, so is the church. God calls us to return to a lifestyle of loving community to demonstrate His reality, presence, and activity in the world.

As we love one another, the world will see and know God's love.

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