Since the middle of August, my daily Bible reading has consisted of one chapter, the same single chapter. Yes, you heard me correctly, and no, I have not just quit my reading after that first day’s “chapter-a-day requirement” was finished. 🙂
For years now, I have asked the Lord where He wanted my reading to land, and I have read through the books where He led me. After my diagnosis with RA, He comforted me through the book of Psalms. I thought that I was moving pretty slowly, when I was still reading there after a year. But this latest directive that I heard has proven to be even slower.
In August I joined in a beautiful online Bible study with my friend Lisa Brittain, and her book, 31 Days of Gleaning with Ruth. In our last session she read through the prayer of Jesus in John 17 as her closing prayer for those of us who had participated in the study. My dear friend Gayl Wright, who was also part of the group, suggested it might be a good study to read through that chapter every day, to learn more about Jesus’ prayer. The ears of my heart pricked up, and I knew that God was directing me there also. But I did not plan on staying in that one chapter for months!
Do you know what happens when you read a chapter over and over every day? The words begin to become part of your heart without even realizing it. I found myself whispering under my breath, “Father make us one,” as I felt my frustrations mounting one day. Another day I found myself praying, “Jesus, You have all authority in this situation!”
And one day I realized that the prayers I had been uttering from the very lips of my Lord were telling me something more deeply about Him than I had ever considered before. These statements that Jesus prayed were giving me and all of His followers a core understanding of just who Jesus is. I was amazed as I began to note those characteristics every day.
I grew up studying the Attributes of God: His Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence, and more. But I could not remember a single class where I had studied the attributes of Jesus–at least not one based entirely on one chapter in the Bible.
Yet these were words that Jesus had uttered in the most intimate setting of all. He knew what awaited Him. He knew His time was short, and therefore He prayed to His Father for those He loved. But in that prayer for us, He did not just ask for safety and ease, (although He did ask for our protection.) No, He gave us glimpses of His relationship with His Father. He gave us glimpses of His nature. He gave us glimpses of where He had come from, and where He was going.
These are the notes I shared with my son when he asked what I had been learning as I paused for so long in John 17. Maybe they will stir something in your heart also?
- 17:2 Jesus has all authority, and He grants eternal life
- 17:3 Jesus Christ was sent by the Father
- 17:4 Jesus brought the Father glory because He finished God’s work
- 17:8 Jesus has the words God gave Him, and He gave them to us
- 17:10 Jesus has everything the Father has
- 17:11 Jesus was going back to the Father, and Jesus has been given His Father’s name
- 17:13 Jesus has JOY within
- 17:18 Jesus came from the Father–He is not of this world
- 17:19 Jesus has sanctified Himself for our sake
- 17:22 Jesus is one with the Father
- 17:24 Jesus has the Father’s glory because the Father loves Him, and Jesus was given it before the world began
- 17:25 Jesus knows the Father
- 17:26 Jesus makes Himself and the Father known to us so that He may be in us.
When I began this reading in mid-August, I had just finished a year of side-effects from medications gone awry. I didn’t know that soon after that my RA would begin an even more intense flare-up. I also did not know that my Heavenly Father would be re-introducing me to my Best Friend, the ONE who would walk with me through the fire. I did not know, but HE knew.
There was a Name greater than all, an Authority high above every other, a Glory shining around me, as Jesus began to more deeply reveal Himself to me.
Have you been introduced to the One who holds the Name above every other name?
Maybe you already know Him but have felt a hunger to know Him more deeply?
Or maybe your heart has drifted from the place of First Love with Him?
I would love to pray with you today:
Thank You that You gave us Your own words as You prayed for us. Thank You that You knew we would have questions about who You really are, and You met all of our wondering in some of Your last words ever uttered here on this earth. Lord, we confess that we have not known You as deeply as You have wanted us to. You invited us into Your very heart as You prayed for us! We lay aside our own definitions, and we hold onto the truth of Your Word. We want You to have all authority in our lives. We want to see the ONENESS with You that You have given us, and we want to see Your Glory. Will You begin to reveal Yourself more deeply to us today, here on this earth where You have placed us? We are filled with love for You.
In Your Name we pray,
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