Exploring Easter 4/3/23

Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said: Father, it’s time. Display the bright splendor of your Son So the Son in turn may show your bright splendor. You put him in charge of everything human So he might give real and eternal life to all in his care. And this is the real and eternal life: That they know you, The one and only true God, And Jesus Christ, whom you sent. I glorified you on earth By completing down to the last detail What you assigned me to do. And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor, The very splendor I had in your presence Before there was a world. I spelled out your character in detail To the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place; Then you gave them to me, And they have now done what you said. They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, That everything you gave me is firsthand from you, For the message you gave me, I gave them; And they took it, and were convinced That I came from you. They believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I’m not praying for the God-rejecting world But for those you gave me, For they are yours by right. Everything mine is yours, and yours mine, And my life is on display in them. For I’m no longer going to be visible in the world; They’ll continue in the world While I return to you. Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life That you conferred as a gift through me, So they can be one heart and mind As we are one heart and mind. As long as I was with them, I guarded them In the pursuit of the life you gave through me; I even posted a lookout. And not one of them got away, Except for the rebel bent on destruction (the exception that proved the rule of Scripture). Now I’m returning to you. I’m saying these things in the world’s hearing So my people can experience My joy completed in them. I gave them your word; The godless world hated them because of it, Because they didn’t join the world’s ways, Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways. I’m not asking that you take them out of the world But that you guard them from the Evil One. They are no more defined by the world Than I am defined by the world. Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth; Your word is consecrating truth. In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. I’m consecrating myself for their sakes So they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission. I’m praying not only for them But also for those who will believe in me Because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind— Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, So they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, So they’ll be as unified and together as we are— I in them and you in me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, And give the godless world evidence That you’ve sent me and loved them In the same way you’ve loved me. Father, I want those you gave me To be with me, right where I am, So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me, Having loved me Long before there ever was a world. Righteous Father, the world has never known you, But I have known you, and these disciples know That you sent me on this mission. I have made your very being known to them— Who you are and what you do— And continue to make it known, So that your love for me Might be in them Exactly as I am in them.
John 17:1,6,13,20,24 MSG

Day 1
Same Story, Fresh Eyes

Reading through the Easter narrative every year is a habit that I have tried to cultivate. It is my way of reminding myself of the extent of the sacrifice that was made for me. Each year I hope to discover the story in a fresh way.  

This year, while preparing for this series, I was drawn back a little further beyond the ‘regular’ beginning of the story, to John chapter 17.  

I’d never fully picked up on the fact that the priority of Jesus, before He began His grueling journey to the cross, was to pray. I knew about the Garden of Gethsemane but had skipped over John 17. A full chapter, prior to the Easter journey, was dedicated to Jesus communing with the Father and I simply hadn’t picked up on it.  

It’s as if Jesus, knowing what He was about to face, needed to fully immerse Himself in the presence of the Father, giving Him the power and the strength to withstand what was before Him.  

The Importance of Prayer

Reading through chapter 17 of John, I’m reminded of the importance of prayer. Prayer, simply put, is talking to God. To complicate prayer further is to heap burdens upon ourselves that we then struggle to stand up under.  

Jesus, I can imagine, didn’t change His tone, didn’t put on a ‘prayer voice’ nor did He go on and on. He simply and honestly – and with great vulnerability – pleads with the Father to protect the people who belong to Him.
These are my thoughts. As we travel through the story of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection, my question to you will be this – what does today’s scripture reveal to you?  
Each of us relates to God in a deeply personal and unique way and, rather than impose my interpretation onto you, it is my prayer that you will discover what God is highlighting to you, for you.    
Intimacy is the mark of a healthy relationship, knowing one another and accepting one another wholly. God wants to speak to you personally today and, just as Jesus prepared Himself for the cross in prayer, I would encourage you to prepare yourself in prayer for what God may want to do in and through you this Easter time.  

In each day of our Exploring Easter Devotional, we will have some new questions to ask you regarding what you have read. Why not take some time, listen to some music, and contemplate what God would say to you today?
Q1. What does today’s scripture reveal to you?  
Q2. How can you challenge yourself to look at the Easter narrative afresh this Easter period?  
Q3. What are you hoping God would do as you commit to exploring His Word over Easter?

Exploring Easter
Youversion devotional
CBN Europe  

No Comments