John 17 Prayer (Part Two)
©December 14, 2008 Asher Intrater
Yeshua's High Priestly prayer in John 17 can be divided into three parts.
John 17 is a prayer for the international Body of Believers; yet it is also a prayer for that Body to be used to reach and save the rest of the world. John 17 is Yeshua's prayer strategy for world evangelism.
In John 3:16 we hear perhaps the deepest cry of God's heart – for everyone to be saved. "For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son so that anyone who believes in Him would not perish but receive eternal life." God loves the whole world. Yet Yeshua said He was not praying for the world.
John 17:9 – "I do not pray for the world…" If God loves the world so much, why is Yeshua not praying for the world? The answer is one of strategy. The world needs to be saved. Yet people of the world are less sensitive to prayers. They need to see and hear a living witness of the gospel.
True believers do not need to be saved. They are sensitive to prayer and can be witnesses of salvation to the world. Yeshua prayed for the community of faith to be a witness to the world. That is effective prayer for world evangelism.
What a simple and beautiful strategy: Yeshua prays for Himself to be revealed in glory. Then He prays for His disciples to walk in faith and love. He prays that His disciples would influence others. Ultimately He prays that through the witness of love and unity in the Body, all the world would come to faith.
Let us use the same strategy.
John 17 is a prayer for the international Community of Faith to be used to share the gospel. John 17 is Yeshua's way of praying that John 3:16 would be fulfilled.
Spanish Jewry – In the 1300's and 1400's the Jewish community within Catholic Spain and Portugal grew to large numbers, even to the extent that the Catholic authorities felt threatened. The sad results were persecutions, the inquisition, forced conversions and eventually the exile from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1498.
No one knows the exact number of Jews who converted to Catholicism in those years. However recent genetic research on Y chromosomes in Jewish and Spanish males shows a similarity in over 20%. Such research could indicate that the number of Jews who converted in the 14th century was much higher than imagined, and that the number of Spanish and Portuguese speaking people who are Jewish in descent could be as high as 1 in every 5.
JOS, Nigeria (Compass Direct News) – Outrage over suspected vote fraud in local elections turned into rioting in this city located between the Islamic north and Christian south. The murderous attacks by Muslims on Christians and their property on Nov. 28-29 left six pastors dead, at least 500 other people killed and 40 churches destroyed.. Police and troops reportedly killed about 400 rampaging Muslims in an effort to quell the unrest, and Islamists shot, slashed or stabbed to death more than 100 Christians.
Israeli Elections – Gideon Saar won first place in the primaries under Benyamin Netanyahu in the Likud party. Gideon Saar has been an active member in the Knesset committee on relations with evangelical Christians, and has a good reputation among the Christian community. National elections are scheduled for February.
India – This week some of our team members are participating in an outreach led by S and C to the Goa beach district. Goa is a popular destination for young Israeli adult backpackers seeking fun, sin and spiritual experiences. The Jerusalem Post reported this week that Indian State Secretary, J.P. Singh, issued a warning that Al Qaida may be targeting Goa for terrorist attack.
Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem
I see a spiritual parallel between the effort of King David to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem (II Samuel 6) and the modern Messianic movement bringing the gospel of Messiah back to the city.
On the first attempt Uzza stretched forth his hand and touched the Ark that was in danger of slipping off the wagon carrying it. At that moment he was struck dead. This happened because they did not appreciate the importance of God's law to have the Cohen's carry the ark on poles.
On the second attempt, David took off his royal garments and danced wildly in the streets with joy along with common peasants. His wife Michal thought this was unbecoming. She was punished with infertility because she did not appreciate the importance of wildly expressive praise and worship before the Lord.
These two incidents point to two basic principles that accompany the gospel of the kingdom to Jerusalem: respecting the principles of God's law and unbridled devotion to God in praise. In modern terms we could call these two: Jewish roots and Charismatic expression.
Some want Charismatic expression but think the Jewish laws are irrelevant. They are making the mistake of Uzza. Others want Jewish roots but think that Charismatic expression is just emotionalism. They are making the mistake of Michal.
However, we desire both: the full expression of the works and gifts of the Holy Spirit and the respect for the Judaic roots of covenant and kingdom. (Interestingly, our Revive Israel ministry team center is located in the Kiryat Yearim area where the Ark was, and Ahavat Yeshua congregation is located in downtown Jerusalem.)
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Please PRAY for our ongoing ministry in Israel of indigenous evangelism, planting Messianic congregations, the discipleship training center, prophetic praise and prayer watches in Hebrew, and financial aid for the needy.