This oughta make you feel good
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.” —John 17:20
Eating ice cream, deep soul time with a longstanding friend, and walks around the water’s edge are three experiences that rank very high on most peoples’ joy list. Jesus praying for our messages about Him should be very, very up there, too.
I invite you to watch the verb tense in this verse with amazement, wonder, and celebration. Jesus is praying. It’s in the now.
Sure, we can read that Jesus prayed for our messages about Him as some long-ago event, time-stamped in history. If we espouse even slightly to an omnipresent deity, however, then this Jesus of the past and the present—and the future—gets a little blurry, a little fuzzy. Jesus is praying for our messages. Is this no one-and-done prayer. Instead, through the Spirit, Jesus is somehow coaxing—and coaching—us in how we share exactly who He is and what He is.
Preachers like me who stand naked at the pulpit (that is, we don’t read from a manuscript—um, what we you thinking?) know what I know: the words are never ours. It is all Spirit led. Jesus is praying for our messages.
Even those who write messages (like I am doing now) know we are never alone at this. Jesus is always there. No, Jesus isn’t dictating the text verbatim. Writing like this can take hours, not minutes, but Jesus—yes—He’s here in the now. He is praying.
Here’s a present tense example. If you’ve participated in worship online after a service has been livestreamed, you’ve undoubtedly heard the preacher pray for so-and-so. For specificity, we’ll call this guy José. He’ll be having surgery on Monday, the 17th. Say the service was recorded on Sunday morning and you experience the prayer on Tuesday afternoon, the 19th. Are your prayers for José out of date?
I don’t think they are. Not with an omnipresent Jesus. Not with a Holy Spirit.
No, I don’t know how all of this works. I can’t know how all of this works—yet. But I do know Jesus is with me. Present tense. And He is praying for this message, and those that, Lord willing, will come. And yes, this makes me feel good.
I pray this makes you feel good, too.
PRAYER: Lord, keep on keeping on with us. May all the excitement of this never stop thrilling our souls, inspiring our actions, and calling us to love not in our name, but Yours. Amen.