The darkness is creepy…sounds that normally would not bother you in the day seem magnified in the dark! A trip to the bathroom at night can be a disaster if you’ve moved a piece of furniture, right? Yet one small LED candle, one small match, or one tiny flashlight illuminates the room enough to make everything “okay” again! Has it ever occurred to you that the same small amount of darkness in a room full of sunshine would not affect the light at all? Light, then, is so much more powerful than darkness. What does that mean for those of us who are in the world, trying to live lives as believers in Jesus Christ? It means that the light of Jesus that illuminates our soul can spill out to others, giving them hope in their dark world!
Last week we looked at the 17th chapter of John, focusing on the prayer of Jesus as He prayed not only for His disciples, but also for those who would become Christ followers throughout the centuries after His resurrection–a list which includes us. Today we will continue gleaning everything we can from the powerful supplication Christ made on our behalf, for strength, protection and guidance.
You can’t open your eyes each morning without soon being aware that our world is in turmoil. Every direction we turn we see battles being fought between good and evil, right and wrong, truth versus untruth, and new laws being passed that affects our freedoms. What are we to do in the midst of this chaos? Jesus gives us some answers in John 17:7-19. Read the Scripture, and then let’s consider the questions. If you have lots of free time, you may wish to do it in one sitting, or you may take the week, meditating on all that Christ prays for YOU in these verses.
- The Message Is Clear: As you read through these verses, did you notice–as we did last week–how many ways in which Christ prayed for those who love Him? Keep your notebook handy, and re-write any of the main points of His prayer, even if you wrote them last week, that are particularly relevant to you. His concern before going to the Cross was that those whom He loved would be taken care of. He trusted His Father to protect them in a dark and evil world, eventually bringing them to glory.
- Read verse 7 again. Christ said He had passed on the message that God had given Him. The world, now more than ever, needs to hear the story of hope found only in Jesus Christ. But who is going to tell them? Read Romans 10:14, 15, and Isaiah 6:8. Who has God given the responsibility of sharing the gospel to? It is not the preacher’s duty to be the only one to witness: it was commanded by Christ in Matthew 28:19, 20 to be our charge as well. This was not a suggestion!
- Read Ephesians 5:8. Ask yourself, why do we Christians have this responsibility? There is no limit because of age, environment, or past sins: God is able to use anyone who loves Him, and makes himself or herself available! He indwells us with light for the darkness we will face in the world.
- We Must Stand In Unity: Read verse 11. Jesus tells us how important it is for us to love each other, dwelling together in unity, so that the world sees that we are different. If we look like the world, they label us as hypocrites, and justify themselves that they do not need Jesus. Read Ephesians 4:4-6. Why is unity so important? The world is always watching to see if we love at all times. Read 1 John 4:7-13. Measure your life by these verses, and examine your heart.
- Standing on the Word of God: Read verse 17, and Hebrews 5:13, 14. How are you going to learn to stand for truth? Look at 14b again. How is that different than exercising our physical bodies? Would two minutes a day achieve any results? Read Psalm 119:10-12. How much time each day do you spend in God’s Word?
- Read 2 Timothy 4:2. What is the biggest concern you have about sharing the good news that Jesus loves and will forgive anyone who calls on Him? Does your fear of being asked questions that you may not be able to answer keep you from witnessing? That is a fear for many. If you honestly say, “I don’t know, but I will find out and get back with you,” what will that convey? A spirit of caring, I hope you answered.
- Only in Christ Do We Have Hope: Have you ever noticed that children imitate those whom they esteem? Read verse 18 again, and Colossians 1:26-28. We can never be imitators of, or introduce others to, someone we do not know. How can we be imitators of Christ?
As we close, think seriously about the light that shines around you as you live each day. Is there an “aroma” around you that makes others sense a peace and joy in the midst of the darkness? You have something that is vital, and it is something you can share! Remember as you witness and as you look for ways to minister to others, that it is the showing of love that makes you different. Don’t be discouraged, downtrodden, or depressed because of the dark, evil world–be a light in this world of darkness for your God is still on His throne and in control.
Memory Verse: Ephesians 5:8: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.”
Focal Passage: John 17:7-19; John 16:33.