Poofs of dust rose each time the boy took a footstep, walking down the rural country road we lived on. I saw him before he noticed me, but there was no time to run. I knew him only as one of the “Honaker boys,” who lived down the “holler” and tormented anyone with whom they came in contact–at least the smaller children. They were bullies, long before the term was a label. He saw me! Picking up his speed, he ran toward me, flinging arrogant, nasty terms at me, intending to knock me into the dirt. After all, I was only a very young girl! Suddenly, out of the bushes behind me, my dad took a couple of leaps and grabbed the boy by his suspenders, crushing him with his eyes, and ready to wallop the daylights out of him. Threatening to do bodily harm if I was ever messed with again, Daddy set him free, following him until he was sure the boy was heading home, as fast as his legs could take him. I had known Daddy was trimming the tall hedges, but was not prepared for his intercession on my behalf.
What a perfect illustration of the protection we are under from our Heavenly Father, Who watches over us even when we’re not aware of His care! As we finish the series on the 17th chapter of John, we see Jesus praying for our protection, guidance and wisdom as we journey through the time on earth.
(You can watch the sermon for this study by going to http://www.trbc.org/sermon-archive.)
Discuss or think about:
Read the verses in John 17:20-26. What immediately leaps out at you, when you consider all the verbs? Jesus was praying this passionate intercessory prayer on our behalf, and His focus was such that we might absorb the great love that existed between the Father and Son, and believers both in that day, and the ages to come.
What thread of unity do you notice throughout these verses? Keep that notebook handy, and jot down the definite interaction as they flow from the prayer.
- Know that Jesus is Praying for You: Read verse 20 again. Can you wrap your mind around the awesome thought that the God Who created the universe by speaking it into being, is so personal to you that HE PRAYS for you? Can you think of some areas in your life that He might intercede to God for on your behalf? Read Romans 8:34. What does this verse tell you about His great love for you?
- Jesus is with Us Every Step of the Way: Read verse 23. Today you are living a certain lifestyle. It may be in–or out–of the will of God. But as you go about the hours in each day, what does the world see that shows them that your God loves you? Are you being a testimony? Do you know that the way we act will determine what the world thinks of the church, and of Christ? Ponder that each day.
- If you are in a love relationship with someone, you probably are so happy that you want the world to know! In verse 23b, how much does it say that God loves you? Can you grasp that? Don’t you want the world to know that He loves you that much?!
- We Have the Answer: Read verse 25, and John 20:29. What does it take for one to believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life? Read the verses again. Was you answer “faith?” Think back on the opening: you are loved by God, valued above all the money the world holds, and protected by God Himself. That does not mean that evil will not come, for “in this world we will face tribulation.” You would not want your child to obey you, always doing the correct thing, because he was a robot programmed to do so. You want him to because he loves you. God wants a relationship of love with us. Satan wants to destroy us. Someday the time will come when Jesus comes back and Satan will be vanquished!
- Knowing that God is “standing behind you” so to speak, should unleash a power in you that makes you want to tell your world about a Savior Who loves them and will give them the gift of eternal life. What do you have to be afraid of? Men can kill the body, but they cannot kill the spirit within you–it belongs to God, and God alone!
- Only In Christ Do We Have Hope: Read verse 26, and Ephesians 5:8. If you have God’s love, protection, and guidance, how can you change your actions, so that you are a light-bearer to your world?
This week, be aware of the people with whom you come into contact, asking yourself how they see your actions, and if you are showing them there is Someone Who will save them from their sins. Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord can be saved, if it is from the heart! Ask Him to send someone to you, that you may be bold enough to share the Good News!