John 17:22-23 (NIV1984)
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Jesus prays not only for the disciples and followers present at that time, but for every believer that would follow. That includes you and me an other who may yet choose to follow him. What does he pray for us? He prays that we as believers would be unified. How can we be in unity with people who lived in other times and place. People we will never meet or know in our lifetime. Its a mind boggling thought. It reminds me of another verse from
Hebrew 12:1 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Those who die in Christ are not really dead they are part of that great cloud of witnesses that reach back through history (His -Story). We are surrounded by this great cloud of witnesses. Witnesses to what you might ask? To the things that Jesus has done in and through your life. They each ran their race and so must we. We are told to throw off the things that hinder us and easily tangle us up in sin. We are told to run with perseverance. We are told there is a race marked out for us.
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message."
Each of us has a story of how Jesus has transformed and is transforming our lives. His prayer is not for just us, but for those who will believe in him because of our story or message.
I know you may think your story is pretty ordinary. You may think there is nothing special about your life. It won't matter if the history books remember you the Lord sees and knows you as his own. You are like the apple of his eye. You don't know how your story may encourage someone else to believe, or to hold on and not give up. So tell your story.
Psalm 17:8 (NIV1984)
8 Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings
hide me in the shadow of your wings
A site called Answers has this to say about the origins of the phrase Apple of my Eye came about. "The term was originally used in the bible and it was used to signify someone of great worth 'whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye', someone who was very precious. The 'apple of your eye' is the iris or center of the eye. If someone were to touch the apple of your eye it would be very painful and so it is protected by the eyelid. The biblical imagery is that we are the apple of his eye and God is the eyelid who protects us."
I'm not sure I have fully made a point in all of this - but I want you to know that what ever you are facing that Jesus loves you. You are precious to him. Just as you protect your own eye from things that would hurt or damage it. The Lord protects you in a similar way. Jesus prayed not just for the disciple back in the day. You have heard his story and you have heard theirs. The stories of other believers have been passed down to us. We don't always know what things we have said or will say that may spur others on to love and good deeds.
Well my day got away from me and I have to be up very early to check my son in for surgery.
I believe the Lord will keep you as the apple of his eye. You are precious to him. Jesus prays for us to be in unity. That does not mean we need to be exactly alike. There is room for each of us to express his amazing creativity in our own uniqueness. What we are unified about is who Jesus is and what his mission is and has always been. He is the one that makes a way that we can be reconciled to the Father.
Prayer: Lord keep each one as the apple of your eye. Hide these readers under the shadow of your wings. Help them to see the race laid out before them. Let them run it with perseverance and help us to walk in unity together as His people.