#0089 I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message
Scripture relevant to today’s posting…
1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
John 17: 1-5 (NIV)
Today’s posting is part VIII of an excerpt from the book I am currently working on. This article looks at the difference between an hierarchy-based community and a community which is NOT hierarchy-based; this type of community would utilize concepts and principals of egalitarianism. The reason I’ve been talking about this is because, although Jesus’s message was filled with elements of the egalitarian principal, the Church continues to operate within the well-worn hierarchical structure, embracing and pushing its principles. Today we are looking at another scripture which tells about something that happened only a handful of months before the Pentecost event, at a time just before Jesus was crucified. It’s a prayer Jesus prays to His Father and in it He mentions a group of people for whom He is concerned. Could these be the same “little” people mentioned in Acts 4&5 that we’ve been talking about?
(Continued from Wednesday 5-4-16)
There is an account in the gospel of John where Jesus is praying to His Father on behalf of all believers. For the sake of our discussion we can imagine that Jesus is referring to the “little’ people we’ve been talking about from Acts 4&5. Chronologically, this prayer happens shortly before His crucifixion and when He knows He will be leaving the earth; He knows He won’t be able to be there for them so He’s putting their well-being into the hands of the Holy Ghost (see verse 26). In this prayer we can clearly detect the implication of egalitarianism we have been talking about. Additionally we glean from it is the type of relationship Jesus wants them to have with Him, His Father, the apostles and with each other. It’s the type of relationship based in equality and Godly-love…
Jesus Prays for All Believers
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—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
John 17: 20-26 (NIV)
I have underlined certain sections which are most pertinent to our egalitarian topic. This scripture follows another prayer (John 17: 6-19) which is one specifically meant for the disciples (the apostles). I’m not including that section now so our focus can better stay on this other group of “little” people. In His prayer we get a glimpse at the love dynamic which exists between Jesus and His Father: “…Father, just as you are in me and I am in you”. This isn’t merely sanctimonious fluff Jesus throws in to make His words sound more prayer-like—this is the foundational theme of both this prayer and the one He prays for His disciples—which He continues to revisit. The more we read through this prayer the stronger and stronger our awareness becomes that Jesus’s wants His relationship with these “little” people to be the same as it is with His Father. This sentiment strongly decries the concept of hierarchy in any form (including priesthood) as something that couldn’t possibly originate with God. This concept of equality and Godly-love should be fundamental to all Christian community structures—but it’s not. It’s been pushed aside by the concepts of hierarchy. On Pentecost the Holy Ghost came down to fill all those hearing the apostles’ message with the specific divine directive to come together in equality and Godly-love and the scriptures tell us that IS what happened. The day-two plan was supposed to be for them to create an environment that could sustain this kind of dynamic; but the apostles, unwittingly, messed that up by imposing the idea of priesthood into the mix. When they started down that road, the priesthood road, the hierarchy road, the concept of equality and Godly-love got assigned to the back seat. Eventually it was tossed out a long side the road.
All is not lost, however, as the concept of equality and Godly-love seems to making a comeback. It’s not making a comeback in Christian circles so much; but we are seeing the concept being revived in pop-culture, especially in the U.S. This is happening in political and social movements throughout the land and in other areas around the world. We’ll talk about some of these efforts next time.
If you have a question or thought about this or other postings please feel free to send them in. As always, thanks for reading.
TBC: Sunday, May 08, 2016