*A Final Challenge
“That the world may believe that You sent Me.”
John 17:21 NASB
O that all who bear the name of Christ would put away evil-speaking, talebearing, and whispering. Let none of them proceed out of your mouth! See that you speak evil of no one; of the absent, speak nothing but good.
If you would be distinguished, let it be by this mark: “They censure no one behind his back.” What a blessed effect of this self-denial would we quickly feel in our hearts! How our peace would flow like a river! How the love of God would abound in our own souls while we thus confirm our love to our brothers and sisters! And what effect it would have on all that are united in the name of the Lord Jesus! How brotherly love would continually increase when this grand hindrance of it was removed!
Nor is this all. What an effect might this have even on the wild, unthinking world! How soon they would see in us what they could not find among all the thousands of their own, and cry, “See how these Christians love one another!”
By this chiefly would God convince the world and prepare them also for His kingdom. As we may learn from those remarkable words in our Lord’s last, solemn prayer: “I pray for those who will believe in Me, that they may be one…that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Lord, hasten the time that we thus love one another in deed and in truth, even as Christ has loved us!
*From How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.
In this seventy-fourth, and final lesson on prayer, Wesley points to Jesus’ Priestly prayer in John 17 to remind us of our responsibilities to walk in a manner worthy of His love as a witness to a fragmented and hostile world. I can think of no better way to end this series of devotions than to offer His prayer in benediction.
Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, 2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. 3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 ” I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. 6 ” I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 “Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; 8 for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9 ” I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; 10and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. 12“While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. 13“But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15“I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16” They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17” Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18“As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19“For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. 20“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. 24“Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25“O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (NASB).