Who in the world is the world? And what does it mean?

I’m pleased to share the steerage of the Daily Text this week with Dr. Wade Paschal, a long time friend and colleague of mine. Most recently retired from a long tenure of service as the Senior Minister of the First United Methodist Church of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Wade is a pastor-teacher of more than thirty years, a writer and mentor. He is father to three children and grand-father to two. He started as an economics major and went on to do New Testament studies, earning a PhD in Biblical Studies from Cambridge. He served as the founding Dean of the Beeson Center for Biblical Preaching and Leadership at Asbury Theological Seminary, but spent most of his time on the front lines of his downtown church. You will be enriched by his writings this week.

June 13, 2017

John 17:6-10

6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 

CONSIDER THIS

“I am not praying for the world”—these words in the middle of John 17 jar me. After all, in John 3:16 we read that God loved the world so much that he sent his son for the world. So why leave the world out now?

To understand we go back to the reasons Jesus gives for praying for the disciples in the first place. He says, “I revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world.” The disciples belong to God and the results show it. Notice how Jesus described those he is praying for: they are those who “obeyed your word” and “accepted your words” and above all believed that the Father sent the Son to them and accepted him. Jesus is praying for the people who not only heard what he had say, but took it in and believed it and obeyed.

The “world” then would be those who did not do these things. People hear the words of Jesus, but do not accept them. They do not believe Jesus is from God. They do not obey. Their lives remain just as they were before.

And, at this point I might be tempted to say, “Well, I’m ok then because I do believe Jesus is the son sent from the Father and I do accept his words as God’s words.”

Perhaps I need to ask myself a question: Do I really? What in my life truly suggests that I belong to God? Where am I obedient? Do I really love others as he has loved me?

Or do I seem as clueless about Christ or as indifferent to his life as everybody else?

All it takes to be in the world is to act as if Christ did not come, or did not make a difference to me. All it takes to be in the world is to be more concerned about my reputation or my own thoughts and to leave Jesus out of the equation of my life.

To belong to Jesus is a deep and serious thing. It means that all of my life belongs to God—that I have heard and accepted what Jesus did for me and that defines my life.

THE PRAYER

Gracious God, it is a wonderful thing to belong to you and to belong to Christ. Help me not only to know your words but to live them today. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  • What in my life is determined or defined by my faith in Jesus?
  • What are you tempted at times to treat as more important than Jesus?
  • What do you do with this when you see it?

For the Daily Text, I am Wade Paschal.

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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