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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A GOLDEN PRAYER

Text: John 12:20-28
 
    Jesus had just accomplished a notable and undeniable miracle in raising Lazarus from the dead. The news of that phenomenon had attracted multitudes to see and hear Him. Enthusiastic crowds had gathered to the extent that the Pharisees said, "The whole world has gone after Him!" (John 12:19). All this commotion led "certain Greeks" to inquire of the disciples about seeing Jesus.
    It appears that these "certain Greeks" who were among the multitude of worshipping Jews, served as a "trigger" to Jesus, for Jesus immediately said, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Perhaps it was a "signal" from Heaven to Jesus that it was now time to begin the process of going thru the final stages of His mission to bring not only the Jews, but also the Gentiles within reach of God's Grace.
    The mission of Jesus was to bear the enormous burden of paying the wages of sin of all mankind who would come to the Father thru Him.  And as Jesus contemplates the cross, which now immediately stands between Him and the accomplishment of His mission on earth, He says, "My soul is troubled."  And it is out of this troubled soul that the words of verse 28 come: "Father, glorify Thy Name."
    It truly amazes me that One who can command storms; One who can calm a turbulent sea; One who can destroy demons; and One who can even raise the dead --- how can such a One be troubled by anything! What is it about our sin that causes the soul of Jesus to be troubled --- What is it about our sin that causes the soul of Jesus to be "exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death?" (Matt. 26:38).
    I find is comforting that Jesus spoke about His inward feelings. He could have kept this fact to Himself, but He shared it with His disciples. Many try to make it appear as though they are "spiritual giants" and nothing ever troubles their soul. They conceal any emotion they have for fear it may make them appear weak to their brethren.  Jesus did no dishonor to His Heavenly Father by saying, "Now is my soul troubled," and neither will the revealing of you're inward conflicts dishonor Him when shared with trusted disciples.
    The grand example of Jesus in revealing an inward "struggle," is that in spite of it, He was determined to do His Father's will. You and I need to clothe ourselves with the same power that made Jesus victorious in spite of His inward struggles (cf. Ephesians 3:16);  we need to clothe ourselves with the "armor of light" (Romans 13:12), by putting on the whole "armor of God" (Ephesians 6:12-18).
    In spite of the battle going on in the mind of Jesus, from the very first moment there is really no question about what He will do. His purpose was already settled and immovable. Consider verse 27, "Now is My soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour ... but for this cause came I unto this hour!"  That is, Jesus knew the answer before He asked the question. Jesus says, "OK, My soul is troubled, but this is the reason I came into the world, so Father glorify Thy Name!"
    Have you ever stopped to contemplate why YOU are in this world? Is it to glorify yourself? Or do you suppose it is to glorify God?
    After a long day of teaching the Gospel in the heat of Africa, looking into the eyes of men and women who are longing for real answers to their innermost questions about God, the Africans go home, often to shared housing or a one room shanty, and sleep on a mat that's been spread out on a hard floor, often hungry. I go back to an air conditioned hotel room, lay on a soft bed with a full belly and plenty of fresh clean water to drink, plus a passport to get me back into the greatest country in the world. I lay there and wonder why I have been bless so much. Is it so I can waste all these blessings on myself? Or, is it so I can use these blessings to glorify God by teaching His message of salvation? If you are in the Lord's church, you have a purpose (1Corinthians 12:18), and that purpose is NOT to glorify yourself, but rather to "Glorify God."
    Jesus said, "My soul is troubled, but I came into the world to bear My cross, so Father glorify Thy name with My Cross." This prayer breathes a spirit of complete self-surrender.  Some actually do pray this prayer, but they put conditions and limitations on it, and expect God to comply. They will say something like, "Father, glorify Thy name in me, but don't expect me to be immersed in water for the remission of my sins!"  Or, "Father, glorify Thy name in me, but don't expect me to attend any evening church service." In other words, "Father, you can use me to glorify Thy name as long as I approve of the way you do it."
    If that is your attitude, God is not your Father (Mark 3:35), so He will pass you by. God is searching the earth for those whose heart is perfect toward Him (2Chronicles 16:9).  God is searching the earth for those with genuine faith (cf. Luke 18:8). 
    Lastly, you cannot glorify God at all outside His church (Ephesians 3:21), and you can only get into His church by Him adding you to it. This will happen when your hear His word, believe and obey it (Ax 2:41 & 47).  -- by Toby Miller

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