One of the great heroes of the Reformation in England is a man named John Knox. In fact, if you go to Scotland today and go into one of the Scottish churches, they will identify the pulpit of that church typically as "The John Knox Pulpit" because it was John Knox, the great, bold, fiery preacher who brought the Reformation to Scotland. John Knox, the great and legendary preacher of Scotland had a terminal illness and the remaining days of his life after he had taken on this illness he requested that he be read a portion of Scripture every day. And that portion of Scripture that he wanted to hear every day up until the day he died was the seventeenth chapter of John's gospel. In fact, he died on November 24 of 1572 and the record indicates that the last words that he ever heard before he entered into glory were the words of John chapter 17.
Turn in your Bible, if you will, to that chapter because it is the text that we've been looking at. This is what is commonly known as Jesus' High Priestly prayer. It is a picture of Jesus interceding for His own. And we noted that the prayer really falls into three very obvious categories and the first five verses Jesus prays with regard to Himself...with regard to the salvation that He is about to accomplish through His death and the return to glory when He goes back to the Father. From verse 6 through 19 He prays for His disciples primarily, prays for them and the strategic role they will play in preaching the gospel of salvation. And then starting in verse 20 He prays for the church, for all of those who will hear the message of the gospel through the Apostles and will believe and then spread the message across the world. This is Jesus then interceding for His own.
Most importantly for us tonight from verse 20 to the end, interceding for the church. He says this, "I do not ask in behalf of these alone but for also who believe in Me through their word...referring to the Apostles and those who believe through their word, the written Scriptures, as well as the early apostolic preaching...that they may all be one, even as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee that they also may be in us that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me and the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given to them that they may be one, just as we are one. I in them and Thou in Me that they may be perfected in unity that the world may know that Thou didst send Me and didst love them even as Thou didst love Me. Father, I desire that they also whom Thou hast given Me be with Me where I am in order that they may behold My glory which Thou hast given Me, for Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known Thee, yet I have known Thee and these have known that Thou didst send Me and I have made Thy name known to them and will make it known that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them and I in them."
There are so many great and profound truths in this prayer, but there is one that sort of pervades all of it and that is the amazing love that Jesus has for His own. That's what prompts this intercession. What prompts His prayer for His disciples and for the church is the profound and great love which John said, "Behold what manner of love," which Paul talks about the great love wherewith He loved us, this immense, astounding, really an undefinable, unimaginable and infinite love is expressed here as the Savior prays for His own.
We've seen glimpses of it before in the washing of the feet of the disciples. Earlier that evening, you remember, when John 13 opens up, Jesus takes a bowl and puts a towel around His waist and washes the disciples' feet and in that way demonstrates the love that He has for them. But here in chapter 17 we come to a picture of love that stretches beyond a simple foot washing. This takes us into a profound expression of the love not in a physical action but in a spiritual communion with God Himself. Nothing is more emblematic or more demonstrative of the love of Christ than that He intercedes for His own. He has you in His heart, He has me in His heart and He carries us to the throne of the Father that He might plead on our behalf for all the best gifts that He can give. That's how much He loves His own.
That love depicted in this High Priestly prayer is then sealed forever in the willingness expressed in His death as He went to the cross to die for those for whom He had just interceded. No greater evidence of His love can be seen in the cross, but next to the cross this incredible picture of His High Priestly intercession demonstrates how deeply He loves us.
Now as we look at verses 20 to 26 tonight in just the little bit of time we have, I want you to notice three things that sort of take apart this passage and allow us to see it more clearly. Number one, the subjects of His prayer...number two, the requests of His prayer...and number three, the confidence of His prayer.
First of all, the subjects of His prayer. As I noted for you in verses 1 to 5 He prayed basically for Himself, not selfishly but that He might be glorified with the glory that He was due having accomplished the work that the Father had sent Him to accomplish. And then starting in verse 6 and running down to verse 19, He prayed for His living disciples, particularly the eleven apostles who were alive at the time who would be the preachers of the gospel who would largely be the writers of the New Testament. And now as He comes to verse 20 His prayer sweeps into the future beyond the Apostles and it gathers up people of all ages and all countries, all cultures, the believers of all history to come. Look at verse 20, "I do not ask in behalf of these alone...that is of the eleven, the Apostles...I do not pray for these alone."
And by the way, I can't resist noting for you that's the third negative in this prayer. There are three things that Jesus says in this prayer "I do not pray for." The first one is back in verse 9, "I do not ask on behalf of the world..." He is not interceding, He is not the High Priest of the unregenerate world. Verse 15, "I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one." He does not pray for the world and He does not pray for believers to be taken out of the world, but rather to be delivered from the evil one in the world because it is crucial that they be in the world for the purposes of unfolding the advancing kingdom through the preaching of the gospel. And then in verse 20, "I do not ask in behalf of these alone," He prays not only for the Apostles, "but for those also who believe in Me through their word."
Whether it was the written Word of Scripture which the Apostles and their associates penned, or whether it was through their preaching, all who heard what the Apostles said, all who read and read what the Apostles wrote are involved in this intercession, the sovereign, omnipotent eye of the Lord Jesus scans the centuries from that moment from all the way on to the end of redemptive history and He presses to His loving heart all His true followers in all the centuries yet to come as if they had been saved already, their names already written in the Lamb's Book of Life, already eternal God has set His affection upon them, already it has been determined that they will be embraced in a covenant that will bring them from darkness to light, from hell to heaven and they belong to God in anticipation from eternity past. And so Jesus prays for them at this moment, though most of them have not yet lived, they are already on His heart, their names written in His book. He was about to pay for their sins on the cross.
So this is not some general prayer. This is a very specific prayer and He's very specifically praying for you and for me and every other believer through all of redemptive history until the end of the age and the establishment of the eternal state in the new heavens and the new earth. This is Jesus interceding. You want to know what His High Priestly prayer ministry is like? This is it. He unveils His loving heart. He gives insight into His intercessory work. In fact, this goes on all the time, what He does here in chapter 17 He does even now because it says in the book of Hebrews, "He ever lives to make intercession for us." He's praying for you right now, He's praying for me right now and as He always has.
He identifies these as "those who believe in Me." True salvation comes from faith. We don't need to say much about that, we know that, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved," Acts 16:31 says. True saving faith is what identifies God's own. Now it's important to mention this here because we've talked about the fact that they were predetermined from before the foundation of the world. Jesus knew who they were. God knew who they were. They were the chosen, their names are written in the Book. But all of that does not come to fruition apart from personal faith. So He prays for those who believe in Me.
And how did they come to believe? This is so important. "Through their word," that is the word of the Apostles. By the gospel preached through the Apostles and the associates of the Apostles, by the Scriptures which they were used by the Spirit of God to write, they have provided the source of gospel truth which men and women have believed through all the ages and thus been saved. Before the Apostles died and, of course, we know that most of them were martyred, before they died not only did they teach and preach, not only did they found the church, but under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, embodied in the books of the New Testament was their doctrine and its evidence. They gave an account of the life of Christ, an account of the death of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, the ascension of Christ, they gave an account. In fact, they gave four accounts of everything that Jesus taught and then what they taught in the book of Acts and how the church grew. They recorded the miracle works that Jesus did and the works that they did in His power, also in the book of Acts. In these writings they continued to testify of the Savior.
And then some of them were inspired to write the epistles, as we know. And there they recorded all of the theological significance of everything that Jesus said and did. They then are uniquely the source of the gospel, of saving truth. As Paul said, "Their sound is gone out into all the earth and their words unto the ends of the world." And so says Paul, "Salvation comes by hearing the Word."
So when we preach the gospel we preach the Word of the Apostles. That's why in the book of Acts it says the early church studied the Apostles' doctrine. Their message written in Scripture, preached, their message is one that will lead to faith in Jesus Christ.
It's an amazing thing to think about because at that moment there were only eleven of them. One was a serious, serious defector who had left the room that night to go and betray Jesus this very night. And it is right away in chapter 18 that the Romans, along with the leading Jews who were against Jesus, come marching into the garden where Jesus has been praying and take Him captive and the execution is at that point imminent. And when Jesus is arrested, you know what happened to them, they all...what?...scattered and fled. And Peter who was the most formidable of them, at least apparently so, and their leader by all recognition denied Christ on three separate occasions and may have even denied Christ multiple times. He certainly did more than three times, on three occasions, but on each of those occasions there may have been multiple denials. It looked like a massive defection. How was it ever going to be that the world of believers from that moment to the end of redemptive history would come to believe through the influence of these men who momentarily were shattered and scattered and fled in fear and who were turned into deniers of the very Christ who had called them and commissioned them? They would soon abandon Him.
But His confidence was unshaken and He was praying for those whom He knew in omniscience would be saved by the powerful chain of witness that was going to begin with those so weak disciples. You know, I think it was good for them to hear this, it was good for them to hear this prayer with all the events to come, to remember that Jesus had this kind of confidence. That the whole flow of redemptive history would come from their influence. So, Jesus prayed for His very own...sheep yet unborn and unconverted.
It's amazing to think about but two thousand years ago Jesus was praying for you, as well as dying for you. We are His personal possession, a love gift from the Father, cherished by the Son, guarded, protected and some day to be raised up to glory. And you see Christ immediately here taking care of His own by interceding for them. And that's how He cares for us now, this constant intercession goes on and goes on. When we get to glory we can thank Him.
Let's look secondly at the requests. We talked about the subjects of His prayer and it's us and all others who would believe following the Apostles. What is...what is on His heart? What's He praying for? Really there's only two things here. In verses 21 to 24 there's a lot said there but there's really only two themes. And we could take a lot of time digging into every nuance of this text because it's so deep and rich. But suffice it to say at this point that there really are two things on the mind of Jesus, and it is these two things that capture His interest. One is He prays for our oneness, our unity. Now that one is wonderful to think about but the second one is staggering. He prays for our oneness and secondly, He prays for our personal presence with Him. That's the staggering one.
Let's look, first of all, at oneness, verse 21, "I pray that they may all be one..." I want to stop right there. This...this is a very simple statement but it might be at first kind of hard to sort out what He's talking about. That's a very popular verse and an often used verse by those who would like to get us to sort of set aside our doctrine and all embrace each other and just kind of waltz around holding hands...with disregard for any doctrine or anything that might divide us. That's sort of the ecumenists verse. That verse is used to sort of intimidate folks who have some strong convictions...and they say, "What do you want to do, go against the grain of Jesus? He prayed that we all may be one." Well, are we simply talking about an emotional unity there? Are we talking about some kind of practical acceptance of one another? What are we talking about?
Some would even suggest that what it's talking about is that we should only have one church in every city. There's a movement to that effect, that we should all be one so that there should be no denominations, no associations, no difference, just one church in every city. And certainly if not that, there should only be one association of Christians, not many denominations.
Others think that this is some kind of practical unity where...where we just look like we got it together as a group. And that we really need to show that we all get along really well and that we take care of each other very well and we support each other, hold each other up and we have a great internal support system among us.
And, you know, all of those things certainly play a role in life in the church, but I don't think any of those things is really what is on the mind of Jesus. And I'll tell you why? He says "That they all may be one, even as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee." Now there's the analogy. Whatever kind of unity He's praying for it's a kind of unity that exists between the Father and the Son. Now that eliminates some of the more trivial things, doesn't it? As important as it might be for us to have a kind of a good mutual support system, I don't think that's the essence of that analogy. As important as it is for us to sort of join in a united front, and sort of all belong to each other, as important as it is to not let things divide us and all get together on a sort of a...sort of a front basis so that the world sees one image of Christianity, that does have a role to play, none of those things really deals with the statement of Jesus that this oneness is the kind of oneness that exists between Himself and the Father.
He goes on in verse 21, "That they also may be in us, that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me." This oneness has to do with convincing the world that Jesus is God. It has to do with convincing the world that the gospel is true, that Jesus is the Savior, that He can transform lives. Now stay with me cause this is very important. There are a lot of organizations that hang together very well. There are some tribes that hang together very well. There are some cultures that hang together very well. There are some false religions that put on a good face of unity in the world. There are some religious groups and some non-religious groups that do a good job of supporting each other mutually and making sure they meet each other's needs and acting philanthropically toward each other. That's not what it's talking about here. There's something much more profound than that.
And the bottom line is this. There is an essential unity of holiness. There is an essential unity of holiness here. The Father and the Son are one in holy perfection. Take it a step further, one in holy love. There is an affection in the trinity, there is a profound affection. The Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father. There is no question about that. There is a love beyond our capacity to comprehend between the Father and the Son, the Son and the Father and the Spirit as well. There is an immense interchange of affection in the trinity. Verse 23 at the end of the verse, talks about how much Thou didst love Me, Jesus says. Verse 24, end of the verse, "Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world." Verse 26, "The love wherewith Thou didst love Me."
There is a love that exists in the trinity, and the only way I can express it is it's a holy love and it's a love of holiness, it's a love of what is pure and what is holy and what honors the other. The Son wants only to express that holy love by honoring the Father. The Father wants only to express that holy love by honoring the Son.
When Jesus is praying that we may be one, I believe He is praying that we might have a holy love, or we might have a love of a holiness, and where you have people all loving holiness you will have amazing unity...cause if we all are tuned in to holiness, we'll all experience the unity of that holiness. That's the issue. Jesus wants us to confront an unholy world, an ungodly world, a disconnected shattered, broken, ruined world with a vision of holy loving oneness. And you can't set theology aside if you're going to get that because holiness is predicated upon sound doctrine. It is a oneness, it is a separate oneness. It is a oneness apart from the world. He wants people to look at us and say, "Jesus Christ must be a saving God, Jesus Christ must be a Savior, Jesus Christ must have come to deliver from sin because look at the holiness of those people." That's the issue.
So, the sad part is that when unbelievers look at the church, they don't necessarily see unity, and they certainly don't see holy unity. I was reading an article in a magazine when I was away about a woman who has been ordained to be the new pastor of the homosexual church in Los Angeles. That's what the world sees. The world sees, and that's supposed to be an evangelical church, the world sees Christianity as this strange and bizarre mixture of the holy and the unholy of the real and the phony. That's the issue. What Jesus was praying was that the Father would make one people, and He did that and does that through the baptism of the Holy Spirit where we're all baptized into the one body, and that that holy oneness would be made manifest by holy living and holy loving in the church.
The church is never going to get organized into one organization. We're never all going to want to worship God the same way. There's too many cultural variables around the world. But that's really not the issue. There is a much more penetrating and profound issue that transcends all of those kinds of things and that is the issue of purity and righteousness and virtue and godliness and holiness that ties us together. It's a unity and commitment to holiness out of which springs holy love. That's what He's talking about.
I mean, there are so many ways that we are one anyway. According to John 5, we are one in rights, all believers, as we all inherit the same privileges. That's true of the Father and the Son. John 5 Jesus talks about He and the Father having the same authority. He talks about He and the Father having the same purpose. He and the Father having the same power and same honor, that's all in John 5:16 to 23. And He also says in verse 26 of John 5 that He and the Father have the same power to give life. They have the same will, John 5:30; they have the same works, John 5:36; they have the same name or nature, John 5:43; they have the same doctrine, John 7, John 12, John 14; they have the same purpose in saving men and they have the same glory, they share the same glory, we saw that earlier in chapter 17. The Father and the Son share the same essential character or nature and it is a nature of holy unity. They are one in holiness.
If there's anything that defines God, it is that He is separate from sin. He's separate from sin. And that's the most defining reality about Christ, He is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, the writer of Hebrews says. And that's the same kind of oneness that God is desirous of having in His church. That's what Christ is praying for. He's praying that we would be one in mind, yes; one in heart, yes; one in will, one in purpose, one in truth, but ultimately that we may be one in holiness.
Then back to verse 21, "That the world may believe that You sent Me." The convincing argument that there is a Savior who delivers from sin is a holy life. How else is the world going to believe? You say, "Oh yeah, Jesus came and He saved me from my sin." And some folks that see you say, "I don't see it. I look at you, I see sin." We can't really expect the Father...expect, I should say, the world to believe that the Father sent the Son and that all of Jesus' claims are true and that Christianity is true unless there's some holy people to evidence the power of God over sin.
Verse 22, "And the glory which Thou hast given Me, I have given to them that they may be one just as we are one." This is just a rich, rich truth. In order to produce this holiness, in order to produce this holy, loving unity, this unity that comes out of a commitment to righteousness, virtue, purity and holiness, the Lord has given us glory...He says. That's what it says in verse 22, "The glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them."
What is this? What is the glory which God gave to Christ? Simply His own glory, His own glory. Jesus was God in human flesh. And Jesus is saying, "I'm giving them the same glory." Amazing. "Father, You gave Me all Your attributes, all Your character in human flesh, and I'm giving Your attributes to them."
What happens when you're a Christian? God comes to take up residence in your heart. You remember, Jesus showed the glory of God at His transfiguration in Matthew 17, pulled back the flesh and the manifest glory of God was revealed to show that this was indeed God with all the nature of God. And Jesus has committed Himself to us to take up residence in our hearts. In 2 Corinthians Paul says, "We...we have the light of the glory of God shining in the face of Jesus Christ in earthen vessels."
You couldn't live a holy life, you couldn't life a pure life, a virtuous and godly life unless God lived in you. And that's why in verse 23 He puts it this way. "I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in that holy unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me and didst love them even as Thou didst love Me." The only way the world is going to know the transforming love of God in Christ is through our holiness, the greatest detraction to the viability of the gospel is sinning Christianity, people claiming to be Christians who aren't and living a life of iniquity. People who are Christians living iniquitous lives tear down what is endeavoring to be built concerning the viability of the gospel.
So, Jesus is not praying for something that can't happen, He's praying for something that can happen. He's praying for a holy unity that can be reality because He, the incarnate God, in His Spirit takes up residence in us so that verse 22 is true, the glory which Thou hast given Me, I have given to them. You gave Me Your nature, in that sense, incarnate, You gave Me Your Spirit. Jesus even said, "I do what I do by the Spirit of God" and now He's saying, "I gave them that same reality." God manifested Himself in Jesus and Jesus has manifested Himself in us. This is incredible truth. And when there is that loving, holy, pure, righteous character, the world will say, "Jesus must be a Savior."
And then in verse 24 we have the second feature of Jesus' prayer. This praying first for our holiness, our oneness in holiness even as the Father and the Son are one in holiness. But secondly, He prays for our eternal fellowship with Him. And this is this most overwhelming thing. This is how the whole prayer ends. It really is overwhelming. "Father, I desire that they also whom Thou hast given Me be with Me where I am." I mean, there aren't even too many famous people in this world who are interested in having us around, are they? We're not many noble, not many mighty. Nobody in the palaces of the world is calling me. Nobody in the Oval Office ever calls me. Nobody in the Supreme Court wants to run around with me. Nobody is interested in most of us. In fact, I guess in some ways we're sort of the dregs, aren't we? Especially in this culture we live in today. Is it not remarkable that the glorious Son of the living God prays to His Father that He might have us with Him? Is that not a staggering thing, an overwhelming request? He asks for the Father to grant the eternal presence of all of us with Him.\
He's praying, of course, consistently with God's purpose cause that's God's purpose. God chose us before the foundation of the world, wrote our names down, gave us as love gifts to the Son. We've gone through that many times. And as John 6 says, "All that the Father gives to Me shall come to Me and him that comes to Me I won't cast out but I'll receive and I'll guard and I'll raise in the last day." To be with Christ, that's God's plan. God planned that we would eternally be with Christ. That's our prayer. We pray that we might enter in to the glories of eternal joy in the presence of Christ. But it's not just our prayer and the Father's plan, it's the Son's intercessory petition as well.
This is such a humbling thing because we're so unworthy of this. What...why...to think that the Son of God praying that we would be with Him, why? Why does He want us? Well, you might be surprised at this. Back to verse 24, "In order that they may behold My...what?...My glory which Thou hast given Me for Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world." Why does Jesus want us to be with Him? So that we can...what?...see His glory. That's why. And He has every right to desire that. He wants to put His glory on display. You know, the disciples saw Him but His glory was veiled and when for a moment it was unveiled, they almost died on the spot. They really never knew the real Lord of heaven. They only knew the one veiled in flesh. And you and I, we have to fall into the category of "whom having not seen you love," right? We see Christ with the eye of faith and the eye of hope. We lean on Him with trust. But there's going to come a day when He wants to show us what He really is and He wants to put Himself on display fully. And He wants us there for that great display.
You know, we're like Moses. You remember Moses back in Exodus 30:33, he saw God's glory veiled, remember that? Second Corinthians 3 talks about had a veil over his face and he couldn't look fully at the glory of God and had to cover his face and wear this veil. There's going to come a day for us when all the veils are off. He emptied Himself of all that glory and came to earth and was incarnate. But He went back to glory and He's in full glory display right now and He wants us to be there with Him so we can see that. More than that, He wants us to reflect it and that's why in 1 John 3:2 it says we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
You see, the point of bringing us to heaven, and I've said this many times, but the point of bringing us to heaven is not so much for us as it is for Him. He is worthy to have this whole redeemed humanity of believers throughout all the eons of redemptive history, He is worthy to have them all see His glory and praise Him and worship Him and adore Him forever. And that was the whole purpose of God in the beginning, to call out a redeemed humanity who would have as their express purpose the praise and worship of God and the service rendered toward Him. So, Jesus is saying, "God, bring them all to glory, bring them all to glory."
Remember what I told you last time? It's so fascinating to me. He's anticipating the time on the cross and He's going to be going through the sin bearing and the suffering and He's really just saying to the Father, "Hang on to them while I'm gone for a while. And, Lord, bring them to glory, I don't want to lose any of them. Bring them to that place where they'll trade this vile body for a body like unto His body." We will have a body like Jesus Christ, reflecting His glory. To be with Jesus, that's heaven, that's heaven. To gaze at His glory, that's heaven. That's what it is. Nothing more wonderful than that, nothing more profound than that. And that's why He wants us there so we can see His glory, praise Him for it and adore Him for it.
And lastly, the final two verses, verses 25 and 26, talk about the confidence of His prayer...the subjects of His prayer, the requests of His prayer for our holy unity and our personal presence with Him, and then this confidence as He closes. This is a long "amen," by the way. "O righteous Father, although the world has not known Thee, yet I have known Thee and these have known that Thou didst send Me and I have made Thy name known to them and will make it known that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them and I in them."
These two verses just breathe the confidence that the Father will listen, that the Father will hear. He said, "I'm only asking for those who know You. I'm only asking for those who are Yours. I have known You," and that's the basis for asking, "and these have known You," and that's the basis for the petition and the blessing. "I'm praying for them, those who know You, O righteous Father, do what I ask, make them holy, bring them to glory."
Here is a perfect illustration of prayer. He knows the will of God and He prays for it. Prayer is not so much about changing God's mind about things as it is affirming God's will. That's why we pray, "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come...and the next line says...Thy...what?...will be done." I tell you, when we think about the Lord interceding for us, it is a staggering thing. And the Son always prays like the Spirit, according to the will of God and the Father will always answer.
Seven things, I'll sum them up for you, that Christ asked the Father for in this chapter and they all relate to you and me. One is preservation, "Father, keep them." Two is jubilation, verse 12, I think it is, "That they might have My joy fulfilled in them," verse 13 rather. Preservation, "Father keep them; jubilation, "That they might have My joy fulfilled in them." Liberation...liberation, verse 15, "That You would keep them, guard them from the evil one, free them from Satan's power." Sanctification, verse 17, "Sanctify them in Thy truth, in the truth which is the Word." Unification, verse 21, "That they may all be one in holy unity." Association, verse 24, "That they may be with Me where I am forever." And glorification, verse 24, "That they may behold My glory," and the only way we could ever behold His glory would be if we were glorified cause if we were still in any kind of human form, the full sight of His glory would kill us, right? Cause no man could see it and live.
So, Jesus prays for our preservation, jubilation, liberation, sanctification, unification, association and glorification. And then closes by saying, "And Father, do it, do it," knowing full well the Father will.
Well, isn't it a wonderful thing to be the beloved of the Father and the beloved of the Son as well?
Lord, thank You for such a wonderful time tonight. Our hearts are so greatly refreshed by the testimonies which we have heard, so blessed again as we see people coming out of the darkness into the light, so overwhelmed are we at the incredible intercessory work of our blessed Savior. We're so thrilled to be a part of what You're doing in the world. We don't understand all of it. And, Lord, we just thank You so much that You picked us up out of the darkness and You made us Your own. We thank You, Lord Jesus Christ, that You ever lived to make intercession for us that we might be holy and that some day we might be brought to glory. We thank You, Lord, and we know that our thanks should translate into the way we live, a grateful life is an obedient life. Thank You, Lord, for what You're going to do in us as we come to understand more and more Your love for us, in Christ's name. Amen.