Several commented after the sermon this past Sunday night that you appreciated the message and that it really helped and encouraged you. I appreciate that very much. As we spoke from John 17, and the “other” Lord’s Prayer, it gives us great assurance to see how Jesus not only cares for all His followers, including us, but that He also prayed for us as well.
It also gives us great encouragement that Jesus prayed for Himself and what was about to happen. As our Lord looked ahead to His own death He asked the Father to glorify the Son by completing this work Jesus came to earth to do and then bringing Him back into the presence of the Father once again.
It seems that Jesus did a lot of praying the night before His death. He prayed this amazing prayer with His disciples in the upper room, then went with them to the Mount of Olives and the garden of Gethsemane and prayed some more. It is of course highly likely that we have only a portion of the prayers that Jesus lifted up to His Father on this fateful night.
Have you ever thought about the significance of the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, prayed? As I said Sunday evening, I think the most critical Scriptures that call us to pray are the ones that show that the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, Jesus the Son of God, prayed.
This week in our study through some of the conversion stories of the book of Acts we focus on the “rank and file” members of the new church, and not as much on the Apostles and other leaders. When Saul of Tarsus comes on the scene, and takes part in approving the lynch mob that stoned Stephen to death, he becomes the point man for the Jews and their persecution of the Christians. This of course begins in Jerusalem, because that’s where everyone is still. Scripture tells us that the apostles are able somehow to remain in Jerusalem, but that everyone else is scattered throughout the surrounding regions of Judea and Samaria.
So what happens now? “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” (Acts 8:4) Remember these are the people, the individual Christians, and not the apostles. They take the message of the gospel with them everywhere they go. How about us? Do we? Do you?