I got a new book recently. Two of them, to be exact. I’m trying to decide how to attack them. Do I study for myself, use for our small group, or men’s bible study? But that’s not the only quandary. Where do I start? The target study is the Lord’s Prayer. No, not the one we always think of, that Jesus gave His disciples to pray. The real Lord’s Prayer, from John 17, where Jesus actually prays, opening up His heart to His Father.
I can’t just jump in at 17:1. That doesn’t seem right. I need to think about the background. So go back to the end of John 16. Jesus says we will have suffering in this world. But don’t worry, be courageous – He has conquered the world! But even then I may need more background.
How about John 16, where Jesus teaches us of the coming of the Comforter, or Holy Spirit. What a great help to our life! Or maybe go back to John 15, and how we grow in Christ, how we have been included on His vine, and are kept in His love. And, of course, Jesus tells again to expect persecution.
That’s all good background, but I think I need to look first at John 14. Start in verse 1, 2 and 3, where Jesus tells to not to be afraid, and gives us a very good reason. Then he picks it up again in verse 27 and on. Jesus tells us unequivocally “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I don’t give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.” I like what Spurgeon says on this verse:
“Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.” Christian joy does not come from what we have, nor does sorrow come from what we lack. Our happiness does not come from the world, and neither does our depression—that is, if we live near to God. So it is not trouble that troubles saints; it is something far worse than that. I am afraid there are many Christians in great trouble who are so proud that they will not admit God has a right to deal with them as he is dealing. They think there ought to be some more lenient dispensations of kinder providence for them. They imagine themselves to be the kind of persons on whom the sun should always shine and whose path should be always smooth. And if it is not so, they think that God is dealing harshly with them—that he is not kind to them—and they doubt his love. We may tell them that the martyrs suffered far more than they do. We may point them to many of their fellow Christians who are in much worse circumstances than they are, but that will not reconcile them to their own trials. The fact is, there is a self-love about them that has exaggerated itself beyond all due proportions into a sinful self-esteem. And this proud, egotistical idea of what they ought to have and ought to be rebels against the sovereignty of God and refuses to submit to the will of the Most High. Our sorrows usually spring out of ourselves, and when self is conquered, sorrow is, to a great extent, banished from the human heart. We must get rid of this rebellion against the Most High, or else our hearts will continue to be troubled.CSB Spurgeon Study Bible, Holman Bible Publishers
In the light of that peace, I will have a much better view of Jesus’ prayer for Himself, for His disciples, and for all believers. Did I say I was excited?