Corporate Prayer and Fasting: Monday, March 11, 2019
Theme: Jesus Loves the Church, so He loves You!
Meditating Scriptural Passage: Ephesians 2: 11-22; John 17:1-21
- What is the Church?
- Generally speaking, Apostle Paul speaks of the Church as “God’s household” (Eph. 2:19), and his Body. The Greek word for Church is Ekklesia, which means “that which is called out for a special purpose; an assembly.”
- When was the Church born?
- The Church was born at the Feast of the Pentecost, about 10 days after Jesus was ascended to heaven. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon his disciples and followers, and the Spirit animated and empowered them to proclaim boldly the Word of God and preach unapologetically about the significance and meaning of Christ in God’s redemptive history and plan for the world (Acts 1:5, 2:1-4). The Holy Spirit gave birth to the Church on that day; He is central in defining the Church’s identity, actions, and life, and his relations to Christ and the world. The Holy Spirit is the Holy Fuel and Engine that sustains the Church and make her go forward.
Among the many ways, Scriptures discuss the relationship between Jesus and the church, the following are the three central roles or functions of Jesus to the Church:
- The Church is God’s loving gift to Jesus Christ, his Beloved Son (Eph. 2:10; 3:12; John 17:1-10).
- Jesus is the Founder of the Church (Matthew 16: 18-19; Eph. 2:19-21; Eph. 1:22; 1 Peter 2:4-5; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Col. 2:6-7)
- Jesus is the Life-Giver of the Church because He died for her and purchased her with his own blood (Luke 22:19-20; Eph. 5:23-32; Col. 2:13-14; 3:3-4)
Jesus, the Church, and its Function in the world
- The objective of the Church: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
- God has chosen the Church for his son, Jesus Christ. God gave Jesus the Church so she could honor Him, spread his name, broadcast his love and compassion, and express his character in the world (Col. 3:12).
Let us now consider John 17:1-10
a)This passage is famously called the “Priestly Prayer” in which Jesus prays fervently and especially for his disciples and not for the world; these disciples, as noted in Acts chapter 1, upon Jesus’ ascension to heaven, would revolutionize the Roman Empire when the First Church was planted. This text is critical as it provides important insights on the relationship between Jesus and His Church, his people who will be instrumental in the creation of the First Christian Church in the Roman Empire.
b) According to 17:2, Jesus gives eternal life to those belong to his Church. And this eternal life is described in three different aspects: as having (1) proper knowledge and understanding of God, (2) the confession of God as the only true God, and (3) Jesus as God’s Anointed or Messiah (v. 3).
c) Since the followers of Jesus are the church, here the Church is identified as those who “believe in Jesus for life.” In Fact, Jesus himself states that “he has taken them out of the world” (ekklesia) (v.6) in order that they might be one people and one body under his leadership, lordship, and authority.
d) The Church is God’s plan and God’s gift to his Son (v. 6). It is composed out of individuals whom God has uprooted from the world, the domain of darkness, and the kingdom of the devil.
e) The Church maintains faithfulness to God’s word (v.6). It abides in Jesus and confesses Hi as God’s Messenger (v.8).
f) The knowledge of God and knowledge of Jesus is an important characteristic and virtue of the Church (v.7), and in the same way, obedience to Jesus’ words and the reception of Jesus for who he said he is and what he claimed that he has done are critical issues (vv. 7-8).
g) Jesus makes a sharp distinction between the church/disciples, which he prays for, and the world, which he does not pray for (v.9).
Conclusion: In his prayer, Jesus assures his disciples that he will keep them (the church) protected against and from the threats and attacks of the Evil one. Will you submit yourself completely to Jesus and let him transform and use you as his ambassador in the world!