Advent – Jesus is Your Priest
Advent – Jesus is Your Priest
Two thousand years before you were even born, Jesus was praying for you. That’s what a priest does. He represents you before God, and intercedes on your behalf. Here’s what Jesus prayed for you:
I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they are yours. Everything I have is yours, and everything you have is mine, and I am glorified in them. I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by your name that you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. (John 17:9-11)
In his priestly prayer for you, Jesus demonstrated how much he cares about you, in so many different areas of your life:
Jesus cares about your relationships.
He prayed “that they may be one as we are one” and connects it with the idea of being not of this world. When Hawaii kids go to the mainland for college, the first thing they do is look for the Hawaii club on campus. They want to find the kids who listen to Jawaiian music and put furikake on their popcorn. They have an instant connection with people who share their background, culture, and interests. Jesus prays the same for Christians. We’re citizens of heaven, just passing through this world for a while. So we should have tight relationships with other people like us.
Jesus cares about your happiness.
He prayed, “Now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy completed in them” (John 17:13). Jesus wants you to be happy! He wants you to have joy. But look at the way he’s going to give you this joy. He doesn’t say, “I’ll make your life easier so you’ll have joy.” He doesn’t say, “I’ll give you a new house, or a new car, or a new job so you’ll have joy.” He says, “I speak these things” so you’ll have joy.
What are these things? Things like, “This is eternal life, that they know you” (verse 3). “You gave me a people out of the world” (verse 6). “I am praying for them” (verse 9). “All mine are yours and yours are mine” (verse 10). “I kept them in your name” (verse 12). All of these past and present actions of Jesus should give us extreme joy.
Jesus cares about your holiness.
He prayed, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:16-17). Sanctify is a theological words that’s actually pretty simple: it just means to become holy. But here’s the thing: when most people think about being holy, they assume it means following all those commandments God gave to ruin our fun. Avoiding all the sins that we really want to do. In reality, the true definition of “holy” is to be set apart for a specific purpose. To be distinct. Part of that is resisting temptation and sin. But it’s a lot bigger. It means having a bigger perspective that allows you to transcend the little manini things that most people in the world get caught up in.
When things are going bad at work, and everyone around you is worried about the company going under and losing their jobs? Being holy means believing that God is in charge, and he’s set you apart for something that’s a lot bigger than a job. When you’re pulling your hair out at home because your kid just pooped in his diaper, and then smeared it all over the wall, and people are coming over in 5 minutes? Being holy means trusting that God has a really wacky sense of humor, and someday after he’s done refining you, he’ll let you in on the joke. When all your friends are getting married, and you’re starting to think you’re going to have to lower your standards if you don’t want to end up alone the rest of your life? Being holy means relying on God to supply everything you need at all times, including your need to connect deeply with another person.
Jesus cares about your neighbors.
He prayed, “As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. I sanctify myself for them, so that they also may be sanctified by the truth. “I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me” (John 17:18-21). That the world may believe! That’s the end goal for everything else that Jesus has been praying. He cares about your relationships, he cares about your happiness, he cares about your holiness, because when the world sees the way God transforms all these things, then the world takes notice!
Jesus wants to be priest in your life, so that he can become priest to everyone else in your life as well.