Day Five: The Mission of Being Loved

John 17:24-26 NIV
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

“By the end of [John] chapter 17 we know that this love of God for the world comprises the whole movement of God’s love that begins in the mutual loving communion of the Father and the Son, entails the Son’s mission to include humans in that divine love, creates the loving community of disciples of Jesus, and thereby reaches the world. Disciples are not explicitly told to love the world, but they are caught up in that movement of God’s love that has nothing less than the world as its goal.” [Gospel of Glory by Richard Bauckham, p. 41]

The community of God’s people is formed in the unity and mission of the Triune God. Jesus makes it clear that the Father desires to pour his love into the church in such a way that the world will recognize the divine presence in the church.

Today, let’s pray, “Lord, pour your love over your church today. May your love also pour into my life so that others may see you at work in me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Today, let’s worship the Lord by singing “This Is How We Know” by Matt Redman (click here).

– NB


Day Four: Precious Promise of Fellowship

Let’s read aloud the following passages and prayer together.

1 John 1:1-7 NIV
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your precious promises that lead us into fellowship with Jesus! We declare that you are the true light in our lives. Lead us to walk in your light, to enjoy true fellowship as your people. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today, let’s worship the Lord by singing “This Is Our God” by Hillsong (click here).

– NB


Day Three: We are One, not Two

John 17:22-23 NIV
22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 

Remarkably, Jesus prays that the church would be “completely one” (NRSV) or brought to “complete unity” (NIV). In contrast to any worldly image of unity, Jesus’ prayer speaks of a deeper “oneness” that is rooted within the Trinitarian relations of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are to be “one” just as the Father and Son are “one” (v. 22). Jesus prays that we would be “completely one” – as fellow participants within the people of God, in relationship with the Father and the Son.

The math is simple: if the way we approach one another is based on any other reality than “being-in-the-Lord” (e.g., socio-economic, demographic, ethnic, racial, academic, professional), we become “two” rather than “one”! We are called to be “one” in Jesus as God’s church, and we are called to be examples of God’s unconditional love to the world around us.

Today, let’s pray, “Lord, bring me into the unity of your love today. May I see others in light of the love that has been poured out from the Father through the Son into your church. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Today, let’s worship the Lord by singing “Old for New” by Bethel Music (click here).

– NB


Day Two: Koinonia

1 Corinthians 10:16 NIV
16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?

2 Peter 1:3-4 NIV

4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

“Koinonia” (in Greek – κοινωνία) is often translated as “fellowship” or “participation” and describes the supernatural “relationship” we now share in Christ Jesus, through the love of God, in the working of the Spirit. “In God we relate” is not a simple slogan, or a catchphrase—it is a change of reality from natural relationship, to a supernatural identity change. As one commentator puts it: “This fellowship with Christ comes about through the creative intervention of God. It happens through the transformation of human beings to the very roots of their being. It is birth into a new existence and can be expressed by the contrast of life and death” (“Koinonia,” New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis).

What an amazing blessing that we have been invited into participation in the body of Christ! Let’s pray, “Lord, lead me into true fellowship in you today. Lead me into true fellowship in the body of Christ where you have called me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Today, let’s worship the Lord by singing “This I Believe” by Hillsong (click here).

– NB


Day One: New Perspective

2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

John 17:20-21a NIV
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. 

Rublev’s painting of the Trinity

The overall perspective of the painting is distorted, so that the three figures are prominent and not in the expected scale from the observer’s point of view. Instead, the observer is immediately drawn into the scene. We as God’s church are drawn into the life of the Trinity; we are not simply observers imposing our perspective. Instead, we are drawn into relationship and participation through the Father’s will (represented by the figure on the left), according to the life, death and resurrection of the Son (represented by the central figure), in the power of the Spirit (represented by the figure on the right).

Today, may the Spirit awaken our desire to “be in” the Lord, as Jesus prayed for us in John 17:21. Let’s pray, “Father, lead me into your presence today, that my life would be lived in the Lord at each step. In Jesus’ name. Amen.“

Let’s close by singing, “The Awesome God You Are” by Matt Redman (click here).

– NB