This WORKTALKweekly is in two parts for this week and next week. We are well aware, however, that in today’s culture no one wants to wait a week for part two so they are being broadcast together. The same two parts will be broadcast next week. Enjoy!
Picture a business lunch. How often will someone order and you, or the next person, will say ‘I’ll have what she’s having’ or ‘I want what he wants’. It’s a little psychological mirroring that occurs regularly and, strangely, it’s quite enjoyable. This can, very subtly, draw you together, make the deal go easier, provoke the ‘how to you like the food?’ question. You can both appreciate the same things and both complain about similar shortcomings.
Of course, if you love someone, the ‘I want what she wants’ behavior can be both intentional and pleasurable.
In any team, if the hunger, vision, goals or desires are shared, then you work in the spirit of cooperation, shared values and greater achievement. Creative tension is creative but joint achievement is just more fun. Observe a sports team, a music group, a house building team, a consulting team, a teaching staff, a creative department, or a church team work in a perfect harmony to achieve their goals and you will see great pleasure.
We have reached look seventeen at the intriguing and unique gospel of John. We are continually arguing that John has a feminine touch to it because of the almost certain role that Mary, the mother of Jesus, would have played in its writing. At the cross, Jesus gave Mary and John to each other and I doubt they spent the years after his death just discussing the Israeli weather!
We are also looking through the window of Jesus’ first words in the gospel ‘what do you want?’ (Look at the WORKTALKweekly Archive for the other 16 -see www.worktalk.gs/archive). We have arrived at a chapter which is entirely a prayer. Outside of the Psalms I can’t think of another chapter in the Bible which is entirely a prayer, although I may be wrong, but even if there is, it would not be of this quality.
You can read it for yourself (see Bible Section www.worktalk.gs/solutions/weekly/biblesections) and you don’t need me to tell you its great themes of glory, unity and rescue. You can see the description of the struggle, hatred and opposition. You can observe the intimacy between Father and Son and the constant flowing of love which bathes every word.
Stand back a little bit. What can you see? Jesus is laying out what he wants. He wants glory, he wants his present team to make it, he wants millions and millions of others, as yet unborn, to make it. He wants people to know him, know the Father, know it all, experience it all, be rescued, protected and arrive at the right destination.
With almost overwhelming passion, the Son is revealing his own heart – he wants this with every fiber of his aching body. Driven by desire he spills out word after word, describing his deepest, profound – I want. This is not a recent or a temporary longing, here is the heart of infinity. Here is the underlying force of the universe, this is what constitutes the divine desire.
As his expression reaches its peak, he spells out exactly what he wants. I want them to be where I am, to see my glory. There it is – I want them to be, I want them to see.
Why? Why is this so important? What purpose do all these gigantic words serve? Why eternal life, why glory, why unity, why millions, why does he want this so much, why does he so want all these to happen?
At the end of his prayer he tells us that this is an order that the Father’s love for the Son will be in them and he himself will be in them. Now dare to ask one more question and the whole prayer will explode. Why does he want us to have love in us and why does he want himself in our souls?
What drives even that? What do you think?
The version of the prayer I am reading has 608 words in it and 26 verses. Halfway through, at verse 13, the 309th word is the button to press for the explosion to occur. The word is not glory, unity or even love. Right at the heart of this prayer is the word ‘joy’. It’s not any joy, it’s his joy, and it’s not a little bit he wants, it’s the full measure, and it’s not floating around, he wants it in us. Now this is shocking.
How often have you read writers who explain that joy is not happiness, it’s not emotion, it’s not about feeling pleasant, sooner or later, the joy you are reading about has been turned into misery! Joy is not sorrow, it is not misery, it is not sadness. Jesus was a man of sorrows but he did not want us to be hallmarked by sorrow. He wants his joy in full measure in you – that’s what this whole thing is about.
Right at the heart of his prayer – a prayer which sets out his heart, declares his manifesto, reveals his soul, he lets you see his deepest desire – that you and I can have his joy in us – full measure.
Can we dare to believe that God’s entire motivation is that we actually became people of joy, satisfaction, pleasure – even fun? This joy is so deep and so full that even when life is tough, it’s still there. Even when we are in pain, it’s still there. Even when we can’t understand it, it’s still there.
This joy is so expensive, it is about to cost him his life. It is so all-consuming that when it’s set before him, he will endure the cross and its shame. It is so compelling that he will travel to the midpoint of history and contract himself to human size to bring it to us. It is so amazing that everything he is doing is to let us have his joy in us. He enjoys his joy so completely that he wants you to have what he’s got. He wants you to know what he knows and he will stop at nothing, not even death on a cross to get it to you.
I don’t often express my personal feelings as I write, but my heart is burning within me as I write this. Jesus will put himself through convulsion, contortions, crucifixion to get me this joy. The Father will release, relinquish and avert his eyes to get me this joy. The Spirit will blow through centuries to bring this joy into my spirit.
It’s just how we are supposed to be. It’s just better, more pleasurable and profound and satisfying to be like this and, dare we say it, it’s more fun.
Suddenly you see God, Father, Son and Spirit sitting around the table, at a meal, ordering. The Father orders joy. The Son orders joy. The Spirit orders joy. The meal is paid for. The meal is prepared. The meal will be served. It’s your turn to order. I know what I will say.
I want what he wants!
1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 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—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
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.”
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