During this time of lockdown we have more opportunity to spend time alone with God praying, than we usually have.
The church has been asked to enter a specific time of prayer between Ascension Day (last Thursday) and the day of Pentecost when we pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon ourselves and our churches along with prayer for five individuals who we would like to come to faith in Jesus. There are many resources to help us on the www.churchofengland.org website under the prayer, “Thy Kingdom Come.”
When Jesus prayed for his friends shortly before his crucifixion he looked beyond the cross and the resurrection to the time when having ascended into heaven he would take up his rightful authority and enjoy, the glory he had in his Father’s presence before the world existed. He doesn’t focus on the suffering to come but on the glory and the eternal life he will give to those who come into a relationship with him and the Father.
It is because Jesus ascended into heaven and sent his Holy Spirit that we are able to come into a relationship with him. When we trust him and ask for his forgiveness, we become friends with him and we also come into a relationship with the Father and the Spirit because they are one God. Through doing this, we receive his eternal life as a gift.
Unlike Jesus’ disciples on earth, we haven’t listened to his earthly voice speaking. We can still come to know him more fully however, through spending time with him as we worship, pray and read his word.
Jesus’ work would lead not just to glory for Jesus but glory for each one of us
The glory of Eternal life is not about length of life but quality. To have eternal life is to have the life of God
When we receive it now as a gift, as a result of Jesus dying for us, we receive here and now, today, something of the splendour, majesty, joy, peace and holiness which is characteristic of the life of God
Jesus says “this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ”
Knowing Jesus is more than just knowing about him though that is important, it is also about having an intimate relationship with him
It is used of sexual union in the Bible, when two people became one
Jesus wants us to have the same sort of relationship with him and the Father as he shows that he has with the Father in this prayer; a relationship of love and absolute openness and honesty in which we are joined in one heart, mind and soul.
Peter shares ways we can sustain our closeness to God during times of suffering such as we are going through as a result of the virus. We are to rejoice because we are sharing Christ’s sufferings so that we may also shout for joy when his glory is revealed and we see him face to face.
We are to come to him in humility, submitting ourselves to his might, casting all our care upon him because he cares for us.
We are to discipline ourselves. This is often difficult when we are in isolation and haven’t got a timetable to keep, but unless we deliberately make time to worship and pray, it will not happen.
Finally, we keep our faith strong, even when we cannot see our way through because our brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kinds of suffering.
Peter ends his letter by reminding us that present day sufferings will come to an end. We, like Jesus are called to be with our heavenly Father in his eternal glory. Because Jesus has ascended, we will too. Peter writes, “The God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.”
Enjoy spending time with God this week as he restores, supports, strengthens, and establishes you.”
Prayer: Risen, ascended Lord,
as we rejoice at your triumph,
fill your Church on earth with power and compassion,
that all who are estranged by sin
may find forgiveness and know your peace,
to the glory of God the Father.