A short devotion for 24th May

Call to worship

“But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” John 12:32 Let us draw near to God and worship Him.

Prayers of Praise and Confession

God of majesty and might, your glory shines throughout the universe: from the highest heaven to the deepest sea; in all the creatures you have made; in the seasons that shape our living. Your glory shines through who you are and through what you do. The power of your glory touches your creation and exalts it. To you we offer our praise; before you we come in adoration

  • When our actions do not love and we think of just ourselves.
  • When our words bring hurt to others.
  • When the way we live is selfish and we find no time for you.
  • When we do not reveal your love – your name is not glorified.

Forgive us, God of Glory. Forgive and renew us, and let your glory be seen in our lives. Amen

Bible Reading

John 17:1-11

Message: When Jesus went home

Bible Reading

  • John 17:1-11
  • Acts 1:6-14

Text

“While He blessed them, He was parted from them.” Luke 24:51

Introduction

In the opening word of John 17 one can feel an air of excitement; Jesus was getting ready to go home. It was over, His work on earth was done; He had finished the task given by His Father. The cross was behind Him, He was handing over the work to His disciples, but He was not going to leave them alone to do the job, which was to go into the entire world and preach the Gospel. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). He was going to send a Helper, Comforter in the Person of the HOLY SPIRIT.

Many will have heard the story of the little boy who remarked to his grandfather how full of white blossom the apple tree was, “Yes,” said the grandfather, “If the tree keeps its promise there will be plenty of apples.” “What do you mean?” asked the little boy. The grandfather explained that the blossoms were the trees promise to give apples.

In my seafaring days I used to go on leave from a ship, or in later years, when the I turned to we, as we left the Mission field to go home, there was always excitement. However, before we left there had to be someone there to take over the work, not just anybody, but experienced hands, those we could trust to carry on the work, to be a helper and a comfort.

Before Jesus left His disciples He made a promise and what’s more He kept it.
The promise was made just before He ascended into Heaven.

Just think of the sorrow in the hearts of His disciples (both men and women who were there that day) as Jesus was being taken up from them into Heaven.
“I will not leave you as orphans.” John 14:18

“When the counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, He will testify about Me.” John 15:26. The Holy Spirit would be an Intercessor, Strengthener, Comforter, and a Helper. The account of the Ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven is found in two places – Luke 24:51 and Acts 1:1-4. He himself spoke of it when he was on earth (John 6:62) and referred at other times to the fact that he would be returning to his Father (John 14:1-4.) Christ is now seated at God’s right hand, work completed.

There is one promise yet to be fulfilled. It was the one that the angels told the disciples as they looked up in Acts 1:11, “men of Galilee”, they said, “why of you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into Heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into Heaven. Note the positive tone, WILL.

Jesus had a reason for sending the Holy Spirit

The reason was so that the disciples would receive POWER.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

To receive the POWER OF GOD means to receive His Might, Efficiency and Ability. The God who brought the world into being, by the word of His mouth, who gave life to us, the Power that gave man the ability to design ships that float on the high seas and aircraft to fly across the vast sky, that enables birds to fly and causes plants to grow.

Jesus said to his disciples in John 16:7, “But I tell you the truth; it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor (Comforter, Helper, Advocate, and Intercessor) will not come to you; but I will send Him to you.” The word good here can be translated EXPEDIENT which means to dove-tail, to fit in exactly with what has gone before and what will come after just like the feathers of a dove’s tail fit into one another that I watched one night on TV as a bird made and fitted a feather like piece onto its tail.

Why send the Holy Spirit into the world to be with us?

Each of us is called to be a witness for Jesus. No work can be done for God unless the Holy Spirit is doing it. We need His filling, for we must always be the tool and should never accept praise for what the Holy Spirit has done through us.

Before we can be a witness we must know Him, we must belong to him, we must be born into His family, that our sins are forgiven, having repented of our sins. There is a story told by the late Charles Hadden Spurgeon, “A certain duke once boarded an old time galley ship. As he passed through the crew of slaves, he asked several of them what they had committed. Almost every man claimed that he was innocent. They laid the blame on somebody else. One young man spoke out however and said, “Sir, I deserve to be here, I stole some money. No one is at fault but myself, I’m guilty.” Upon hearing this, the duke seized him by the shoulder and shouted; “You scoundrel! What are you doing here amongst all these honest men? Get out of their company at once.” He was set at liberty while the rest were left in slavery at their oars.

The boy was set free because he confessed his guilt. We can be set free to be a witness if we confess our sins.

Prayers of Intercession

We bring before God our concerns for the world; where there is war we pray for peace; where there is sickness we pray for health; where there is despair we pray for hope.

We pray that you would be active in health care: in the work of doctors, nurses, dentists, psychiatrist, psychologists, administrators, pharmacists and researchers.
We hold in your love those whom we love: those who are sick; those who are sorrowful; those who need guidance and direction.

Hear us, heal us and shine through our lives. Amen

Blessing

Christ our ascended King pour upon you the abundance of His gifts and bring you to reign with Him in glory: and the blessing of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen