The Comfort of Jesus’ Prayers

One of the most important sources of comfort with respect to the intercession of Christ in behalf of the believer is found in Jesus’ great High Priestly Prayer, which itself was a profound prayer of intercession. Remarkably, even we are mentioned in this great prayer of intercession. We read in John 17:1–9:

Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. … For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.

Look again at verse 9: “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.” That’s the crux of the matter. Jesus is praying for all those who belong to God, not for everyone on the planet. The Father has chosen a people for Himself—and the same people belong to Christ as well. None of them is lost except the son of destruction—Judas—who being a son of destruction, was never God’s child to begin with. Those for whom Jesus prays are the people whom God has chosen, and none of them is lost (vv. 10–19). This includes not only the disciples in the Upper Room who witnessed Jesus’ prayer but also those of us who believe in Him today. I said that we are mentioned in Jesus’ prayer, and here we are: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word” (v. 20). We came to believe through the words of the Apostles, and so Jesus prays for us. This is Christ’s prayer. We persevere because we are preserved by our High Priest’s intercession.

If we take great comfort in the intercessory prayer of a friend or of a pastor, how much more comfort can we experience from the full assurance that Jesus is praying for us? We know that Jesus’ prayers never fail. He knows the mind of God perfectly. He knows what to pray for so that we persevere to the end. Moreover, Jesus says the Father will give us whatever we ask for in His name (15:16). If this is so, certainly the Father will not fail to give His own beloved Son what He asks for, and He asks for us to persevere.

—Dr. R.C. Sproul

Via: Ligonier Ministries

The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light triumphant breaks;
When beauty gilds the eastern hills,
And life to beauty breaks.

Not as of old, a little child
To bear, and fight, and die,
But crowned with glory like the sun,
That lights the morning sky.

O, brighter than the rising morn,
When He victorious rose,
And left the lonesome place of death,
Despite the rage of foes;–

O, brighter than that glorious morn,
Shall this fair morning be,
When Christ, our King, in beauty comes,
And we His face shall see.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And earth’s dark night is past;–
O, haste the rising of that morn,
That day that aye shall last.

And let the endless bliss begin,
By weary saints foretold,
When right shall triumph over wrong,
And truth shall be extolled.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light and beauty brings;–
Hail! Christ the Lord; Thy people pray,
“Come quickly, King of kings.”

—John Brownlie
Hymns of the Russian Church

How Should the Books of the Old Testament Be Ordered?

In The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church (esp. 181–234), Roger Beckwith has convincingly demonstrated that the oldest arrangement of the OT is the tripartite division into Law, Prophets, and Writings. This arrangement is reflected in the words of Jesus in Luke 24:44,

“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

This statement indicates that when Jesus thought of the Old Testament, he thought of three groups of books. These three groups of books broadly match the ordering in printed Hebrew Bibles today: Torah (Law), Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). This is the basis of the acronym TaNaK (Torah, Neviim, Ketuvim—a list of the books is here). Ancient evidence for this tripartite division of the OT is also found in the prologue to the apocryphal book Ecclesiasticus, in the text found among the Dead Sea Scrolls known as 4QMMT, and in the Babylonian Talmud’s Baba Bathra 14b.

Another indication that Jesus thought of the OT in these terms is his statement in Matthew 23:34–36 paralleled in Luke 11:49–51. In these texts Jesus speaks of “the blood of all the prophets . . . from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah . . .” This seems to be Jesus’ way of referring to all the martyrs in the OT, from start to finish. The murder of Abel is near the beginning in Genesis 4, and the murder of Zechariah is near the end in 2 Chronicles 24. Jesus’ statement only works, though, if Chronicles is near the end of the OT. In the tripartite division of the OT into Law, Prophets, and Writings, Chronicles is in the last section, the Writings. The order of the OT books used in modern English translations makes it difficult to understand what Jesus was talking about.

Via: Dr. Jim Hamilton

The Idol-Crushing King

Under the reign of King Hezekiah, “the priests went into the inner part of the house of the Lord to cleanse it, and brought out all the debris that they found in the temple of the Lord … and carried it to the Brook Kidron … and they took away all the incense altars and cast them into the Brook Kidron” (2 Chronicles 29:16; 30:14). While these kings are remembered for destroying idols from the land of Israel, none of them could purge the hearts of the people. The righteous kings of Israel may have temporarily purged the land of idols, but King Jesus removes them from our hearts forever. As He made His way to Calvary, Jesus crossed over the Brook Kidron (John 18:1) to symbolize everything He had come to do. He was burnt, crushed, and ground by the wrath of God on the cross.

Jesus is the cure for our idolatry. God the Son took to Himself flesh and blood, so that He might bear the penalty for our idolatry in His own body on the tree. Then He rose bodily from the dead. The Father now commands us to worship a man — even the God-Man, Jesus Christ.

France’s foremost preacher of the nineteenth century, Adolphe Monod, explained the mystery of this truth in a most profound way: “I strive to live in the communion of Jesus Christ — praying to Him, waiting for Him, speaking to Him, hearing Him, and, in a word, constantly bearing witness to Him day and night; all which would be idolatry if He were not God, and God in the highest sense of the word, the highest that the human mind is capable of giving to that sublime name.”

What idols are you harboring in your heart? Are you giving affections and labors to created things? How are we to keep ourselves from idols? The remedy is only to be found in the person and finished work of Christ. He has destroyed the idols of His people, once and for all, by His death on the cross. Our sins have been washed away in His blood. He has “cast them into the depths of the sea,” even as the righteous kings cast the crushed idols into the Brook Kidron. Praise God for His righteous King and His righteous rule in our hearts!

—Nicholas Batzig
Ligonier Ministries