Friday, March 20, 2009

John 17 Community Bible Study Devotion

Following is the devotional that I'm giving today at Community Bible Study. We are studying the book of John this year. If you happen to come by my blog I hope you are blessed by the reminder of how much our Lord Jesus loves you.

After I was told by our leadership that yes I could do the devotion the week,{ we are studing John 17}, I began to think and pray what should I share. What came to me was why do I want to share this week? Well, I love John 17! Then I thought why do I love it? As Ned, the leader of our men's core group often reminds us, "We love Jesus because He first loved us".

I have seen Jesus involved in different relationships as we have studied John. Within these relationships I have seen the different descriptions of our Lord. Some of these that stand out in my memory are Jesus the Creator, Jesus the healer, Jesus the Good Shepherd, glimpses of Jesus the King and for me in John 17 I see glimpses of Jesus the glorified uniting one, the bridegroom. I think I love this chapter not only for what it says, but, I love Jesus for allowing us to hear what He said to God the Father on our behalf.

My husband loves to remind me that he loved me before I loved him. That is a true statement. I believe some of my fist feelings of love for Doug were probably because of the fact that he did love me first. I can remember well the moment Doug first asked me out on a date. I was at a High School football game. An out of town game. I was walking with my girlfriends to the concession stand and Doug approached me. I was walking with several other girls and they waited while Doug talked to me. Doug is 4 years older than I so, I really didn't know him as well, as I know his younger siblings. Previous to this meeting Doug had been coming around our house. He'd taken some things to my sister and brother in law on in out of town trip for my Mom He'd come by and visited with my Father, I think he'd cut some weeks or gone duck hunting with him. Back to the football game. Doug asked me if I'd like to go out to dinner with him. I told him I'd need to ask my Father first, then he totally shocked me and said, "I did that before I came up here tonight and your Dad said yes".
We have been married for a little over 32 years now. The beginning our relationship looks a little like that of a Jewish betrothal and marriage. The Father of the bride is a very important part of the Jewish marriage.
Following some online searches I have learned some facts about what a traditional Jewish betrothal and wedding look like. As John 17 reminds me of Jesus the glorified uniting Bridegroom, I thought I'd share some of the parallels found between the wedding ceremony and the actions of Jesus the bridegroom.
The first step in the Jewish marriage, the bridegroom would make a trip from His Fathers house to the Brides house. Just as Jesus our bridegroom left heaven and came to earth. At this point there would be a negotiation for the price the bridegroom had to pay for the bride. This was between the groom and the brides Father. The father set the price. Just as our heavenly Father set the price that was needed to redeem us, that Jesus would give His life to take away my sins. Once this price was paid they would celebrate over a glass of wine and the marriage was a done deal. The bride now belonged to the bridegroom. The celebration consisted of drinking from a glass of wine, and a blessing would be given. Jesus celebrating the passover with the disciples takes the cup of wine. In Luke Jesus says, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood". So as in the marriage the done deal is sealed with the drinking of the wine and the blessing, so is the new covenant as was shared with the disciples. Yet, at this time the groom could not take his new bride with him. He would go away for 12 months. At this time he would go back to his fathers house and prepare a place to bring his new bride home to. During this time the bride would also prepare herself to be the wife to her husband.
This next step I want to quote from my online source because I just can't do it justice myself. I'm quoting Dr. Showers, from an articles called "Jewish Marriage Customs"
"At the end of the period of separation the groom would come to take his bride to live with him. The taking of the bride usually took place at night. The groom, best man and other male escorts would leave the grooms father's house and conduct a torch light precession to the home of the bride. although the bride was expecting her groom to come for her, she did not know the exact time of his coming. As a result the groom's arrival would be preceded by a shout. This shout would forewarn the bride to be prepared for the coming of the groom. After the groom received his bride together with her female attendants, the enlarged wedding party would return from the bride's home to the groom's father's house. Upon arrival there the wedding party would find that the wedding guests had assembled already."

In John 17 Jesus says to the Father that he wishes we could be with him. Someday that will be reality as Jesus our bridegroom comes to take us back to His Father's home.

I love the truths in John 17. One of my favorite simple truths is this found in vs 17 "Your Word is Truth" This statement is why I'm so passionate about supporting young families to take time to study God's Word. This why I'm praying for a children's program in Florence. This is why I know I must study God's word so that I know truth and am not confused by my own ideas or those that the world is teaching.

At this point in my devotional I' going to read John 17 and I encourage you to also read this wonderful chapter from the Word of God.


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Oregon, United States
I love to take care of my husband and home. Study the Bible. Support young women in their roles as student of the Bible, wife and mother.