Heads of Christ and St John, by Sebastiano Ricci, 1725-30.
524 people in our community are currently praying with you.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer to Endure the World
Dear Jesus, look down on me this morning with sympathy, for I feel much afflicted. I have a headache and my back hurts. I did not sleep well and I did not sleep long enough. I am worried about my health, I am worried about my money, I am worried about my family. My home needs repairs. People do not give me the respect I deserve. Nobody listens to me.
There is a certain person who is driving me crazy! I don't have as much energy as I used to and I'm not sure I have enough to get everything done today that I want to do, or even, that I need to do.
The crazy and even destructive things people say in the media and the political mess in my locality and my nation make me despair. How can people be so stupid? They just seem to get worse and worse. The country is run by morons; how can people fail to elect people with some minimum of competence and honesty? Even in the churches, people cannot see or understand the most basic things about you, and the hypocrisy of so many Christians makes me half-ashamed to call myself one sometimes.
And then, Lord Christ, I realize. The world is not perfectible. There is only one place free from pain, worry, frustration, and all of the nonsense and damage that the human mind can create, and that is in your bosom. Hold me tight, Lord Jesus; give me the strength to endure the pain, give me the certainty of hope to avoid the anxiety, give me the blessed knowledge of Your coming again that I might not be stressed out about the things of this world; for they shall pass away soon enough.
And in the meantime, let me grow in you, that I might see my own wrongdoing and with the help of your Spirit, simply dissolve it away. It is in this world that Satan can find his prey, the fertile soil for evil. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, great Lord. Help me to prepare myself, I pray, in the name of Your love,
Mason Barge 11/8/2014
Prayer for True Thought
Heavenly Father, who has given us the gift of your law, so that we might know our sin, and your Son, that we might be forgiven where we fall short: Give me the grace to remember your holy Word, when my surroundings tempt me to confusion and weakness, that I might more nearly approach true obedience to your will. Help me to resist the arguments of the ungodly; let me not be deceived by false beauty; and so guide me, that the clever words of men will never replace the truth which you have put into my heart. Through Christ I pray,
[What a blessing it is to know my sin.]
God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and Spirit of God amidst us, direct our way unto you. Make us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”
This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
Notes on the Scripture
he beloved disciple mentioned here, and three times previously in the Gospel of John, is now identified as John himself. There have been innumerable scholars who have tried to prove that John was not the beloved disciple, or did not write any of the works attributed to him, or that John the Apostle was different from John the Evangelist; but scholars, like journalists, have to come up with controversial ideas constantly, in order to get published. Professors at secular universities don’t sell books or get tenure by agreeing with their predecessors, even if their predecessors wrote the truth!
There really are a number of external reasons to believe that this Gospel was written by John himself, and certainly the Bible indicates it. The Gospel itself states that John the Apostle wrote the Gospel of John, and who are we to doubt the Gospel?
Thus, when Jesus hints that John might live forever, it is not idle chatter. He is referring to the Gospel we have now read, from start to finish. John “lives,” and will remain until Christ comes again, through his writings. Jesus gave Peter the role of establishing the church, but he essentially gives John the mission of writing down an account of his life and teachings. And John's writings will endure until Christ comes again.
The inference is strong that, when Christ pointedly tells Peter, “You follow me,” He means to indicate that Peter will follow Him to the cross, while John will not. Peter and John are the two most notable Apostles, but God gives them very different missions. Peter will lead by example and die, crucified in Rome. John will be the only apostle to die of old age; he lived quite a long time — to (roughly) 94— wrote a much-needed fourth gospel, and provided first-hand testimony and leadership to the great church at Ephesus. The Romans banished him to the island of Patmos, where he lived for perhaps a decade before he died.
As his conclusion, John makes sure not to invalidate other accounts of the life of Jesus, i.e. the other gospels. We are not certain which, if any, of them were in their final form at the time the Gospel of John was written. Probably Mark was in the form we read today, and possibly Matthew and Luke. But without any doubt, the substance of all three were already written down and in circulation among the fledgling churches.
John also tells us, finally, his gospel merely scratches the surface of Christ's actions and teachings, which makes sense. Christ's mission lasted about three years, during which he almost certainly taught every day. We know many incidents and teachings that are not in the Gospel of John, because others wrote about them.
And we will end our study of this gospel just as John ended it: with the word, “Amen.”