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John 17:1-11 – Shown how to pray

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

This is the Gospel reading that is the selection for the Seventh Sunday of Easter. It is next scheduled to be read aloud in churches that will be empty because of pandemic fears on Sunday, May 24, 2020. This is the Sunday known as Ascension Sunday. Many churches recognize the Ascension as being on Thursday (May 20, 2020 this year) because they calculate Thursday is forty days from Easter Sunday (including Easter, I guess, meaning Jesus rose on the Sabbath [Saturday]). It is such flawed reasoning that gives Christianity a bad name (“Liars” being one), which goes hand-in-hand with their thoughts that generated the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, because Thursday has nothing to do with Acts 1. To understand the Ascension, one first needs to understand the Counting of the Omer, which is a God-commanded ritual count (found in Leviticus 23:15–16, and Deuteronomy 16:9-12). That count is for seven weeks (49 days), with the Fiftieth (“Pentecoste”) day beginning the Festival of Weeks, known as Shavuot. This explains to Christians why the Easter season is seven Sundays long.

Now, it is very plain in the Holy Bible that a.) Jesus was taken down from the cross and prepared for burial in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea on Friday; and, b.) Jesus was discovered not in that tomb on Sunday (the first day of the week), very early on that day. What is not clear at all to Christians is the Counting of the Omer.

Passover is an eight-day event (still in today some places, but it certainly was back in Jesus’ day). That Passover began on 15 Nisan, a Friday evening that officially became a Sabbath [God’s day] and ended on a Sabbath [God’s day], eight days later. The counting of forty-nine days (seven weeks) always begins on 16 Nisan, which is the first full day of the eight-day festival. That week, because the festival began on a Friday at 6:00 PM, the sixteenth was a Sabbath (yom shabbat). The day Jesus was discovered not in the tomb was a week later, when that evening it was the eighth day of the count.

While Jesus did spend forty days preparing his disciples, the forty-day count did not begin on Easter Sunday, but Easter Monday. Forty days later – Guess what? – the forty-ninth day was another Sabbath; and Acts 1:12 confirms that by stating, “Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.” If one has one iota of faith, perhaps one can realize that God is the one setting the timing here. God knew (as did Jesus) that a Passover begun and ended on God’s day would be when His Son would be sacrificed. Jesus’ final Passover Seder [his second that Passover] was on a Sunday (officially) that began at 6:00 PM on the Sabbath [the Jews have two Seder meals during each Passover, the first two nights]. Jesus was arrested early on a Sunday morning. Jesus was raised from death on a Sabbath, another God’s day. Jesus was discovered out of the tomb early on a Sunday morning. Seven weeks after the Counting of the Omer began on 16 Nisan, it was again a Sabbath, meaning Jesus Ascended on a Sabbath that was God’s day. PLEASE GIVE GOD CREDIT for everything about His Son being planned from the beginning of time and not something that hap hazardously happened, requiring a Roman church to figure out myths for its followers to believe. Now that the matter of when Jesus disappeared from the sight of his disciples, we can realize he did not “ascend.” Acts 1:11 tells how two men dressed in white said, “Why do 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.” That says, “Jesus did not go up in the air. Jesus disappeared from your view and just like he disappeared from your view, he will return so you will see as him.”

It is the translation from the Greek that mislead (us reading English) us that “epērthē” (translated as “he was taken up”) means Jesus floated up into the sky. It is our concept of “a cloud” (the Greek word “nephelē”) that makes us picture in our mind’s eye a fluffy cloud in the sky. However, it is the reason angels came to talk that we realize it did not happen that way: There was no “Ascension.”

Peter, as one who Jesus taught for forty days, leading him (with the others) to pray constantly, heavily implies his words of encouragement to other Apostles to know their sufferings are known by God and Christ. In this way, all Epistles by the Saints are written prayers shared with those who were “joined together” in one mindset, a Mind that demands prayer. Then, John’s seventeenth chapter is all about the prayers of Jesus, prior to his arrest. The context of John 17 needs to be understood. John 14 ended with Jesus telling his disciples, “Let’s leave from here,” which was an indication to the men to leave the upper room, allowing the women and young children to remain and discuss the Torah together, while drinking wine. John 15 and John 16 tell of Jesus preaching to his disciples, preparing them for a future they knew nothing about. Only John wrote about that teaching, as the disciples were still drinking wine and none were hanging onto the words Jesus spoke [saying John was not an adult or an official disciple]. John 18, which tells of Jesus’ arrest at Gethsemane, begins with John stating, “When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.” (John 18:1)  Thus, John 17 is about Jesus praying somewhere just outside the Essene Gate, near the place of the upper room.

In that, John wrote the word “eparas,” which is rooted in “epairó,” the same root word written in Acts 1:9, as “epērthē.” Certainly, one can see how the physical definition imagery of “lifting up” and “looking up” pales in comparison to one such as Jesus, the Son of God, thinking he needed to look anywhere other than within to “talk” (from the Greek “eipen”) with the “Father” (the next word of the text written). This is then John stating that Jesus prayed in a spiritual way, not in some demonstrative way designed to draw attention.

After all, Jesus said of the Pharisee who “stood by himself and prayed” loud praises to God for all he had reaped for being a Pharisee, the Pharisee was not closer to God than the tax collector who “stood by himself and prayed,” beating his breast and repenting. In that set of verses (Luke 18:9-14) Jesus said, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

In that guiding statement, the words “hypsōn” and “hypsōthēsetai” are written, pulling from the same root “hupsoó,” meaning “to lift or raise up, to exalt, uplift.” Thus praying demands the humbling position that does not “look up,” but bows a head in submission and “exalts oneself by being humble.”

When we read in Luke 11:2-4 (a short version of the Lord’s Prayer), this was after Jesus had sent out seventy-two in ministry and they had returned. After one of those disciples witnessed Jesus praying, the disciple said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Because this it told by Jesus on two occasions, it points out how such a basic element of faith is not taught, so the typical followers of Judaism had never been taught in their synagogues how to pray. This makes understanding Matthew 6:5-8 important to recall, in order to fully grasp the prayer of Jesus, found in John 17. Matthew wrote the following: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (NIV) This led to the full version of Jesus’ prayer to the Lord, with the words “as yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen” being added by churchmen after the fact. Rather than see the meaning behind what Jesus taught, what have the churchmen done?           They stand in the churches as priest, ministers, and pastors saying, “See me as I lead            you to say the Lord’s Prayer.”           They tell the congregations to recite in unison aloud, rather than telling them to go                into their place of privacy and speak silently to God.           They produce a book of prayers and recitals that they offer to the people as what God            likes to hear His people say.           They pretend that God needs to hear the Lord’s Prayer recited, and they insinuate by            saying those words nothing more needs be said. The Lord’s Prayer is something that should be taught to children. Jesus taught that prayer to infants who did not know how to pray. Jesus referred to his disciples as his “little children.” A prayer memorized by a child has more meaning than a prayer memorized by a child being the prayed aloud as an adult.

The Greek word written by Matthew, “hēmōn,” best translates as “of us,” but “us” is then a statement of one with Jesus. The inclusion of Jesus, spiritually as the Son of the Father, is the only way truth can be spoken through a private prayer that begins by saying, “Our Father” or “Father of us.” Rather than Jesus telling a group of Jews, in a mountainside setting of followers, to address God as “the Father of ours” or “Our Father,” the implication seems to make one think God is the Father of everyone everywhere. For as kumbaya as that sounds, Yahweh was not the father of the children of Israel [hint: Jacob was – a.k.a. Israel]. This is where John’s verse nine becomes more important to realize, as Jesus said, “I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.” Jesus was not praying for anyone other than those who were to be married to the Father, stated as “they are yours.” Those would then become wives, and as such ‘mothers’ of God’s Son. As wives who consummate their marriage to God in a Spiritual manner (via the Holy Spirit), Jesus Christ is then reborn within the wives-mothers. Once a disciple has been reborn as Jesus Christ, this spiritual union of a soul of God’s life-breath and the Holy Spirit of the Son of God justifies a private prayer that begins with the truth “we are two in one, so our Father is the Father of us two.” The “world” (or Greek “kosmou”) means all the “inhabitants of the world” (Strong’s usage) are not the brides of Yahweh. The majority of the “world” does not follow or believe in Yahweh, including all Asian religions and philosophies, with Communists not believing in any god at all. The Muslims do not believe in Yahweh as the same God of Israel, but the god of Abraham that they call Allah. While the two might have similarities, neither the Muslims nor the Jews believe Jesus was the Messiah or the Son of God. As such, they have become divorced wives that have no brother relationship whatsoever with Jesus. Finally, the mistake of the vast majority of Christians today is they have not married God and have not borne him a Son, which would justify themselves addressing Yahweh as Father. Therefore, verse nine in John’s seventeenth chapter is a disclaimer for all who do not meet these requirements of lineage. That is why Jesus then said, “All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.” To better realize what the Greek of that verse says, read this literal English translation, where one is able to see the importance of the repeated word “and” (“kai“). 10. and  these of mine all  , yours are  ; and  these yours  , mine  ; and  it has been exalted within them. The three important segments of words begins by saying “and  these disciples of mine all” are those who are still with Jesus. It refers to those waiting not far from where he prayed. Judas Iscariot had left the group earlier, so he was a disciple of Jesus but his willing departure deleted him from the group. He was returned to being part of the world. The next use of “kai” then leads to the important identification that all the disciples who were given to Jesus by his Father were the brides-to-be of God. God was in possession of their souls, as they had believed God sent Jesus as the Messiah. They had proved their hearts were set to serve God. The final use of “kai” makes the important statement of that the disciples, under the guidance of Jesus, have been raised to the level of purity that makes them worthy of God’s presence. The double entendre of this statement is that it fits the prior “mine-yours” exchanges, the glorifying of the disciples for God’s presence also foretells of the rebirth of Jesus with them. Jesus then can be seen to state in verse eleven the following (in the same literal presentation as before): 11. and  no longer I am in the world  , and  they in the world are  , and I (“kago“)  to you am coming to you  . Father holy  , keep them in the name of you  , which you have given me  , so that they may be one just as us  . This says that Jesus had finished his role on earth for God. With his mission accomplished, the disciples would be the next phase of God’s plan. The combination word “kago” is “kai + ego,” importantly states Jesus was an extension of God, so his ego was that of God. With his time on earth about to be transformed, the soul of Jesus the man (Son of Man) would be returning to be one with God. His soul had maintained its purity, as the Father had kept the Son holy. When Jesus said, “keep them in the name of God,” that is a statement of marriage, where the wife takes on the name of the husband. It says the disciples would marry God. From that marriage, the wives of God would become the rebirth place of Jesus the Christ. When the Christ is reborn into the disciple-wives, each will become a Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – in the name of Jesus Christ. Let me add that the Greek words “Pater hagie” might syntactically translate as “holy Father,” but the lack of capitalization in “hagie” does not translate to Holy Father. The word is defined as translating as “sacred, holy,” with the usage including “set apart by (God).” (Strong’s) The title Holy Father is something bestowed upon popes, as a man to whom other men bow before.  A pope claims to have the authority of God on earth. No one has that authority, as God only works through his Son reborn in Apostles, who are Saints. While the Church of Rome backfilled slots of historic “popes,” all who were deemed Saints by some papal test, Saints rarely served in such a limiting capacity as head of a church in Rome. If God wanted that, He would have made Jesus the Pope of Jerusalem and given him immortality. The ordering of the words, “Pater hagie,” addresses the Father in the relationship with Jesus the Son. The lower-case says Jesus, who was a subservient wife of God in the flesh, was God-incarnate spiritually. There can be no question that God the Father is holy or sacred, as it is God who makes humans be so endowed. Thus, Jesus’ soul was said to be returning to the “Father” in a “sacred” state. As the Gospel reading in the Seventh Sunday of Easter, when Christians are called upon to be those who are chosen to be wives of God and reborn as Jesus Christ, the decision has to be made: Does one serve self and be like Judas Iscariot and rejoin the world, divorcing oneself from a relationship with Jesus? Or, does one have one’s heart cleared of self-ego and make room for God as one’s husband (regardless of human gender)? Next Sunday represents the wedding day, when one graduates from being a student of Jesus and becomes the teacher reborn. Amen

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