Sermonette for Saturday

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word. John 17:20

On the evening of April 8, 1967, Joseph Drybones was found drunk in the lobby of the Old Stope Hotel in Yellowknife. He was taken to court and was charged with being an Indian and intoxicated while off a reserve, which was a violation of the Indian Act. The lawyers who became involved decided to appeal the case. And they did appeal, through the Northwest Territories Territorial Court and the Northwest Territories Appeal Court. But they didn’t stop there; they took the case all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. And they won! On November 20, 1969, in a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the crown’s appeal and upheld Drybones’s acquittal. Although the court agreed that Drybones had broken the Indian Act, they found that such a crime was only a crime if committed by an Indian, and therefore was in violation of the Canadian Bill of Rights. The Drybones case set a valuable precedent in Canada, supporting the position that all Canadians are equal before the law. The Lord Jesus establishes an even greater precedent in today’s text, declaring that all Christians – not just the disciples – are the beneficiaries of His prayers.

We know how the Lord Jesus cared for and prayed for His disciples. His prayers carried them into apostleship and valuable service for Him, most of them achieving martyrdom, and seeing the spread of the Gospel throughout most of the known world. They achieved, because Jesus prayed for them. But the Lord Jesus did not pray just for them. He also prayed for those who would believe the apostles’ words. You and I have received the witness of the apostles, in the writings of the Gospels, the book of Acts, and the epistles. The great work of the spread of the Gospel and of the testimony of God’s Assemblies continues to our day, because of those like us who have believed the word of the apostles. And because the Lord Jesus prays for us, too.

We are amazed at the precedence that the Lord Jesus sets in his prayers for His disciples. His prayers are for us today because of that precedence. We may never encounter the situations or see the same results as the disciples did. But we are no less supported by our Lord’s prayers. The Lord is on our side, and we can rejoice that those who believe our word concerning the Lord Jesus will come under the same blessing.

The prayers of the Lord Jesus for His disciples are also for us and for all who will believe the Gospel. For this reason, we should make sure the Gospel is spread as far and wide as possible. -Jim MacIntosh

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