Lent is the season before Easter focused on preparing to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Consisting of the 40 days before Easter, not counting Sundays, it’s based on the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness before he began His public ministry. The earliest mention of Lent in the history of the church comes from the council Nicaea in 325 AD.
While Lent has not historically been observed in Protestant Evangelical traditions, it can be a meaningful addition to help us see the significance of the cross and the resurrection with fresh eyes. We can engage in Lent many different ways. Some choose to fast from something and/or add a spiritual practice.
Lent at Woodcreek
This Lenten season, we have again selected John 17:1-26 for us to meditate on together. The High Priestly Prayer is Jesus’ prayer just after the Last Supper, before His crucifixion. Our encouragement is for each of us to meditate on Jesus‘ words for 10 minutes a day.
Meditation is defined as thinking deeply or focusing one’s mind for a period of time for spiritual purposes. Unlike Eastern Meditation, which is about emptying your mind, Biblical Meditation is about filling your mind with God’s truth.
Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life, describes meditation this way: “Meditation is focused thinking. You select a verse and reflect on it over and over in your mind. If you know how to worry, you already know how to meditate.” Warren continues, “No other habit can do more to transform your life and make you more like Jesus than daily reflection on Scripture.“
In Satisfy Your Soul, Dr. Bruce Demarest writes, “Meditation refocuses us from ourselves and from the world so that we reflect on God’s Word, His nature, His abilities, and His works. So we prayerfully ponder, muse, and ‘chew’ the words of Scripture. The goal is simply to permit the Holy Spirit to activate the life-giving Word of God”
February 14-17, John 17:1-3
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
February 19-24, John 17:4-8
“I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, 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. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 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.”
February 26-March 3, John 17:9-11
“I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”
March 5-10, John 17:12-14
“While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”
March 12-17, John 17:15-19
“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.”
March 19-24, John 17:20-23
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
March 26-31, John 17:24-26
“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”