This time of the year, many fortune tellers or future predictors or self-proclaimed prophets come out in full force—they're everywhere. At the beginning of 2023, one predicted that the past year would see a nuclear holocaust. Another predicted that 2023 would usher in a third world war, which will never end. Another predicted a famine of Biblical proportions. Still another predicted a cyberattack on all the stock markets around the world that would result in worldwide economic collapse, and so on.
Jesus intercedes for us continually; He never stops making the Father known to us.
If I were not a disciple of Jesus Christ and not eternally saved, I probably would not have gotten out of bed this morning. And if I believed even a smidgen of these predictions, I would be depressed. But I am as optimistic as I've ever been. And I want you to experience this same peace—this abundant joy rooted in a hope that does not disappoint.
You see, for Christians, it makes no difference whether predictions like these for the coming year prove accurate or not because we know in whom we have believed. Our confidence is never shaken: God has told us, "I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:9-10).
Our faith is immovable because it is rooted in our constant, faithful God. Our peace and joy are not dependent on our circumstances, and our eternal security in Christ is not up for grabs. For, Jesus is our priest forever, and "[t]herefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them" (Hebrews 7:25). Now, my friends, that is enough for me to be able to say to whoever is predicting the future, "Bring it on." Why? Because my Savior lives and is interceding for me at the right hand of the Father at this very moment—and always.
JESUS' PRIESTLY INTERCESSION
Your name is being mentioned in high places right now. No, not in the White House or in Buckingham Palace. You are mentioned by name in the very throne room of God. I am indebted and grateful to the apostle John for recording Jesus' great priestly prayer that reveals exactly how our Redeemer is interceding for us today. You see, in John 17, Jesus was thinking of you—two thousand years ago He said: "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message" (John 17:20). So let's look at Jesus' incredible prayer for us, for it will absolutely encourage you throughout the coming year and inspire you to live for His glory.
First, Jesus claims His Father's promise to glorify Him (see John 17:1-5). Having willingly obeyed the Father perfectly, Jesus was confident that following His sacrifice on the cross, God the Father would return Him to His former splendor before He left heaven to come to earth. He could pray knowing that His prayers were effective because God always keeps His promises. Jesus knew without a doubt that He would be revealed to all creation as the fullness of the Deity in bodily form, that at His name every knee would bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth to the glory of God the Father (see Colossians 2:9 and Philippians 2:9-11).
Second, Jesus prays for our sanctification, that we would grow in Christlikeness (see John 17:6-19). He prays that we would be protected and transformed from one point of glory to the next by the Truth of His Word. Remember, God's Word will keep you from sin, and sin will try to keep you from Scripture. So read the Bible; feast on it; immerse yourself in its life-giving Truth and sure hope. As you do, you will more fully grasp the wonder of God's love—that you are set aside for Jesus. Mind, body, soul, everything belongs to Him—not to anyone or anything else. May we live out this Truth in the coming year and forever.
Finally, Jesus intercedes for our unification (see John 17:20-26). The unity for which Jesus is praying is not organizational unity, not institutional unity, and not denominational unity. Rather, He prays for our unity on the substance of the Christian faith, on seeking the glory of Jesus above all else in life. It's unity based on the centrality of the Gospel and God's Word. It's the unity of believing that salvation is through Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone revealed in Scripture alone. When we love one another, united on the Gospel, united on the Word of God, united on the death and resurrection of Jesus as the only way to heaven, we are revealing the character of God through our love for one another.
CHRIST IN US, THE HOPE OF GLORY
What an encouraging prayer God has graciously recorded for us in His Word. Jesus intercedes for us continually; He never stops making the Father known to us. And the more fully we see the Father, the more His love dwells in us and the more Christ is revealed in us—for our Savior Himself dwells in us (see John 17:26). For those of us who love Jesus, who live for Jesus, He is our hope and power for living. He is our only strength in times of trouble, our only authority over demons and evil spirits, over sickness and disease and infirmity. He is our only authority over sin and addiction, bitterness and fear. Jesus' name has eternity built into it: "Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3).
You see, eternal life begins in us when Jesus is enthroned in our hearts as Savior and Lord. That is why whatever happens in the coming year or years, we can face it with hope because we have Jesus. Dying for the believer is only a change of clothes, a change of residence. It's moving from the basement to the penthouse, the tent to the mansion, the perishable to the imperishable. My friend, I pray you would face this year with the confidence that only Jesus can give you. Remember that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father interceding for you by name with this prayer: "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world" (John 17:24). You can rest knowing that's a prayer that God delights to answer.