Gethsemane’s Light on Transitions
April 17, 2019
by Steve Cartin, MDiv
“And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them” (John 17.10, NKJV)
Resurrection Sunday blesses the calendars of our lives uniquely this Sunday. It lifts up the life of our Lord as a model for so many transitions we face along the journey into which Christ has commissioned us. The passion of our Lord’s heart – poured out in His high priestly prayer of Gethsemane’s Garden – reveals how Jesus evaluated the preparations He made for the transition He would face.
“I have glorified you…” (John 17.4a). Ultimately, we seek to glorify our Father in heaven. Whatever else is accomplished must be weighed in the balance of a servant’s faithful submission to the Father’s will. There is no room for celebrating success grown out of pragmatism or out of person ambition or achievement. The patients we tend to and the team we lead are all to be tended to and led for the glory of God alone.
“I have finished the work which you have given me to do” (John 17.4b). Jesus wasn’t just “done”. His was a resting from life’s ministry as natural as the Father’s resting from six days of creation. Nothing remained unfinished. How often our worlds reflect the climbing of ladders which leaves unfinished business on each run for other to deal with or complete. Not so with Jesus. In just three years He had poured all of Himself into a group of fishermen, tax collectors and unheralded countrymen. Not a single stone was unfinished in the foundation He laid. Their work could begin as soon as they received “power from above” (Acts 1.8).
“None of them is lost…” (John 17.12). Jesus built up people. But He did more. He preserved them through challenging times of managing the change He facilitated in their lives. They struggled. They doubted. They felt they would never be adequate. But aside from the “son of perdition” they remained in the fold to carry on the mission He passed on from the Father. For our part, we struggle with developing a committed team only to see them replanted and blooming somewhere else on account of their self-elimination or our own severing of relationships. His work of preparing them was intentional toward an ongoing mission.
“I have given them Your word…sanctify them by Your truth” (John 17.14, 17). Great leaders don’t lose sight of the non-negotiable commitment to glorifying God alone. They stick to the task before them, “running the race with patience” to finish the course (Heb 12.1). They manage change in the development of people such that people remain through the bumps and disappointments to keep on keeping on with the mission at hand. But they realize that in the final analysis, it is only the word of God which can do the real work that must take place in people’s lives. Great leaders spend time on their knees pleading for the Spirit’s sanctifying intervention in the lives of those they lead. And while they plead alone silently in prayer, they continue sharing God’s word.
Many are the transitions of life in ministry and dentistry, in business and family. “For we who have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom 6.5). Jesus’ transition to glory follows a life of faithfulness which recognizes that the work here below is an ongoing work to remain and flourish after we are gone. All that He has given us is His… and all those who are His are given to us. Our lives can be measured by the lives they live when we are no longer present.
This Easter season may we consider this whole of Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17. As we do, may we lay it down alongside our lives and to see any gaps that exist in living out our call to develop those whom we lead.
Christ is risen. Resurrection power lives within all those who have been united with Him in death. He was faithful. Resurrection power fuels our faithfulness as well.