After my conversion to Christ, some of my pastors and mentors encouraged me to find a “life verse” from the Word of God that represented my convictions in life and my passion for God. For many years, I sought to find just the right verse. At times I thought I may have found one, but then, alas, as I continued studying Scripture, another potential life verse would take its place. Finally, I concluded that my long search for a life verse seemed to be futile. I may never have a life verse, and I have always been a little jealous of friends who have one. Perhaps someday, before the Lord takes me home, I will find one.
The problem, however, runs much deeper. I not only do not have a life verse, I do not have a favorite book of the Bible or even a favorite chapter. I can’t even begin to count how many times the congregation I serve has heard me say, “This is one of my favorite verses . . . chapters . . . sections . . . books of Scripture.” And while not all Scripture is alike, I have found on further study that I have come to more fully understand and appreciate even those passages of Scripture that I once did not appreciate as I should have, such as genealogical or numerical list passages.
Nevertheless, perhaps the closest I have come to discovering my favorite chapter in Scripture was about twelve years ago when I was asked by my dear friend Palmer Robertson to give a weeklong series of lectures at the African Bible University in Kampala, Uganda. He asked me to teach through a favorite chapter of Scripture. I explained that I did not have one but that John 17, the prayer of our Lord, is one chapter that I believe helps Christians grasp the glory of our triune God, the person and work of Christ, the overarching theology of salvation, the mission of God, the unity and purity of the church, our union with Christ, and our Lord’s special love for His chosen people. Dr. Robertson agreed. The week my family and I spent living in the home of the Robertson family, discussing the Bible, theology, and the church, and teaching through John 17 was one of my favorite weeks of my life.
The High Priestly Prayer in John 17 is one of the most extensive passages in Scripture wherein we get to listen to our Lord praying for us. Just as Abraham was counting you and me and all other believers throughout history as he counted the stars in Genesis 15, so Jesus was praying for you and me and all those who will believe in Him through the words of the Apostles. As we live before the face of God, coram Deo, we know that our Lord has prayed for us and that He is praying for us now as we await His return.