Read John 17:1-26
1After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
"Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
6"I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name — the name you gave me — so that they may be one as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
13"I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
20"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24"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.
25"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them." (NIV)
In this 17th Chapter of John, we find one of the longest prayers by Jesus. He is about to leave his last gathering together with his disciples and so his final act is to pray with them and for them.
Jesus has his face firmly set for the cross. He knows what is coming and the events will glorify God. Christ’s death was the ultimate glory of God which can seem strange if one things about it. How can death ever glorify anything? But we see in Christ’s death that there is nothing that can stop God loving us, even the death of his own son. His death demonstrates the fullness of God for humanity.
We also see in this prayer that everything of Christ is of God. (Verses 6-8) There is no difference in the words, the actions between God and Son. They are one. And this unity is so important to our faith and what it means to be a disciple. Jesus in this prayer goes on to prayer for the disciples and for unity.
Unity is one of our foundational truths and one which we are failing at. Now unity does not mean always agreeing with one another. But it does mean having the same heart. Our knowledge is limited and we will never know the fullness of God’s truth this side of heaven. But we can know that God loves us and has purpose for us.
But God also wants us to one with each other. One in Spirit – one in ministry – one together sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is how we glorify God. And to be one means to listen to God and his word and to listen to one another. How we conduct ourselves is how we glorify God. This is no different than the student who excels at a competition glorifies the student’s teacher or the athlete who excels glorifies the athlete’s trainer/coach. When we are obedient to God’s word, we glorify God and are seen by others.
This is Jesus’ prayer for the disciples. But then in verse 20, Jesus does something wonderful, he says this prayer is not for the disciples alone, but for us who believe today. Jesus prayed for us just before he went to the cross. I think that is powerful.
Does knowing that Jesus prays for you important to you? How do you think you glorify God? What does being one with God and one with each other look like in your life?
This is a powerful prayer. One that we can read over and over to remind ourselves what it means to be Christ-like. Read it again and let it be a prayer the flows over you.
Blessings and Peace