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Once again, the best way to dig deep in this this profound prayer is to pray the prayer of Jesus with him. At the end of each section, I will provide a suggested prayer.
God’s Offer of Unity
John 17.20-21 – “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, 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.”
When you pray this prayer, please take time to meditate on Jesus’ words, “As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us . . .” (verse 21).
— We know that Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Jesus. Jesus made his unity with the Father a central message of his. Seven times in the Gospel of John, he declared that he was God’s “I AM,” declaring his essential unity with the Father. (See John 6.35, 8.12, 10.9, 10.11, 11.25-26, 14.6, and 15.5.) One reason why the religious authorities wanted to arrest and kill Jesus was because of the way he spoke of his union with the Father.
— The second part of Jesus’ prayer should astound us and cause us to pause. He prays for the unity that he has with the Father to be our experience, too. Make no mistake, we can never say we are “I AM” like Jesus did, but in some very real way we can live in a united relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
— Our unity with other followers of Jesus, along with our unity with the Trinity, will help people to trust their lives to Jesus.
We begin to live in what Jesus prayed for us by living in a friendship relationship with him. Prayer is essential to living with him.
Once again, let’s kneel beside Jesus and pray along with him.
Dear Jesus, thank you for what you have done, so I could be one of your followers. I am amazed that I can be united with the Father and you in some way similar to what is your experience. I feel that I fall very short of this great gift you have given to us. Please help me to do what it takes to live in unity with you and with other people.
Why is unity so important?
The next portion of Jesus’ prayer describes how far Jesus had to go, so we could live in unity with the the Trinity (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and with one another. Since being united with us is so important to God, we should see it as a major issue.
John 17.22-23 – “The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Once again, let’s dig into what Jesus prayed, “The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one . . .” (verse 22). What does it mean that Jesus gave us the glory he had received from the Father?
— The glory that Jesus received and gave to us is the revelation of the nature and character of God. When we see and appreciate what God is actually like, we will seek unity with him.
— God’s essential nature is love. As we appreciate his loving nature, we will extend love to other people and experience a unity with others.
— When we live united with God and other people, others will take notice and be challenged to trust and follow Jesus for themselves.
Appreciation of God’s glory through union with him can only be perceived in a personal relationship with Jesus. An experience of God’s glory through union with him will spill over into every aspect of our lives.
Jesus taught us to ask for his good gifts (Matthew 7.7-12). Let’s ask for the gift experiencing Jesus’ love, as we pray Jesus’ prayer along with him.
Dear Jesus, I want to see more of your glory, so I may live in more complete union with you. Your love, joy, patience, and kindness is an aspect of your glory. May I live with you in such a way that I display these qualities to others, so we can both follow you and love one another.
Living with Jesus and seeing his glory
I know that overuse the word, “amazing.” If I knew a better word, I would use it. The next section of Jesus’ prayer is amazing. Jesus invites us to be with him and to see his glory. Amazing!
John 17.24 – “Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.“
Jesus prayed for us, and continues to intercede for us (Hebrews 7.25), for us to be with him and to see his glory. It is his profound desire that we experience his glory in a very tangible way. What could seeing Jesus’ glory look like?
— Peter, James and John saw Jesus in his glory. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record this event (For example, see Matthew 17.1-8).
— Paul experienced aspects of God’s glory that were so exceptional that he couldn’t speak about them (2 Corinthians 12.1-10).
— I don’t think we can expect experiences like Peter, James, John and Paul. On the other hand, I think we can experience more of the glory of God than we are currently experiencing.
Peter, James, John and Paul had something in common. They spent large amounts of time with Jesus. As we spend more time with him, we open the door for Jesus to reveal more of his glory to us. That is why prayer is so important to the life of someone who wants to experience more of God.
Once again Jesus, I thank you for praying for people like me. I realize I have not done my part in living close to you. I have missed much of the gift of seeing your glory. I ask that you help me to be united with you and I long to see the glory of who you actually are.
Jesus prays for people to know God’s love.
Jesus ends this majestic prayer with people like us on his heart. He has made God’s name, his nature and character of love, known to us, so we may be enveloped in his love.
John 17.25-26 – “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
There is a simple chorus that states a profound truth:
“Everybody ought to know,
Everybody ought to know,
Everybody ought to know,
Who Jesus is.”
As we consider God’s great love for us and the awesome opportunity to live united with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, our hearts go out to people who are living distant from the life that can be theirs. Let’s pray for the people we know who are distant from Jesus, as we close this prayer.
Dear God, my friends (put their names here) do not know you. By your grace, I know you. Please help me make your love, kindness, and mercy known to them. I want them to know that they are loved by you and can have a close personal relationship with you. Please draw them to yourself. Please show me how I can be used.
I praise you for the amazing love you have revealed to us through this prayer of Jesus.