Last year, I was reading through the book of John, and when I came to the verses I am looking at today I was overwhelmed; overwhelmed by the fact that Jesus prayed for me just before He died. I remember feeling amazed and lavishly loved by my Savior. I've read these verses before, but for some reason the realization that Jesus prayed for all future believers touched me in that moment. This week, I looked at how Jesus prayed for Himself and His disciples; let's look at how He prayed for us in John 17:20-26.
Do you notice any theme in this prayer? Earlier this week as I was reading these verses I noticed how strongly Jesus prayed for unity among all believers. "May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me." John 17:23 (NLT). Jesus lays out the importance of unity - it is not important just for the believers. Jesus wants us to be in unity because it shows the world that Jesus is who He says He is; it shows the world a love that cannot be found in the world. This unity shows all of us that God loves us as much as He loves Christ. Do you see how important that reality is? Jesus prays about the fact that He and God are in perfect unity; they are one. If God loves us as much as He loves Jesus, then He loves us as much as He loves Himself. How amazing is that!?
Reading through this prayer, it helps me understand all the more why the commandment, "Love your neighbor as yourself," is so important to God. This commandment expresses who He is; it expresses His heart. Basically, love expresses unity and unity expresses love. We need to be discipling all believers on the importance of unity through Christ. This is what Christ desires for all of us. Remember, in Ephesians 2:10 we are told that when we believe and follow Christ, we are created anew to do the good things God planned for us long ago. The book of Ephesians tells us that this new creation is an unprecedented unity as the body of Christ, which is the church.
"Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!" John 17:23 (NLT). The last thing I want to say for today is that Christ wants us to be with Him. Does that touch your heart? Jesus wants us to be with Him, so much so that He even prayed it over us. One day, we will see the glory of Christ because He prayed this over all believers. What a wonderful day that will be!
Do you desire the unity Christ prayed over us?
This post is linked with Faith Filled Friday.