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March 25, 2021
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
This prayer should be included among a Christian’s most highly valued treasures. Jesus not only prays for his immediate group of disciples, but for all those who will come to believe in him through their witness. In other words, Jesus is praying for you! His aim is to provide you with confidence knowing that you are eternally secure, safeguarded in the Father’s love. There is no greater protection than that. We carry on Jesus’ mission knowing that Jesus is praying for us at every step.
We should pay careful attention to the fact that Jesus specifically prays for unity - unity with God and with one another. The two of course are closely related. There can be no unity apart from the gospel. Our shared life in and with God is what enables our shared life in and with one another. As the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father, so we are invited and called to live within that glorious unity. Thus Jesus prays that the Father would make us all one just as the Father and Son are one. Such unity of faith, hope, and love will be the surest sign to the world around us that Jesus truly has been sent from the Father. What other explanation could there be for a human community that stretches across the world and transcends all the typical barriers of race, class, and gender? Our love for one another will be the means by which the world may know the truth of the gospel.
Sadly, however, Christians are often better known for their disagreements rather than their unity. In which case, we must strive to express the unity that is already ours in Jesus. This is why Jesus prays that we will see his glory - the glory revealed through his death and resurrection - which will be the proof that the Father has loved the Son from before the beginning of time. Such an experience of glory will confirm in our own hearts the reality of who Jesus is and what he has accomplished for us. Jesus’ radical and unconditional love for us is the only power that can spark our radical and unconditional love for one another.
How can you make unity with God and with God’s people more central to your life?