Read John 17:20-26
And then this happened. Jesus, the Son of God, the great I Am, prays that we would all be in unity with Him. He who was with God at the beginning, who ministered with these men, lets them know His heartfelt desire to be one with us all. Jesus prays for us. I hope you’ll take the time to read this passage and let the words sink into your heart. Hear now the words of Jesus.
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—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23
Jesus prays that we may all be one, that we would all hear the message and cross the line of faith. The message must be presented and received for someone to believe. In other words, we must do something. Like any form of communication, it’s a two-sided coin: both sides are required.
When we accept Christ we are adopted into His royal family. That’s the promise we’ve all heard. This adoption comes with a promise along with great responsibility. This past week we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy and heard many quotes from this incredible leader. One of my favorites is this:
Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
We have a responsibility to serve the body of Christ, to spread the message of the gospel, and invite others to join this family. The greatness we should seek begins with serving others. Sure, we need to tend to ourselves, but I believe that complete heart-change only happens when we serve others.
When we serve, with Jesus at the center, we will be unified in such a beautiful way that the world will stand up and take notice. The world will know what true love is all about. Far beyond physical attraction, true love can only be found in glorifying God with all we do.
Jesus appeals to God the Father on our behalf. He draws us to Himself.
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. John 17:24
Even though the world is confused, we must be strong. Even when the world takes our earthly life away, we must be steadfast. Even in the face of opposition, slander, malice, evil of all sorts, we must continue to seek His glory first. Don’t expect the world to understand, much less appreciate what we’re doing.
Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I 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. John 17:25-26
Jesus promises to continue to make God known so that love will spread throughout the world.
We know this promise is true. It’s hard to imagine that at one point in time only eleven men heard this prayer. Standing there with Jesus, no one could believe that the world would be completely changed by a handful of mismatched men that called themselves disciples, brothers in faith. They had no Bible, they didn’t need one. They would soon be ejected from the synagogues, so they had little access to scripture. But their message was backed by conviction and fueled by the promise that Jesus made to continue with them in love.
No one bothered to ask how this would happen. We’ll see later that once the Holy Spirit came upon them, they would become unstoppable.
Lord, I hope and pray that we would take this prayer to heart and join in the unstoppable force that You put in motion some 2,000 years ago. Remind us, Holy Spirit, that You are alive and well in our daily walk. Inspire us to move in places that only make sense to You. And we will be sure to give you the glory! Amen.