After Jesus prayed for His disciples, He broadened His prayer to include “those who will believe in Me through their word” (John 17:20, NKJV).
Read John 17:20-26. What was Jesus’ greatest wish for those who would later believe in the Gospel message? Why is it so important that this prayer be fulfilled?
As the Father and Son are one, Jesus prayed that future believers would also be one. In a few places in the Gospel of John, Jesus referred to the unity of the Father and Son. They never act independently of each other, but are always united in everything they do (John 5:20-23). They share a common love for fallen humanity to the extent that the Father was willing to give His Son for the world, and the Son was willing to give His life for it too (John 3:16, John 10:15).
The unity Jesus refers to in this prayer is a unity of love and purpose as it is between Father and Son. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35, NKJV). Manifesting this unity in love will give public confirmation, both of their relationship with Jesus and with the Father. “The display of their genuine unity ought to provide a compelling witness to the truth of the Gospel.” – Andreas J. Köstenberger, John, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), p. 498. This is how the world will know that Jesus is the Savior. In other words, this unity Jesus prayed for cannot be invisible. How can the world be convinced of the truthfulness of the Gospel if it cannot see love and unity among God’s people?
“God is leading out a people to stand in perfect unity upon the platform of eternal truth. … God designs that His people should all come into the unity of the faith. The prayer of Christ just prior to His crucifixion was that His disciples might be one, even as He was one with the Father, that the world might believe that the Father had sent Him. This most touching and wonderful prayer reaches down the ages, even to our day; for His words were: ‘Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.’”
“How earnestly should the professed followers of Christ seek to answer this prayer in their lives.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 17.
|What are we doing in our lives and churches to help reach the kind of unity presented here? Why is a certain amount of death to self crucial for each of us if we want our church to be united as it should be?|