In John 17, Jesus prays. It must have been an amazing thing for the disciples to have heard this prayer. They had heard Jesus pray before, and they knew that he often disappeared in the wee hours to get away to pray, but now he was praying for them. While Jesus taught the disciples many things, sometimes gently and sometimes quite directly, it doesn’t appear in any other place in the New Testament that he prayed for them in this way.
This was the last peaceful, private time that Jesus had with his disciples before His life careened toward the Cross. Especially because time was drawing short for Jesus, two things impress me in the passage:
- First, if we had a limited opportunity to speak to those we love, what would we say? Jesus assures them that, just as he is one with God, they are one with him, forever. These are powerful words of assurance.
- Second, the last considered words of Jesus are not mere advice, they are a prayer. Jesus lifts them up to the throne of grace and trusts them into God’s care. The Lord of all offers specific prayers for those he loves.
What Jesus leaves them with is very important: whatever happens in the days ahead, they are one with him. And not only that, but through the power of the Holy Spirit working in them (see John 16:5-15) his ministry will continue to grow, both outward from Jerusalem and through the ages of time.
That’s Jesus’ prayer for the disciples, and it is his prayer for us. Thanks be to God!
Questions for Reflection:
- Read John 17:19-26 slowly, and imagine that Jesus is praying this prayer for you. How does this impact your view of who Jesus is? How does this shape your sense of well-being?
- What can you do to foster unity among Christians?