Jul 07

Part 68: The Lord Prays (3)

Todd Pruitt |Series: The Gospel of John |John 17:20-26

Jesus is fully aware that his departure is immanent. His words in the Farewell Discourse and now his prayer are reflective of the arrival of his “hour.”  He is preparing the eleven both for the suffering that they will encounter as his followers as well as the glory that will be revealed to them when they follow Jesus to their heavenly reward (17:24). What will remain until Jesus’ return is the church, the world-wide company of all those who will come to believe through the ministry of the apostles (17:20). So Jesus closes his prayer focusing especially on all those who will yet come to believe. This of course includes all of us today who follow Jesus. We are the objects of our Lord’s prayer.

He prays with a special focus on the unity of believers. It is a unity which is derived from the unity of the Godhead. That is, the unity which God gives to his people is founded upon the unity of the Father, Son and Spirit. It is a unity bound up in the believer’s union with Christ. So the unity for which Jesus prays is not the fruit of their efforts but a gift of grace owing to the nature of their salvation in Christ.

The church’s unity is not a minimalistic thing nor is it based upon emotional sentimentalism. The unity of believers is robust and deep because it is grounded in the truth. Jesus prays that his church will be unified through a shared salvation, glory, witness, hope, body of doctrine, and love. The solid foundation which supports Christian unity was purchased at a high price. As the cross loomed directly before him Jesus prayed with settled confidence that his Father would cause his people to be “perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me” (vs. 23).

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