“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17: 20-26
This morning part of my bible reading included John 17. It is unfortunately too easy for me to just skim through this prayer Jesus prayed in the early evening, right before His progression to the cross, instead of really giving it the great deal of thought it deserves because I have read this text so many times. This morning in order to discipline my mind and concentrate more completely on the meanings behind the words, I decided to take the text apart verse by verse. I hope you enjoy reading through my thoughts after each verse I have reprinted and I hope you have the time to meditate on each one and think about how God is speaking to you through the truth He reveals through them.
So, here are the verses with my thoughts below:
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;”
Jesus was praying for me and you and for His living word, as kept through the believers and the Holy Spirit. The foundation of belief is truth and the truth of the Lord needed to be preserved for all generations to come so they would know Jesus as completely as His disciples did. Not tainted by the world and the deception that sin brings to everything in the world, but rather perfectly preserved truth to keep His followers on the path to life – the path to Him.
“that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
Unity with God the Father, the same unity Jesus shared with the Father, is necessary for belief. Jesus knew that on our own we would not be able to carry on our own faith, let alone be able to show a watching world the God their hearts were yearning for. Our unity with one another is what opens the eyes of those who are searching for God.
“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:”
As Jesus was brought glory (that is fruit through His obedience and unity with the Father), He desired the same for all who were to be called His followers. Our fruit – the glory brought into our lives by the presence of God in it – is the ultimate proof that we have unity with the Father.
“I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
This unity is not a unity of just us and the Lord, but rather a beautifully orchestrated unity amongst all who are believers in Christ. The real love of God is shown in and through not just one person to the world, but rather through the body of Christ lived out in the perfect harmony God leads us each to play our part in.
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
Jesus also didn't want for His fellowship with us to end when our lives on this earth came to an end. No, instead He desired for us to continue our fellowship with His from the moment we came into His presence and to continue from there into eternity. The ultimate love that the Father shows towards the Son is one none of us can imagine, but that is the love Jesus wants us all to experience as we see Him fully glorified – that is the perfect revelation of who He is without the barrier of sin to distort it. We can only see Jesus in that way when we are as intimate with Jesus as He was with His Father.
The Father is righteous and the world, being full of sin, is not. We do not understand righteousness from our point of view because we are tainted. Only when we live in unity with Christ can we come to know who God is through the Father, Son, and Spirit. The fact that Jesus is the Son of God is only revealed to those who see the unity of the Father and the Son – to the rest of the world that fact is lost in human reasoning that says it can't be so.
Jesus never brought fame or greatness to His own person or His own name. Instead He pointed people to the perfect love and character of His Father. This is the lifestyle that He also desires for us to have as we follow Him and ultimately follow the Father – one that brings glory to the One which all glory is due.
Disciplining our minds to read what God's word is saying is not always an easy task as you can see the above exercise. To skim through God's word in hope that something God wants you to pay attention to is not always the way He works. At times God wants us to dig and probe deeper. To make an effort to show Him how much we love Him and how dedicated we are to seeking Him and finding Him.
The next time you find yourself looking at some difficult verses in the bible, don't just skim through them with the mindset that they are just too difficult for you to understand. Instead, set your mind on finding the hidden treasure God has waiting for you in them – they will not only bring you knowledge of the Lord, but they will also draw you into a more intimate relationship with the author and finisher of the text itself – our Lord God Almighty.