Yes, it’s been a tough week. We’ve all seen the news and we all know the tensions. It’s also totally reasonable that those who love Jesus might wonder how we as the church live and respond and pray in these troublesome times. Well, I suggest that we just sit down and open up John 17 and pray the prayer that our risen Lord has already prayed.
Jesus prayed not only for his immediate disciples living in a difficult world, but also for us. “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word.”(vs. 20). If you are in Christ, that’s you. Surely if Jesus prayed something for the entire church of every age in every situation, what he prayed must surely govern our central priority and purpose in every age and every situation. As we see this, we also find it is the most encouraging hope we can imagine as we pray. Let’s have a small peak at a selection of verses. Grab your bible and get ready to pray as Christ prays.
Vs. 1-8 These verses are a glorious introduction of Jesus ‘prayer. The glory of the Father is revealed in the Son being lifted up and giving the Son all those he has elected unto eternal life. The appeal from the Son to the Father is on the basis of his perfect obedience and true glorification of God in all of his work on earth. It is a work that will be seen in the glorification of Jesus to his eternal pre-incarnate glory. It is a glory that is revealed to us in Jesus and it is a glory that is beyond this world. Praise God.
Vs. 9 The priority of Jesus’ prayer is for whoever is his elect in the world, not for the world itself.
Vs. 11 While we are still in this world, Jesus prays that the Father keeps us in his name and secures our unity with each other with that of the unity in the Trinity.
Vs. 13 That joy in our life will be found in being kept in Christ.
Vs. 14-15 We are not of the world because Jesus is not of the world. Jesus’ prayer in this is not that we are taken out of the world, but that we are kept from the evil one as we live in a world that hates us.
Vs. 16-17 We are not of the world as Jesus is not of the world, and therefore we are to be set apart for God’s truth.
Vs. 18 Jesus prays for us as we are sent into the world with the same mission in which he was sent – to save people from their sins.
Vs. 19 Jesus prays that our whole life is sanctified (set apart) by his truth.
Vs. 20-21 Jesus prays that our unity is so reflective of the Trinity that it is an evangelistic proof for the world to believe in him.
And Just read vs.23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
It sounds very much to me that Jesus’ priority and prayer for us is that we would be more concerned about living in this world but not being of this world while we have a mission to this world to take people out of this world. The way we are to fulfill this mission in this world is to have a unity within the church that reflects that we are not of this world and that unity is based on the truth that can only come from God.
How do you think you are right now aligned to this glorious prayer and purpose for the church?
If you prayed through your concerns about our current situations in this world using Jesus’ prayer, how would it sound? What do you think God’s answer will be if you pray it? This is a prayer that is prayed within the perfection of the Godhead. When we consider this, we cannot come to any other conclusion other than this is a prayer of Trinitarian unity. We can know for sure that at the end of chapter 17, the Father says, “Yes.”