I LOVE JOHN 17.
In it, Jesus is praying in the garden of Gethsemane, crying out to His Father right before He is betrayed and taken to the cross. He prayed for at least 3 things during this time: Himself, His Disciples, and the future church. If you are a follower of Jesus, that should bring you great encouragement- you get to “listen” in as Jesus prays for the global Church that you are a part of today.
When you read John 17, consider the weightiness of this prayer- this is the second Person of the Trinity praying to the first Person of the Trinity. Everything Jesus prays is in accordance with the will of God and therefore will come to be at some point. This is not just wishful thinking, this prayer is a prophetic promise.
The first thing Jesus prays for in His prayer is UNITY:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” v.20-21a
Jesus desires that within the Church there would be unity, the same unity that is shared within the Godhead. This is not a superficial unity of agreement for the sake of “getting along”. This is speaking of true unity of thought, unity of heart, unity of motivation- among every single person in the Body of Christ. It is important to notice here that Jesus is praying for unity within the Church, not for unity among “all” people.
“May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” v.21b
Jesus isn’t just asking for unity among people in the Church, He desires to be a part of that unity, that the Church would be united within herself as she is united with God. And Jesus tells us that this unity is for a purpose. The purpose is so the world (people who do not know God) will believe in Jesus. The world will look at the Church and see a unified and loving family and wonder: “Why are those people like that? Look at how they take care of each other and deal with each other with such honor, grace, and love.” And the Church will answer: “Jesus is the One who makes this possible.”
“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one- I in them and you in me- so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” v.22-23
To equip us to be unified, Jesus has given us the glory (the honor, the splendor, the exalted position) that the Father gave Him. Through obeying His Father unto death, Jesus proved Himself worthy to inherit the fullness of His Father’s Kingdom. Through Jesus taking our place on the Cross, Jesus made a way for us to access His inheritance. Because of the Cross, when the Father looks at us, He sees us covered in the perfect obedience of His Beloved Son.
Knowing WHO WE ARE because of WHO WE BELONG TO enables us to walk in love with one another. When we know we are completely washed and fully loved then we don’t have to compete and compare and scrap together whatever we can “get” from the Father- EVERYTHING He has is already ours. When the Body of Christ walks uprightly in our calling as His royal Sons and Daughters, we will honor one another and walk in true unity.