About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Jesus Prays For All Believers (ch. 17:20-26)

 

In verse 20 we see the only place in Scripture where Jesus actually prays for you and I, assuming you belong to Him.  He tells His Father that He is not only praying for His disciples who were presently alive, but He is praying for all those people who will believe because of the apostles preaching.  Thatís you and I.  Jesus prayed for you and I.  Even more importantly, we learn from the book of Hebrews that Jesus is our high priest for all of eternity.  That means He is still praying for us and will forever.

 

In verse 21 we note the specific prayer that Jesus prays for us is "that we will all be one."  Why did He pray this?  "So that the world will know" that God the Father sent Jesus.  Our oneness is a testimony to Jesus, especially to the fact that God sent Him, and God sending Jesus is one very vital piece of information the world needs to know.  This is the crux of the matter.  The world must realize that Jesus came from God, and that Jesus is God.  Jesus was not a mere man and He definitely wasnít just another prophet or teacher.  Our problem today is that our lack of unity has not helped in promoting the message that Jesus did in fact come from God.  Our lack of unity does not show the world that we in fact serve the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the only true God.  

 

Jesus prayed that His people, the church, would be one, just as He and His Father is one.  There is no way in our human intellect that we can understand the oneness that Jesus had with His Father, and, there is no way that we can have this oneness with each other in this life.  This prayer will be answered, not in this life but the next life.  Even this prayer spoken by Jesus was not answered immediately, and, it still has not been answered.  This should tell us that not all of our prayers have an immediate answer.     

 

In verse 22 Jesus says that He has given us glory, the same glory that the Father gave Jesus, so we may be one with Jesus and the Father.  The giving of the Holy Spirit to the believers gives us honour and glory, the same honour and glory that God gave Jesus.  This honour and glory was seen when John baptized Jesus in water. 

 

In verse 23 Jesus says, "I in them, you in me."  What Jesus is saying is that there should be such a unity between Him and us that it is similar to the unity He has with His Father, and you canít get any more unified than that.  Of course, such unity is impossible, at least in this lifetime.  I say this because God the Father, Jesus the Son, and, the Holy Spirit experience a unity that is beyond human capability.  That being said, we certainly can achieve more unity if we'd give ourselves to it. 

 

When thinking of unity, I'm not talking about compromise.  I'm not talking about the ecclesiastical unity we have seen in the past few decades in the church where central doctrines of the Bible are ignored. Unity must be experienced in light of Biblical truth.  Unity apart from Biblical truth is not the unity that Jesus is talking about here.    

 

Jesus then repeats Himself in the second half of verse 23 as He often does.  He says, "may they be brought to complete unity."  This might suggest that the believers were not in complete unity at that time.  This would maybe be due to the fact that the Holy Spirit had not yet come into their lives.  That being said, remember, Jesus is praying, not for those in the room at that present moment.  He is praying for us, and we clearly need to prayer Jesus is praying.  As a matter of fact, disunity in the Body of Christ isn't new.  It begins right in the book of Acts.            

Once again, the reason for the unity is to show the world that Jesus came from God, and that God has loved Jesus and that Jesus has loved those who believe.

 

In verse 24 Jesusí desire is expressed in this prayer, the desire for those whom God has given Him to be with Him in His glory.  I believe Jesus is still praying for those who would believe in the future.  Jesus says here that He is praying for those the Father has given Him.  We can certainly understand those to whom the Father has given Him to mean the disciples that were with Him as He spoke these words, but, if Jesus is still praying for you and I, then, we should understand that you and I have been given Jesus from the Father.  You can I have been chosen by God.  This may sound Calvinistic, but we have to deal with what Jesus is saying here. I am not a Calvinist, but I do believe that we just can't come to Jesus any old time we want and be saved.  The Holy Spirit, from the Father, must draw us.  It is at the time when we must decide whether to respond to the Holy Spirit or not.      

 

So, we see here that Jesus wants us believers to be with Him, which could mean in Heaven.  His glory, the glory He had with the Father before creation was fully realized when He returned to the Father.  This is where Jesus now is.  This is where Jesus wants us.  We are there in one sense of the word, that is through the Holy Spirit, but we arenít their in a physical sense of the word.  We will be once we die.   

This chapter ends in verses 25 and 26 with Jesus calling His Father righteous and that the world doesnít know the Father, but He knows Him, and His followers know that the Father sent Him.  In verse 26 Jesus says that He has made the Father known to His followers and will continue to do so.  This will happen through the Holy Spirit when all believers receive Him.  All this Jesus does so His love will be in us, and most of all He Himself will be in us.  We note here that Jesus lives in us, via the Holy Spirit.  Here we see the dual nature of the Son and the Spirit.  Remember, the Holy Spirit is often called the Spirit of Christ in the New Testament.

 

This chapter shows us the importance of love and unity n the Body of Christ, something that has always been sadly lacking, but remember, love is sometimes tough love.  Love must be demonstrated within the boundaries of truth or else it is not real love.  There will come a day when this complete unity will be realized and it will come when Jesus returns to earth.    

 

The last words of this chapter are, "that I myself may be in them."  I doubt that the disciples would have understood these words.  Remember, they are confused enough as it is and now Jesus prays that He will be inside of them.  I can't see them understanding this, but of course, Jesus was speaking of Him being inside of them in Spirit form, as He would later be as seen in Acts 2.  

 

Jesus also prays that the love that His Father has for Him may be in us.  There is not doubt about it.  This prayer has yet to be answered.  

Thus ends the longest prayer we see Jesus praying in Scripture.  Jesus wants the glory that He had with the Father before the foundation of the world to be seen in us.  This glory is that perfect unity that they had, but has been somewhat broken because of the humanness of Jesus on earth.  Beyond this, Jesus prays for both the present day followers and those who would believe in future days.  He prays for our unity so the world will know that He came from God.  This is what the world needs to know.

   

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