After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. “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. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
After the Last Supper, Jesus spent a long time talking with his disciples, which John records in chapters 13-16 of his gospel. He concludes this talk with the prayer that we find in John 17: when you get the chance, please read the entire prayer. In this prayer, Jesus prays for the glory of the Father and the mission of the church, praying first for himself (vs. 1-5), then for his disciples (vs. 6-19), and finally for all believers (vs. 20-26). It is a truly remarkable prayer.
Jesus asks the Father to glorify him so that he can glorify the Father, by his willing and perfect obedience, so that eternal life will flow to all those whom the Father has given to his Son. Then Jesus prays for all those whom the Father has given him, and says they are not of the world even as he is not of the world. This is truly a stunning statement! Jesus is saying that those who believe in him have more in common with him than with other human beings! Incredible! But that is only because God has sanctified us and will sanctify us. And finally, Jesus prays for all those who will believe in him, that they will be one as Jesus and the Father are one. The unity of the Trinity is not only the model for our unity: it is the foundation for it.
“Union with Christ is the central truth of the whole doctrine of salvation.” (John Murray) May we live joyfully and faithfully together as brothers and sisters in Christ, so that the world may see and believe that he is the Savior sent by God!
Jesus, I live to Thee,
The loveliest and best;
My life in Thee, Thy life in me,
In Thy blest love I rest. (Henry Harbaugh)