“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in Me through their message.” John 17:20 (NLT)
Did you know that Jesus prayed for you? In fact, it is the longest recorded prayer in the New Testament. You can read His prayer in John 17. It takes the entire chapter, and it occurs the evening before His crucifixion! As He prays for His disciples, Jesus includes you and me specifically! He says,
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in Me through their message.” (Vs. 20)
What did Jesus pray on our behalf as He interceded to the Father for us?
- He prayed for our protection from the evil one. (Vs. 11-15)
- He prayed for us to be holy. (Vs. 17-19)
- He prayed for our unity. (Vs. 11; 21-23)
This world is a battleground! The normal state of affairs for every true child of God is spiritual warfare. But, we need not despair because, in Christ, we have over overcome the world, and greater is He who lives IN us than he who lives in the world. Or, as one friend of mine put it, “Greater is He who is in me than he who is after me!”
Jesus didn’t pray that God would remove us from the world but that, while we were in the world, God would protect us from the evil one so that we may live holy lives. The distinctive difference of a Christ follower is the conduct of their lives. It should be demonstratively obvious by what you do and say and are that Christ lives and reigns in you. Jesus gave Himself for us as a holy sacrifice so that we may be made holy by His Word. Your time in God’s Word changes you from the inside out, making you holy so that those who encounter you can see that there is a quality of your life that has no other possible explanation but Christ in you! That kind of life glorifies God!
Jesus prayed that we would be one in Him as He is one with God! Our unity is by virtue of His presence indwelling us! He alone makes us one. Look for the Christ in others that lives in you and celebrate your unity in Him! Jesus said that kind of unity would change the world! One of the great identifying symbols for that unity that Jesus gave us is baptism. Baptism identifies us with His death, burial and resurrection as we are immersed in the water and raised to walk in newness of the risen life He shares with us today. Baptism also identifies us with one another as Christ followers. Our unity is in Christ, just as His unity was in the Father.
If you haven’t experienced the joy of that unity through baptism, I want to personally invite you to join us this weekend at Woodlands Church for our Super Summer Baptism 2 Celebration! Almost 600 people took that step of believer’s baptism earlier this month, and we are extending that opportunity to you this weekend at all of our campuses following each service.
Register now to join us for the celebration! Let’s be the answer to Jesus’ prayer for unity.