“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)
It was the night before His crucifixion. John records all that Jesus said to His disciples in John chapters 13-17, before He was arrested in the garden and led to the cross the following day. Jesus was preparing His disciples and us for all that was about to happen. These chapters are best read in one setting to grasp the impact they would have on the disciples that evening.
He concluded His talk with His longest recorded prayer in the New Testament. The entire Chapter of John 17 is Jesus’ prayer. 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)
“Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your name … My prayer is not that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one.” John 17:11, 15 (NIV)
- He prayed for us to be holy. (Vs. 17-19)
“Make them holy by Your truth; teach them Your word, which is truth … And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by Your truth.” John 17:17, 19 (NLT)
- He prayed for our unity. (Vs. 11; 21-23)
“I pray that they will all be one, just as You and I are one—as You are in Me, Father, and I am in You. And may they be in Us so that the world will believe You sent Me. I have given them the glory you gave Me, so they may be one as We are one. I am in them and You are in Me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent Me and that You love them as much as You love Me.” John 17:21-23 (NLT)
This world is a battle ground! The normal state of affairs for every true child of God is spiritual warfare. You may be feeling that now more than ever! We need not despair because in Christ we have 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 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 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!