God has given us the privilege of prayer as a way to communicate with our gracious and loving heavenly Father. Christian prayer is always directed to God in Jesus' name and offered in the power of the Holy Spirit. Have you ever wondered what Jesus' prayer is for you?
John 17 is really the Lord's prayer, not the traditional "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name (Matthew 6:9). That one is actually the disciples prayer. Jesus' disciples asked Him how they should pray, and He told them. John 17 is the Messiah of Israel speaking (praying) to His Father. It is a beautiful, heartfelt prayer in which Jesus shared His love for His disciples and His desire for those who would follow after them.
Jesus began by acknowledging, "The hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify you" (v.1). "The hour" was the time for our salvation to be secured. Jesus was born to die; that was His ministry. He came to "seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke. 19:10) and "give eternal life" to many (John 17:2).
His prayer shows His deep love for His disciples: "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours" (v.9). Judas, "the son of perdition," is the only one of the 12 disciples who would ultimately be lost because he betrayed the Messiah (v.12).
"I do not pray for these alone [the disciples], but also for those who will believe in Me through their word" (v.20). That means you and me. We are the direct result of the ministry of the 11 remaining disciples, along with the apostle Paul. These men were used to communicate the life-transforming gospel message that still changes lives today. All who have embraced Jesus as Savior since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit are "those who will believe in Me through their word."
Jesus' desire for all His followers - from the disciples' day to now - is "that they also may be one" (v. 21). Unity implies harmony or agreement. Jesus' desire for His followers is that they would be of like heart and mind (Philippians 2:4-5).
Satan's plan, on the other hand, is to separate and conquer. He works to fracture the Lord's flock, causing believers to disagree even over such issues as sanctuary paint colors. Jesus wants His followers to "be one just as We (Father and Son) are one" (John 17:22).
Why is unity so vital to the Lord? Because it is through the harmony of believers "that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me" (v.23).
Apparently the love of believers for one another impacts souls for Jesus and gives many a desire to possess the deep and permanent love, peace, and joy that can only come from knowing Christ.(1)
1). Written by Thomas C. Simcox, Northeastern States director for The Friends of Israel.
Article slightly shortened. For full article please read Israel My Glory March/April 2011 p.27.
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