The importance of unity in the body of Christ: cannot be overstated. Our passage today is entirely Jesus the Christ praying to God the Father. If they are one, why does Jesus pray? Mystery of the Incarnation / authority structure. What a lesson on prayer! We would all do well to pray for these exact things. The scene is the garden of Gethsemane… Jesus goes off to pray…
This chapter documents a series of statements / prayers. It starts with the disciples who are with Him and includes all who would be disciples. The prayers of Christ we are going to look at today are mostly about unity. These are the basis of what Jesus’ church has always united around [traditionally] Traditional…what does that word say to you?
Christ prays for the ways that we are to be unified and that we will understand what we are to unite around. If have to be united around important things / The most important things. In this ‘High Priestly’ prayer Christ prays into existence core aspects of His Body.
John 17: 13-26 (NKJV)
13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
- Christ approaches The Father in prayer to ask that HIS joy be fulfilled in US
- What makes that happen is God’s Word / Scripture
- If we accept the truth of God’s world we will be despised by ‘this world’
- This is good because it unties us with Christ in being otherworldly
15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
- We are called to stay involved with this world but not to belong to it
- As we engage culture Christ prays for those who are HIS to be protected
- Christ asks that we be apart by His truth [Traditional interpretation of Scripture]
- God’s Word is the source of truth
18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
- Christ prays for us to be sent just as He was… to show the world who God is
- To enable this, Christ set Himself apart for us. That same truth can set us apart
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
- Everything HE prayed previously focused on the 11 also includes all believers
- All of these prayers include those who believe in Him based on The Apostles
- That we would believe their testimony… which we call the ‘New Testament’
- We would be united around Their Gospel the way The Father & Son are united
- In that unity we become one with The Trinity / God of the Scriptures
- Our unity with God and each other proves that Jesus is ‘Heaven Sent’
22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
- The glory of being God incarnate, being Lord and Savior
- Christ Prays His body will share in the unity of the Trinity!
- It will be a reflection of the perfect unity found among Spirit, Son & Father
- Being grown in this unity will be perfecting / sanctifying
- This refining unity results in our lives being a convincing witness / apologetic
- Christ prays our unity will make people believe God came & God loves them
24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me, may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
- Christ prays that those who God makes His possession will go where He is
- In heaven we will see the glory of the Godhead
- Love has always existed in The self-existent GODHEAD
25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
- Praying in recognition of The Father…
- Acknowledging that this sin infected world cannot know Who God is
- Christ identifies those God gives Him as knowing God as He does (human)
- Christ in coming declared exactly who God is…’His Name’ is love! [essence]
- Christ prays that that God’s pure love would be in HIS surrendered disciples
- He prays that HE Himself will be in those redeemed people!
Those redeemed people, based on Scripture, are those who have surrendered their life to the Lordship of Jesus the Christ.
And in doing so become one with their Lord, sharing in bits of the perfect unity Christ, The Father and The Spirit have.
Christ prays that His followers would unite around Traditional Biblical Truth. Traditionally interpreted Scripture stands in opposition to all other worldviews. We unite around different ideals resulting in a different orientation to God / Jesus Christ.
Christ prays that we would unite around a mission of interacting with secular culture under God’s protection. His otherworldliness comes from The Truth of who He is. Our unity around His Truth gives us otherworldliness.
Christ prays we would unite around the belief that HE transforms us to be sent on HIS gospel mission through HIS sacrifice. We unite in the belief that the Biblical Gospel was given through the Apostolic Church.
Christ prays our belief in Scripture creates shared values, standards and principles that we unite around. Our unity around the Biblical Christ proves He is God.
Christ prays that HIS glory comes to us through HIS indwelling Spirit, enabling our unity ‘In Christ’. This unity proves God came as Jesus of Nazareth to bring His unconditional love to us, as one of us.
Christ prays that those who belong to HIM will spend eternity united with the glory of the self-existent Triune Godhead! Christ has revealed who God truly is and His love unites His followers forever!
In what specific areas of your life are you tempted to conform to the world around you instead of uniting with Christ’s followers around Biblical truth?
How comfortable are you with being ‘Otherworldly’ to the popular culture? What is your level of confidence that God will protect you if you live fully for Him?
How has God changed you since surrendering your life to Christ that makes you a more Christ-like ambassador?
What level of priority do you place upon being united with the leadership and membership of this Body?