The night before Jesus died, he prayed for “those who will believe in me through their (his disciples) word” (John 17:20). Jesus prayed for you and me just before he left the upper room to go to the Garden. The timing of his prayer fills his words with deep meaning. Jesus prayed for us, and his requests are certain to be answered. What did Jesus ask his Abba Father to do for us?
Jesus prayed that we “may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us” (John 17:21). Jesus wanted us to have the same “Abba” relationship with God that he had. He wanted us to be as close to him as he was with God. Jesus used to go places so that he could be alone with his Abba, and just talk. He went to the Garden to spend time with God and find the strength he would need for the difficult time ahead. Jesus wanted us to have that same blessing in our lives. We need to turn the world off so we can spend time talking with Jesus. He prayed that we would have the same relationship with him that he had known with God.
The rest of the verse explains why Jesus prayed we would have that close and powerful relationship with his Abba. He wanted us to be one with him: “so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (17:21). Our close relationship with Jesus is the power of our witness. We can try to live like Jesus lived or we can do what Jesus did. He went to the Garden and to the lonely places so he could spend time with his Abba. Our witness will be strong when we have spent that kind of time with Jesus. The world will believe in Jesus when they see him present and powerful in our lives.
The next thing Jesus prayed is found in John 17:22–23: “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” I sometimes wonder what Jesus looked like when he walked on this earth. I don’t know what he looked like physically, but spiritually, Jesus shone with the glory of God. And just imagine, Jesus prayed that we would understand that God loved us, just like he knew God loved him. God loves you with a complete and unconditional love. You are his child, too.
Next, Jesus prayed that his Father would take us to heaven someday. He said, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (v. 24). Jesus knew that he would be in heaven when you and I lived on earth. He wanted us to see him in glory, be with him in heaven. God answered every prayer his Son prayed. You and I will see Jesus in his glory someday. The heavens could open up in our lifetime and Jesus could return. Even if we don’t see his final coming, we are guaranteed that we will walk the streets of heaven and see him face to face. Jesus prayed for that, and God will answer his Son’s prayers.
Right before Jesus left for the Garden, he concluded his prayer for you and me, saying, “O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (25–26). Jesus came to earth so that he could help us know his righteous Father. Jesus was the human example of God’s love for us, and that love was the power of God to bring others to faith. Agape love results from being one with Jesus, who is one with God. That power comes through the very real person and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
We can be one with Jesus, just like he was one with God. We can share God’s love with others, just like Jesus shared his love with his disciples and with us. We can shine with God’s glory just as Jesus shone with that glory. The only question is this: will we make our relationship with Jesus the most important relationship in our lives? Spending time with Jesus is spending time with God.
Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and then used the time that followed to share his final lessons. He concluded that time by praying for them. Then Jesus prayed for us. You and I have received the answers to Jesus’ prayer, and we have become those answers. We are his disciples now. Spend some quiet time with Jesus so that you can be one with him and so that his glory will shine in you today.
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