“[Father,] I pray also for those who will believe in me . . . that they may be one as we are one . . . that they may be brought to complete unity.”
John 17:20, 22-23
My daughters and I were privileged to be at their mother’s bedside when she spoke her last words. There is something very special about people’s final words.
Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is his final prayer with his disciples—just prior to his struggles in the garden and his betrayal, trial, and crucifixion. These words reveal his heart for all who believe in him!
Note what Jesus did not pray for. He did not pray for victory over Roman oppressors. He did not plead for the health and wealth of his followers. He did not ask for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He did not even mention concern over worship practices or theological questions.
Jesus prayed for unity!
His prayer was that all who believe in him would be united with God and therefore be united with one another in “complete unity”—in all the days and years that followed!
Earlier that same evening Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. . . . By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
Love is an action word. As lovers of God, pray daily for grace to love your neighbors as yourself. That is what Jesus wants.
Father, Son, and Spirit, your love is amazing. Fill us so full of your love that it overflows to all of us and our neighbors, making us one in you. Amen.