John 17 – Jesus is praying in the garden, praying for his 12, perhaps 11. He prays knowing the hatred and vitriol that will come against them. He prays not for removal, but protection, because the task is important. He says, So sanctify them… That is, make them holy (hagiazo) dedicate, anoint, ordain – How? What sets us apart? Truth in the Word. Then he clarifies and expands in v20 NOT ONLY for these, but also for THOSE who believe in me through their word.
– That’s US
He prays for US, may they all be one… may they also be in us… SO THAT the world may believe you sent me…
It’s so simple and yet complex. What’s the defining image of this unity that Jesus prayed for in us? As you, Father, are in me and I am in you. So, we are not imagining that we become gods, nor perfection, but there is something we are striving toward. And I’m immediately mindful of 2 Peter 1:3-4, his divine power has given all we need for life and godliness… so that you may share in / participate in divine nature. How? Peter says, through knowledge of him who called us… he has given us great and precious promises so that through them we may share in divine nature, escaping the corruption in the world.
Hmmm… and Jesus prayed that we would believe in the word and that we are sanctified in the word. Could it be that his Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path that we might not sin against God? (Ps119:105) Hmmm… I seem to remember that verse being conveniently in nearly the middle of the Bible.
So, Jesus says we need to be ONE as he is one with the Father. And Jesus said, he only does what he sees the Father doing (John 5:19). And we know that the Father is glorifying the son and placing all things under his feet. Could UNITY be as “simple” as only doing what the Father is doing, seeking that the Kingdom Come, his will be done on earth as it is in heaven? Could unity be as simple as following the Father’s Will to Glorify the Son and place everything under his feet and NOT under our own thumb? Could it be that when unity escapes us that we are simply out of line with this simple purpose?
Oh don’t get me wrong – there will be assignments for us as individual churches that are different and even divide us in task, but there can be a difference in tasks without disunity being the result. Our human understanding even may separate our tasks – but we don’t have to be disunified from our desire to be ONE in our commitment to the Work of the Father to Glorify the Son and the Son’s commitment to follow the Father, and all happens in the power of The Spirit.
Why? So That the world may believe that Jesus is FROM the Father. v22 says I have given them glory. Doxa – I love that word, it speaks of weight, reputation, heaviness, honor. Any good name we have is for the purpose of unity, being ONE – evhen = alike, alone, common. Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct and yet one, and so can we be one. I am in them and you are in me so that they may be COMPLETELY One. That word should sound familiar – teleioo – perfect, finished That’s a Cross Victory word. Salvation was finished at the cross, and yet he is still finishing, sanctifying us, and as we release self toward this unity, then we are moving toward the Bigger Picture
– v23 that the world may know you sent me AND have loved THEM as you have loved me …
Hmmm… could it be that when we aren’t committed to John 17:21-26 being a reality that it makes it harder for the world to believe John 3:16 is true for them? Praise God it isn’t impossible, but it certainly IS harder – yes.
Lord, let v26 be true of me/us I have made your name known to them and will continue to make it known so that the love you have loved me with may be in them