John 17

1-5: What is your definition of glory? How does it happen? In Jesus’ prayer He shows that it happens through suffering. Jesus will glorify the Father by going to the cross. He is obeying God and completing His mission to give eternal life to everyone the Father has given to Him. The Father will glorify the Son through the resurrection and the ascension, bringing Jesus back home to be with Him.

6-19: Next, Jesus prays for the disciples. He has revealed the Father to them, and has given them the Father’s words. He has given Himself for them, He has kept them, and He has sent them out into a world that will hate them. Since He is leaving He prays for their safety, He prays for their joy, He prays for them to be unified, and He prays for them to continue in the truth. They have a special role to play and a mission to complete, and we see them fulfilling that mission in the book of Acts.

20-26: Finally, Jesus prays for us. He wants us to be one, just as He and the Father are one. Unfortunately, that has proven to be rather elusive over the centuries! Our oneness is supposed to let the world know the truth about Jesus, and the reality of God’s love.

So, here’s a question to ponder: what does it mean that Jesus’ prayer wasn’t answered? There is conflict in the book of Acts, there is conflict in the various churches in the New Testament, and there is ongoing conflict and division in the Church today. Perhaps we have a wrong understanding of oneness, or perhaps we have an insufficient understanding of prayer. Some look at what Jesus has said in the last few weeks and think that if we just have enough faith it means all of our prayers will be answered. Didn’t Jesus have enough faith here?!?!?! Of perhaps there is a lesson here about how far God will or won’t go in answering prayers. He doesn’t force us to be one, but encourages us to be one through His Spirit. I think that the greater lesson here may be that John, through the Spirit, recorded this prayer for us. At some point the onus is on us to try to answer it!

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