Jesus' Prayer for You
“… that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:23b (NIV)
I treasure reading about the last moments of Jesus’ life with His friends in the Upper Room, especially around Easter. But at the same time, my heart aches. He knew all that was about to happen to Him. Within hours of this last time together, He knew:
— One of them would betray Him.
— The others would not stand with Him.
— He would soon endure extreme brutality all alone.
And yet, somehow He was focused enough to stay very present in this moment instead of living in dread of the horrific moments to come.
Yes, on this night over 2,000 years ago, they ate together. They drank together. They experienced Jesus’ last supper together.
Then He prayed. For Himself. For the disciples.
And then for you and for me.
The fact that Jesus thought of and prayed for us in these final moments astounds me.
I need to read what He prayed. But even more importantly, I need to live what He prayed.
“… that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:23b)
May those of us whom He brought to complete unity let the world know about Jesus and His love.
Of all the many things He could have prayed for us, it was unity and love. That’s what He prayed. But is this what we live?
Do I see unity and love in the way Christians speak about one another online?
Do I see unity and love in the way I handle frustrations?
Do I see unity and love in the way I process people who think differently than I do?
Do I see unity and love between pastors and churches and denominations?
Sometimes I do. But heartbreakingly, many times I don’t.
If I don’t see what should be the defining marks for us Christians, what must the onlooking world think?
These are hard questions, but they’re necessary questions. Ones that are good for me to address in my own life.
I think I’m finally understanding that I don’t have to bend my beliefs or compromise my understanding of Scripture to walk in unity and love with others. We can be united by our love for Jesus even if we’re divided on the specific issues.
The main thing is Jesus. And I guess everything else will be sorted out with crystal clarity in heaven.
This Easter, might we each choose to embrace a God-honoring unity and love in our lives. We honor Him most when we live His prayer.
Father God, You long for us to receive the love of Jesus and to live the love of Jesus. For us to walk in unity and in love. Help us to tear down the barriers we have constructed to keep others at a safe distance, especially the ones we struggle with or disagree with, and help us to simply and sincerely love one another. May our hearts be challenged and our lives be changed by Your call to unity and love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 12:9a, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.” (NLT)
John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Are there any people in your life you find it hard to walk in unity and love with? Spend some time in prayer today asking God to show you how you can begin to walk out Jesus’ prayer in these relationships.
Pray for unity today between our pastors, our churches and our denominations. When we walk in unity, we display the love of Jesus to the world — the kind of love that will draw unbelievers straight to the heart of God.