John 17: 1-26

Regan NeudorfDevotionalsLeave a Comment

A picture of wheat with words that read "I have given them the glory that you gave me. That they may be one as we are one-I in them and you in me-so that they may be brought to complete unity" (John 17:22-23).

Scripture Reading:

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.  I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.  For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so 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.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”


Devotional:

I love being active, but I am not very athletic. It takes a lot of mental energy and focus for me to play a sport well. My dad on the other hand, is a natural athlete and any “success” that I have had in sports I attribute to all that he has taught me. Whether I’m working out in the morning or throwing a football around with my niece and nephew—I still find myself walking through the many tips and techniques that he has taught me over the years. However, the one sport that stands out the most is baseball.

I can recount hours and hours of time practicing hitting, throwing, and catching in the park beside our home—sometimes even until the sun went down. Why do these moments stand out? Because there are SO many of them; we trained and practised A LOT.

I’d love to say that all of this time spent together was due to our shared love of the game but the truth is … I was terrible at baseball.

And no matter how much time my dad invested, I didn’t seem to get any better. Actually, that’s not true, there were some small improvements but despite the numerous weekend and evening training sessions, I would never be a natural baseball player like him. Also, the only times where I was able to exude any form of skill, was when I would meticulously walk through every movement and motion he taught me. Every successful throw, hit, or catch—on or off the field—was a result of me following my dad’s instructions. I am so thankful for all the time my dad spent with me but having to remember every little detail was exhausting.

Once, in a moment of frustration during my third season, I remember thinking to myself:

“I will NEVER be the best player; let alone a good one.
But, what I can be is the best team member.
I’ll encourage and cheer everyone else on.”

Sacrificing something for the team is not a bad thing, however, in choosing to be a cheerleader, I gave up on being a player; and it showed. I may have felt more and more confident on the bench, but with every at-bat or inning out in the field, I thought less and less about what my dad had taught me and focused more and more on what was easiest for me.

Earlier in John, we read this statement from Jesus:

“Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself;
he can do only what he sees his Father doing,
because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”1

By spending time with His Father, Jesus does in fact receive direction from His Father, however, there is so much more that comes from being in His presence.

N.T. Wright makes this observation:

“Jesus’ prayer is a living embodiment of that intimate union with the father … the prayer draws together everything that the gospel story has been about up to this point.”2

We see this in John 17—as Jesus anticipates the cross—He not only listens to and obeys His Father’s voice, but by simply spending time with His dad, He is confident in His identity, sense of belonging, and purpose.

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him… I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”

Yes, Jesus makes a sacrifice for “the team” but in doing so does not sacrifice who He is, whose He is, and what He has been asked to do. In His Father’s presence, Jesus’ identity, sense of belonging, and purpose remained whole and complete.

When we consider Jesus’ request for us,

I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”,

this is not just a prayer for unity for the Body, but a desire to see all who follow Him experiencing the same oneness and wholeness as an individual or member of the Body. And the more we listen and spend time in His presence—individually and corporately—the clearer the Gospel message will be in us and through us:

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so 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.”

1 John 5:19
2 Wright, N. T. John for Everyone, Part 2: Chapters 11-21. Westminster John Knox Press, 2015.


Prayer:

Father, as we spend time in Your presence may Your Spirit help us to live a life of “perfect oneness”. We confess the times where we have ignored Your voice, given up on ourselves and sacrificed things for others that You were not asking us to do. May Your reconciling love and grace through Jesus continue to make us whole, and just as Jesus prayed for us, help us to follow His example, and to also pray for others. By Your Spirit, draw them into Your presence—to not only believe—but to know and experience Your love.


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