17:20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me."
Jesus has prayed for the eleven, now He turns to the rest of us. Jesus invested Himself in these men. He showed them things and told them things that no one else saw or heard. One Seed became eleven seeds. Those eleven seeds became millions of seeds as they shared not only what they knew but more importantly what they had become through their connection with Jesus.
As the book of Acts unfolds we get front row seats to the explosive growth of those who chose to follow Him through the living witness of Peter, James, John and all the rest.
Now Jesus begins to pray for these new believers and by extension is praying for us. What request does He make? What does He want for us? What is His dream for those who choose Him?
It sounds pretty basic what He says. He wants us to be one just as He and His Father are one. He also says why He wants that for us. He wants our lives to be a witness so that the world will believe in Him. He wants a chain reaction of living witnesses who in their living are undeniable proof of the reality of God.
What does this oneness look like? What exactly is Jesus praying for?
When people get married we say that two become one. We use visual symbols like two candles to light one larger candle or mixing two colours of sand together. We say they are one and we draw up legal documents and we make incredibly vast and comprehensive promises. However many of these couples do not become one. Often sooner and sometimes later they decide they just can't be together any more. They decide they aren't really one after all. For some it happens shockingly fast. For example Britney Spears first marriage ended after 55 hours. Some marriages seem fine until a major test or life changing event occurs. Statistics say only 10% of marriages survive the loss of a child.
Jesus is not speaking of a temporary oneness. He is not speaking of a oneness that can be here today and broken tomorrow. He is speaking of a bond so real that there is no possibility of creating two from it. The eleven were all in. They had left everything and changed everything in their lives so that they could be with Jesus. We'll even see as we go forward that their denial of Him was actually caused by their love for Him.
People love true stories of romance because each contains the promise or at least the hope that such love can exist.
The love Jesus had for His Father and for us was limitless. It was self denying and self sacrificing. His prayer was that that love be replicated in us. He did not want self sacrificing love to end with Him. He knew the only antidote to the fear, insecurity, anger, and hate in the world was self denying love.
I sense that more every day the world is in need of such love. I am strengthened by the fact Jesus prayed for it to be a reality because He also said whatever we ask for in prayer that is in harmony with the character of God will be given. It was given to the eleven and it has been alive in every age.
"Father answer His prayer again - in us!"