Today is the final sermon in our series on prayer. We are looking at John 17:1-26. Jesus is about to go to the cross to die for our sins and so in this prayer He reveals His concerns and priorities for His own mission in the world and that of His disciples. In fact this prayer teaches deep truths about God and His purposes for us.
Jesus in v1 speaks about his time or the hour. This use of hour is quite common in John’s Gospel because the hour to which Jesus moves is His death. In John’s Gospel the hour or the death of Jesus is the climactic event of His ministry - see John 12:27-28,31-32, 13:1. There is a lot of background packed behind these verses. Jesus has come to restore people back into fellowship with Him because our sin has broken that relationship. Being reconciled to God is something we cannot do for ourselves. Only God can do it for us through the power of His death. Many people try to “save” themselves by trying to be good enough. The death of Jesus for our sins is a most comforting truth because it means we can rest in the finished work of Christ and enjoy His acceptance and love.
In v11 Jesus prays that His disciples may be one – united together. Often a mistake of Christians is to think that we can achieve an organizational unity. We cannot because the unity from God is a gift to be accepted by faith and is the result of Christ in us. In v20-23 there is a profound truth that our unity is based on the fact that Jesus is in us. John doesn’t elaborate how this occurs but we know that through the work of the Holy Spirit a person comes to faith and the Holy Spirit lives us. What we actually share is more than the truth that God loves us. We are allowed and enabled to share in the love between the Father and the Son. We are drawn into the relationship of the godhead – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Spiritually when we come to faith in Jesus we share in this perfect love and joy which the Father and Son enjoy and share with each other and it is the person of the Holy Spirit who applies these benefits to us as we repent of sin and put our faith in Jesus’ death. So our relationship with God is more than God loving us, true though that is (John 3:16). We participate in this perfect love.This is a spiritual reality now if you have put your faith in Jesus. Let that touch you.Jesus also prays for us to be protected through His name – 17:12. This protection is directed to our unity because the love we have for one another and share in is a witness to the world of God’s love. Further this protection doesn’t mean withdrawal from the world 17:15-16. God doesn’t take us out of the world but rather sends us into the world to be distinctive. Too many churches and Christians retreat from the world. We must engage and build relationships with the world and have confidence that God will use us and that His message is powerful and that people will come to faith through the message - 17:20. Be encouraged God is using us and His message is powerful ! God’s richest blessing Rev David O’Mara (email@example.com)