I often have thought about the last supper with Jesus, in the upper room, reclining with his disciples, and how special it would be to have been there. Reading from John’s perspective, Jesus just spoke as the apostles ate. Who doesn’t love eating and entertainment with your favorite people? I don’t think the disciples knew how sacred these moments were. We do. We read these with our ears turned out and our eyes zoomed in at every word Jesus spoke here (at least we should), hours before he was betrayed and arrested. There’s SO much gold in John chapters 13-17, but I am going to focus on Jesus’ prayer. I would have loved to sit in the presence of Jesus and hear His conversation with God. We can sit in Jesus’ presence right now, but to hear that audible voice interceding for us would be propelling. John records it for us. We can know what Jesus prayed over his disciples before they followed him to the garden.
Here are my morning devotional take aways on Jesus’ prayer:
Jesus was all about glorifying the Father, and he was focused on the mission God sent him on. The mission Jesus was sent for was to make God the Father known on earth through His Son’s very existence, influence, and miracles. God is made known through Jesus which gives eternal life to those who believe in Him. Jesus prays for God’s continual glory as he closes his time upon the earth. Words of inspiration for those of us who grow tired of doing good and giving love to others. Jesus continued to commune with the Father to receive what he needed to press on and end his time here well. (John 17:1-5)
Jesus prays for unity three times. In verses 11, 21, and 22, Jesus speaks of being one with his Father, and that the disciples would be one as they are one. “That they may all be one… that they may be perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” Dear friends, why do we not prioritize this in the church? If we do not unify, Christ will not be glorified. If we do not lock arms with our believing brothers in sisters, the world will not see Jesus’ love. Jesus prays over this three times before he walks into the garden, knowing he is going to be handed over to those planning his death. He loves anyway. He prays anyway. He chooses to believe the best in his followers’ futures and have hope despite the circumstances.
Jesus prays for our fulfilled joy in him. Jesus takes time to pray for our joy on his way to the cross. He knows that in him is the only place that we will find joy. We can try anything, we can buy anything, we can be with anyone, we can pretend like we don’t need him, but we can only be fully filled by Jesus Christ. (John 17:13)
Jesus prays for the set apartness in truth for his followers (John 17:17,18). He emphasizes that we are to be in the world. He says that 3 times! We are called to be in the world, not taken out of the world, and walking out truth. Not living for the evil one (he prays God’s protection), but living holy lives as instruments for God’s glory. Jesus’ very example was for us to know how to live set apart on earth, within the truth of God’s word, so that we can walk amongst the unbelieving and mirror Christ-likeness.
Jesus made the Father’s name known (John 17:26). It’s all about tapping into Jesus’ love so that we can make God’s name known on this earth. He did it, and now we are meant to do that. I really believe we as the Church have overcomplicated this. The Church has drowned out the love of Christ with rules, regulations, traditions, over emphasized theology and puffy knowledge, and we’ve blown our witness. Ironically, we are the disciples and yet we are also those who nailed Jesus to the cross. We are the guilty, He is the hero. We are imperfect, He is the spotless lamb making his way down to be slaughtered. We know what happens, and we can rejoice because of his obedience and sacrifice. We can live and glorify God through our lives, representing Jesus’ love as we love one another.