Summary: In the third part of Jesus' High Priestly prayer Jesus prays for all future believers. In this part of the prayer, Jesus shows the significance of sharing in the Unity and Oneness of the the Godhead.
6 5 2016 “Jesus Prays for Future Followers” John 17:20-26
We have been looking at John 17 and are witnesses of Jesus’ prayer before He is arrested. We looked at the first two parts, the prayer for Himself and for His immediate disciples and in John 17:20-26, Jesus prays for all future believers followers of Jesus.
Look first at John 17:20-23: "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.”
The Success of the Word preached
God promised in Isaiah 55:11: “My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Jesus came as the very Word of God in the Flesh. He trained the original disciples by His life and teaching, by His amazing atoning death and resurrection, His ascension and sending of His Holy Spirit so that the disciples would be thoroughly and completely equipped for the mission of sharing the Gospel throughout the World. God’s Word accomplishes what He desires. The present disciples would proclaim the Gospel to others with SUCCESS.
In verse 20 Jesus prays for “those who WILL BELIEVE in Me through their word.” It would be inevitable that the preaching of the Gospel would be successful because it is the very work of God to do so. The building of His Kingdom is God’s program, bringing under His rule, those He has ordained to be His Children to serve Him forever.
Unity or Oneness
In verse 21 Jesus again speaks of the Unity or Oneness of the Father in the Son and the Son in the Father, and then this same type of unity (oneness) displayed in ALL Disciples. Listen to vs. 21: “that they all may be one,(that is, ALL BELIEVERS) 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.” There is an assurance here first of all: ALL TRUE BELIEVERS WILL BE ONE in the same way that the Father and Son are ONE. All Believers constitute the “BODY of Christ.” They are the Body of Believers and have been placed “IN CHRIST” by the Word of Jesus on the Cross. They have been born into the Kingdom of God SO THAT they would be one with the Father and one with the Son.
Secondly, this is not merely an invisible or “spiritual” unity, but one that would be visible in the world so that unbelievers would be drawn to Jesus and believe that God sent Him. This is a remarkable verse because God is telling us that the Unity of Believers is a Witness to the world. This is an assurance for Believers but also the Unity of believers is an instrument of God in an ungodly world “that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
There is a pattern of unity that is characteristic of the Father and the Son, and the Son and the follower of Christ. Verse 22 goes on to explain: “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one.” The Glory of God is God’s revelation of Himself. It is God’s activity and works among His People. In this manifestation, God is revealed for WHO HE IS. God’s self-disclosure is in the person of Jesus and is brought to full witness in His life and work as the Mediator on the cross for the salvation of mankind. Those who BELIEVE in the work of the Son share the GLORY OF GOD in knowing Him THROUGH His Revealed REDEMPTION.
One of the ways that the Glory of God was manifested in Jesus was in His servanthood: He came to serve not to be served. Jesus went to the cross to reveal God’s Glory and grace: We are called to serve Him and others in humility. That is part of the Glory of God in us, not to be worshiped and adored, but to be followers and imitators of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:1-2 says: “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”