John 17 records what is commonly referred to Jesus’s high priestly prayer. He begins by praying for himself and the work he has done to glorify the Father (v.1-5), and the protection and sanctification of his disciples by the word of truth (v.6-19). Finally, Jesus would petition God on behalf of those who would believe, those who would become the Church. In a season where local churches all around the world are not allowed to gather, we must wonder, does God the Father answer the prayers of his own Son, Jesus?
"May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me." (John 17:21)
First, Christ prays that the church would be one. In other words Christ prays that the church would be unified in such a way it shows the love of God to the dying world so that they may believe. Since the resurrection of Jesus from the grave and his ascension, one of the primary ways that the church has displayed this unity is by gathering with one another around the Word of God on Sunday morning. In this season of life we are not able to do this, but there is a gracious provision that God has given his people: it is his Son. This is not the first time the church has been dispersed and unable to gather. Yet, because of Christ, we are still one. We are unified in the fact that even now the one we need, trust, depend, and turn to is still Jesus. Those in our homes, our neighborhoods, our Zoom conferences, and our social media, should see a cloud of witnesses that proclaim the glory of Christ over all. We know the love of God because we have been given his Son, Jesus. What better way to show a unified front of love in this time than to show that same love to the world. We have the privilege to be the answer to one of Jesus’s prayers because of his work on the cross, his resurrection, and you sharing his words with others.
"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so they will see my glory which you have given me because you loved me before the world’s foundation." (John 17:24)
Second, Christ prays that his church would not only be unified with him but they would also be present with him. Christ sees the importance of being present with one another. His prayer is that his church would not only display his glory, but his church would see his glory. My brothers and sisters one day we may be able to gather again as a body here on earth. Rest assured though, we will gather with our risen Savior one day in heaven, because Christ has made it possible for us to know God by his Word and continues to do so. Our LORD, “Remember your word to your servant; you have given me hope through it. This is my comfort in my affliction: Your promise has given me life.” - Psalm 119:49-50