“ I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
John 17: 22-23
John 16-18 (Psalm 110)
The context of these passages is important. The last supper has finished and Jesus is teaching and praying before they walk to the Garden of Gethsemane where He is betrayed and arrested. The grace, peace and power of Christ is truly amazing when we consider that He knew what was coming. Instead of fear and timidity we see Him warn His disciples of persecution, teach about the threefold ministry and role of the Holy Spirit and then pray. He teaches that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement, thus confirming humankind’s need of Christ. The Spirit will always guide to Jesus; to truth. He prays for His mission to succeed (God to be glorified through Him), then He prays for His disciples and all believers. This before He immediately experiences the persecution He warned about. He demonstrates power and self-control at His arrest and grace and truth at His interrogations.
Compare His poise with that of the other characters in these chapters. Peter fulfills Christ’s prophesy and denies the Lord three times. God’s people, Annas and Caiaphas (those that should be supporting and championing Him), question and assault Him before handing Him over to Pilate. Pilate asks the all-important question, “What is truth?” yet fails to recognise the truth personified in Jesus. Finally, the crowd demand a notorious prisoner be released instead of the Saviour of the world.
Jesus’ grace, peace and power came from His intimate relationship with His Father and obedience to God’s will. He told His disciples and tells us that our belief in God through Him will give us that same grace, peace and power. The secret is a similar unity with God, and with one another, empowered by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In this relationship we can overcome fear, the persecution of the world and ask God anything (16:23-24, 33; 17: 20-23). The proof of these words can be found in Jesus’ example and in Peter’s. Jesus overcame death and the world, Peter overcame failure and empowered by God became the rock on which the Church was built. Pain leads to plenty, and death to life – it is the law of the Kingdom (from In the Hour of Silence).
The call for us is to focus on our relationship with God, through Jesus, above all else. Seek ye first the Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to us as well (Matthew 6: 33). Isn’t it amazing that God gives us the ability to participate in His divine nature (2 Peter 1: 4) and tells us how to (2 Peter 1: 3-11)!
The Question of Application
How might you grow in unity with God and with your sisters and brothers in Christ?
Father we ask that we will believe in You through the message of Jesus Christ. May we be one, Father, just as you are in Jesus and He is in You. May we also be in You so that the world may believe that you sent Jesus. May we receive the glory that you gave your Son, that we may be one as You are one, Jesus in us as You are in Him, so that we may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent Jesus and have loved us even as you have loved Him. Amen
Based on Jesus’ prayer - John 17: 20-23
We are the Body of Christ – Brook Hills Music
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.