(Inspired by John 17:1-26)
Jesus stood on the Mount of Olives, looking across to the city of Jerusalem glowing in the moonlight. The Teacher had just finished encouraging His disciples on this sad night, and now He was contemplating His ministry.
He had spent almost three years revealing to the Jews what their heavenly Father was really like. In the Father’s name He had showed them miracles, wonders, and signs, and still most had rejected Him. Even now they were making their plans to kill Him.
The Teacher looked at His followers. They had been with Him the whole time, had seen it all, and heard every one of His lessons. But after all this, they understood so little and still lacked the genuine faith He tried to instill in them. As Jesus looked lovingly on His broken and weak disciples, He thought of one more thing He could do for them before He faced the horrible sacrifice He was about to make. He would pray for them.
“Well, Father,” Jesus began as He looked up to heaven, “the time has finally come. As I submit to this great plan of Yours, let the world finally see who I really am so that I can show the world who You really are. You gave Me, Your Son, authority over everyone for a specific purpose. There are some people in this world that You have given to Me, and My job is to use My authority to give eternal life to them.
“This life that I will give them is the best life they could ever imagine! It’s the most desirable and the highest form of life, and it lasts forever! It’s a life that they will spend intimately knowing You and Me. The more they learn of Us, the more amazed they will be, and the more like Us they will become! I can’t wait for them to experience it!
“Father, You gave Me the work You wanted Me to do while I was living on the earth, and I did all of it just as You wanted Me to do it. I did all of these things to show them Your power and majesty. Now, Father, I am about to finish Your glorious work of salvation. As I do and reveal to them Your glory, show them My glory in this work! Show them the glory that I had with You before the world began! Let them finally know Who I truly am!
Jesus turned and looked at His disciples. “You took these men out of the world and gave them to Me. I not only taught them Your words, but I also revealed Your very nature to them. Each one of them belonged to You, Father, and You gave them to Me. When I taught these men Your words, they hung on to them. They did not let go of Your words. They believed them and applied them to their lives. Your powerful words have changed these men. They now believe that everything that I have has come from You and that I have come from You.
“Before I leave them, I have some special requests that I want to make to You on their behalf and on behalf of those who will believe in Me through their words. I am not asking You to do these things for those in the world who don’t believe in Me, but for these who do believe because they are Yours, and You gave them to Me. They see who I really am and will tell others!
“I am coming home to You now, Father, but these men will be staying here in this dark and evil world. Since I will not be with them in this world as I have been, they will need lots of help from both of Us. Don’t let them fall back into their worldly, selfish natures. Keep them living their lives in Your righteous nature…the same nature they saw in Me! That’s the only way they can be united together as one like You and I are, Father. May they look at one another through YOUR eyes and relate to each other with YOUR heart!
“While I was living here with them, I kept them in Your nature. I guarded them and made sure that they saw the circumstances of life through Your eyes, Father, and not one of them have been lost except Judas, who ruined and wasted his life as the scripture predicted he would.
“But I’m finally getting to come home to You, Father. The reason I am saying this prayer to You out loud is for My friends here listening to Me. Even as I face what’s coming, I want them to know that I have great joy in what You and I are about to accomplish, and I want My joy to absolutely fill them up when they finally understand.
“I made sure to give My friends Your word, and just as We both knew would happen, the world has hated them. But even being hated by the world is a good thing because it shows them that they are not a part of the world anymore. They have become like Me. I’m not asking You to take them out of the world, Father. They still have great work to do for Us. I’m asking You to keep them out of the power of the evil one.
“I have called them to be like Me. I am not in any way a part of the world, and neither are they. I have given them Your word of truth, Father, and I’m asking You to set each of them apart to reveal Your truth to the whole world. Just like You sent Me into the world, so I am sending them.
“You know what I’m about to do, Father. I’m going to set Myself apart from all others to accomplish Your work of salvation. For this reason, I’m asking You to set them apart to spread Your truth and to complete their part in this great work. But if they are going to accomplish all this, My followers must be united together as one. I am not asking this just for these men here. I want all who believe in Me through their words to be united together as one, just like You and I are one. Divisions will occur in them if they use their own fleshly, selfish minds, but that’s why I’m asking that You would give them Your mind and heart. Father, I want all of My followers, now and forever, to be bound together in perfect unity with You and Me and with each other. They have to, Father! They have to! That’s the only way the world will know that I came from You and that You love them and that You love Me. It’s the only way!
“There’s one more thing I want to ask for, Father. I want all who You have given Me to come to where I’m going to be so that they can be with Me forever. I want them to see the magnificent glory that You have given Me, the glory that I have had with You since before the world was made. Father, when they see the true glory of the One Who loves them with the greatest love imaginable, they will be thrilled and completely filled up with joy!
“I need to close My prayer now, Father. It breaks My heart to say it, but the people who You made in the world don’t know You. But I know You and Your glorious holy nature, and these men here know that You sent Me. In the time that I have been with them, I have revealed to them Who I am and what I am truly like. Because they know Me, they know You too, and they are going to make sure the world knows what We are like and what We have done for them. Because of that, Father, I ask that the love that You have for Me will be in them so that they would know how much We love them and that they will be able to love Us. And lastly, may all of My disciples know that I am in them and that they are always in Me!”
By Alan W. Harris