Reading through the Bible together
Isn’t it comforting to know Jesus prayed for you? If you are a believer in Jesus, He really labored in prayer over you! His heart went out for you. In this longest recorded prayer of Jesus, He interceded for you to have the same intimate oneness that He and His Father shared with those believers. I’m so glad Jesus prayed for me so I may experience the faith fellowship of Jesus’ followers, thereby showing the world why God sent Jesus here and that He loves us incredibly! (John 17:22,23).
The prayer is easily separated into three parts: Jesus praying for Himself, then for the disciples, and then for all future believers. However, the consistent themes throughout are GOD’s glory, unity and oneness, experiential knowledge of salvation, GOD’s Sovereignty, mission and sending, and GOD’s love. When we pray, do we pray on these themes as Jesus did? They were important enough for Jesus to pray about at length. What might happen if our prayers were more centered on these precious themes in our Savior’s prayer?
Often times I have thought and spoken, “I want to be the answer to Jesus’ prayer!” Wouldn’t you also like to be the answer to His prayer, to know that Jesus did not pray in vain? Oh, to fulfill the desires of the heart of Jesus! What if we had the kind of unity in our church that He prayed for, not just conformity? Yes, I’m saying no divisive spirit among us!
Ellen White says, “Christ prayed that His followers might be one as He and the Father were one. Those who desire to see this prayer answered, should seek to discourage the slightest tendency to division, and try to keep the spirit of unity and love among brethren” (EV 212, 213; Review and Herald, May 29, 1888).
Let us not major in the minors, but keep the Gospel “as of first importance” (1 Cor. 15:1-4), and rally to the work of showing the world that Jesus came to save sinners! Let us not waste time. People are waiting to know Jesus, and someone must tell them and demonstrate it! (Romans 10:13-15).
Christopher Bullock, M.Div.
Pastor in Atlanta, Georgia
North American Division