According to biblical records, this is Jesus’ longest intercessory prayer. It was Thursday night, after the Last Supper when Jesus and the disciples went toward the Mount of Olives. Knowing that His life would soon end, His greatest concern was not for Himself but for His followers. What does this mean to us? It is extremely important to think that He prayed for everyone who believes in Him, including each of us!
Unity is crucial for any group of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. We know that unity is important because Christ repeated the idea several times in John 17. Jesus desired that His followers may be one. He focused His prayer on the unity of the believers. He knew that rivalry and division would be great danger to a group of believers.
What was Jesus’ main prayer request to the Father regarding the believers? Jesus wanted us to be one as He and the Father are one with complete unity! We can easily see unity as being crucial for the spiritual life of believers. We can measure its importance by the number of times Jesus repeated His desire that His followers may be one (John 17:11, 21-23).
At that special time, during those final hours, He could have prayed for many other important things, but He centered His thoughts on the unity of His believers. He knew the dangers of division (John 12: 45-57). Jesus and the Father are one in nature and purpose. In reality, we are all different in many ways, abilities, backgrounds, and roles, but we all should be united in Jesus Christ.
Does this kind of unity appear naturally? How can we promote it? One way to have it is to accept Christ in our lives. While molding our character traits, we can accept His will as our goal in life. As far as possible, let us strive to please Him as our Lord and Savior. Our unity with Christ is a testimony to inspire others to believe in Him as the Savior sent by the Father to save us as sinners. Jesus prayed for Himself as He tells the Father to glorify the Son. He gave the disciples credit for their obedience to the Father. Jesus realized at that time His life was short on earth and He needed the protection of the Father for His followers, and for their sense of oneness so they may be one as the Son and Father are one!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.