"After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you,"
John chapters from 13 to 16 depict Jesus' last words to his disciples before his crucifixion. And in the gospel of John 17 is Jesus' last prayer as the high priest. This prayer focuses on the unity of God and Jesus, restoration of God's glory, and unity and mission of the disciples and all believers.
What Jesus sought for his disciples were protection and unity. He prayed, "and now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one." (John 17:11)
He asked God to protect them from all evildoers and from falling into evil. Moreover, it is impressive that he asked them to become one, just like the oneness of the Trinity. In addition, he wanted them to feel the joy he had in the unity of the Trinity. The joy he prayed for his disciples is the joy of becoming one with God, and of doing the will of God. The world will hate them because they have the word of God within them. But the word of truth will make the disciples holy and one in God.
Thus, the unity of the church in truth and love is a matter of the church's life or death. Jesus prayed for this unity and declared that the world would become to believe in Jesus through it. The church's unity is unity in the truth, and this is the best mission strategy. Becoming children of God through faith and experiencing the unity in the church are the greatest blessing that the people of faith can enjoy. When the congregation becomes one in faith, the church is filled with joy from God.
John heard this prayer and wrote it in his gospel. And thanks to that, we hear the same prayer today too. When we pray, when we are in trouble, when our faith is shaken, Let's remember this prayer of Jesus. There is no greater comfort, joy, and strength for us than this.
May the unfailing love of our God be with us all the time.