Jesus’ Last Public Prayer

Jesus’ Last Public Prayer

Day 10 – His Last Public Prayer – “Make Them One”

Read John 17; 1 Corinthians 12

In John 17, we get an up close and personal look at the intimate relationship Jesus had with His Father—a revealing look into Jesus’ intimate prayer time just before He was to go to the cross to die for the sins of the world.  This was likely the last time that Jesus’ disciples heard Him pray. The central theme of His prayer?  Unity.  He prayed for unity among believers so that an unbelieving world might believe in Jesus.  That was Jesus’ plan for reaching the world.  That is still Jesus’ plan for reaching the world.  The church, the body of believers, the ones who have received the unmerited mercy and grace of God, they are the plan.  We are the plan.  And yet sadly some of the meanest, foulest, disunified, screwed-up bunch of individuals are people who claim to be Christ-followers.  We claim to love Jesus, but we often hate each other.

Jesus prayed in verse 21 that the connection that we have as believers would resemble the relationship that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have with each other.  This is perfect unity.  Paul illustrated this connection beautifully: “For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, areone body—so also is Christ … Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it” (1 Cor. 12:12, 27).

This is the beauty of the body of Christ.  There is diversity among its members, but there is unity as well.  Not all of us can preach.  Not all of us can sing.  Not all of us can teach.  But we can all serve in the individual capacities for which God has created us and designed us.  That’s why no job is too small.  No body part is insignificant. We are individual members, intimately connected to one another, striving for the same goal—the same purpose—that an unbelieving world might come to know Jesus Christ.

Jesus, continuing in verse 23 said, “I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me …” The word completely in the original language stems from the same word that Jesus shouted from the cross when He said, “It is finished!”  It communicates the idea of finality and perfection.  It’s as if Jesus is praying, “Father, unify them so much that people on the outside looking in might see them functioning perfectly and completely as a team.”  The church in America is a long way from that now.  We split and divide at the drop of a hat.  We get our feelings hurt, so we hop around to another church or another small group.  Or worse, we just give up on church altogether. But the fact of the matter is, you and I were created for community.

I love the word community.  Because that’s exactly what we are and it’s what we do.  We are a commUNITY.  And you cannot have community without unity.  Unity doesn’t mean that we all conform to some type of outward pattern where we look like we just stepped off the set of the Brady Bunch.  We already saw what Paul said about unity.  To be completely unified means we strive to love each other as Christ loves us. It means we avoid gossip and slander. It means we celebrate the victories and wins of our brothers and sisters. It means we avoid jealousy. It means that we “love one another with brotherly affection and outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10).

A former boss of mine once commented to me, “I used to go to church until I starting seeing those same people in the bars with me!”  Ouch!  The world is desperate for something genuine.  And it’s time for the church of God to rise up in a unified collective effort to love each other and love the world to Christ. If Jesus thought it was important enough to comprise the sum total of His final public prayer before going to the cross, then we should probably take it seriously.

Challenge Questions:

  • What function has the Lord given you in the body of Christ?  What are some of the gifts that you feel like the Lord has given you as an individual member of the body of Christ?  If you can’t pinpoint at least one gift, study Romans 12:4-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 and ask the Holy Spirit to begin to show you how He has gifted you.
  • Do you have any unresolved conflict with another believer that you need to make right?  If so, study Matthew 5:21-26 and come up with some actions steps to make that right.
  • Given the current state of the church in America in general, are the conditions right for the world to see Christ in and through us?  Why or why not?