Jesus’ Prayer for the Church from John 17
“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:6-11 ESV)
“I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:14-17 ESV)
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17: 20–23 ESV)
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24 ESV)
Three things to note in this prayer of Jesus:
- We are redeemed as God’s people because Jesus has given us the Word of God. There is no salvation, no sanctification apart from God’s Word. So, give thanks to God for his Word this morning!
- Jesus prays that we would have unity among ourselves, and through that unity, be a living witness to the truthfulness of the Gospel. The unity of the church is essential to our witness in the world.
- We can pursue this unity BECAUSE the we worship a risen savior. Notice what Jesus says (and remember, he is praying this on the eve of his crucifixion), he says, “Father, I am coming to you” and that they (being you, the church) would be “with me where I am, to see my glory.”
Jesus had no intention of staying in the grave. We worship a risen Savior, who is building His church, and
“the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). This is reason to rejoice!
Prayer of Preparation
Heavenly Father, we give You thanks as we celebrate the 16th anniversary of Redeemer Church and consider the good work that You began in us so many years ago. You have knit us together as one body by Your Spirit. You have called us to the one hope, as we share our one Lord, one faith, one baptism. In your grace, you have led us to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3-5).
Many people have come and gone from us over 16 years, and we are thankful for how each one has contributed to Your work among us their spiritual gifts and obedience of faith. We acknowledge that there have been, and will continue to be struggles and heartaches. Yet through these, we have traveled together under Your protection and love. We celebrate the advance of Your gospel through us and the blessing you have been through us to our neighbors and the nations.
Holy Spirit, as we open our mouths again in praise and open our ears again to listen to the word of God– encourage us, teach us, sanctify us, and lead us that we would make known the glory of the risen Christ in the world until he returns. In Christ name, Amen.