Today’s Scripture brings us to the table where Jesus sat with the disciples, on the evening He was to be arrested. Knowing all that He knew, knowing what was to come and what would be required of Him, Jesus prayed. He prayed for Himself, that by completing the work He was sent to do, God would be glorified and He would return to eternal glory in heaven. Jesus then prayed for His disciples, that they would be kept sanctified, safe, and set apart. In today’s section of Scripture, Jesus prayed for us, the believers everywhere who would share the Good News of the gospel with others through our testimony and unity.
“The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one—I in them and you in me—that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me.” – John 17:22-23
It’s a beautiful prayer made even more extraordinary when we think about the men who sat at that table with Jesus. Jesus knew who would betray Him and who would deny Him. He knew who would doubt the authenticity of the resurrection until they could see and feel the proof. And Jesus knew that they would need to hear how loved they were, and how loved we are.
A few weeks ago, I sat with my daughter in her room as she shared about some challenges she was having with a girl in her class. Mean words were being said, they were both feeling excluded, and they were navigating the tricky (and unrealistic) elementary school rules that make 2nd grade girls think they can only be friends with one person at a time. After listening and sharing some of my own stories of friendship struggles, I asked if we could pray for the other little girl.
I didn’t expect my daughter’s reaction. She was devastated. As the tears flowed she admitted that she would love for me to pray, but not for the girl who was being mean. In her mind, that felt like I was choosing to believe the other little girl, that I cared more about her classmate because, in her hurt, she couldn’t see beyond her own needs.
The resurrection changes everything! We are no longer enemies of God, but women who are loved the way Jesus was loved. We are included and called and prayed for without hesitation. We can experience the joy and freedom that comes from choosing unity over discord because we have an eternal perspective. We know that eternity with Jesus is worth more than playing favorites, picking fights, or feeding our pride. We can pray for those who disappoint us or hurt our feelings because we know how much more Jesus sacrificed for us, and it is our love that will be the best testimony.
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