2015-09-17 / Worship

Jesus’ prayer for the church

(John 17:20-26)

The last seven verses of John 17 are Jesus’ prayer for us. Before his physical life on earth ended, Jesus assigned the Apostles the duty of spreading the Gospel to all mankind and establishing the Church. We today - the fellowship of Christian believers - are that church, Jesus’ present-day apostles.

Jesus had already prayed for the Apostles of that day, and now He prayed for all his followers in the future, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (verses 20, 21).

In these words, Jesus was drawing us close together and into intimacy with God. “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one, I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me” (verses 22, 23).

We believe that Jesus was describing the coming Rapture of the Church, which will grow out of the Apostles’ witness that Jesus is the Savior of the world. Believers in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will one day be lifted up to the heavens and into the presence of Jesus.

Jesus’ next statement demonstrates that He had successfully completed his mission on earth, that of recruiting the Apostles and training them to establish the Church, “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me” (verse 25).

The prayer ends with one more wonderful, final blessing, “That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (verse 26). Jesus wants us to experience the same powerful, infinite love that He shared with his heavenly Father.

We thank God for this prayer that Jesus prayed for all of us who believe in Him as our Savior. This prayer was answered in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Jesus will return one day to claim his church and carry us his believers into Heaven.

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