“When Jesus had spoken these words, He lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour has come … 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 17:1a, 6-11 ESV)
John 17 is very dear to me, because it’s the one chance we get to listen in on the council of the Trinity. Jesus, God the Son, is speaking to God the Father.
Jesus is almost finished with His work on earth, and He knows it. The cross looms ahead, and a borrowed tomb. Jesus is returning to the Father. But for this brief moment of peace He speaks to the Father in this world, in the hearing of His disciples. You can hear the love and concern in His voice.
And what does He say? He prays for us—all of us who trust in Him, including the ones not born yet (see John 17:20). He asks the Father to watch over us and keep us in His Name. Jesus is urgent to protect us, to keep us all in the truth, and not lose any of us to the lies and temptations of the devil. He asks the Father to protect us.
And Jesus asks God to make us one, even as Father, Son, and Spirit are One. When I hear this, I feel ashamed, because who has not blushed at the fighting that goes on in the Christian church? And yet … and yet, there is a unity, isn’t there? There is a love that unites us, across the boundaries of language and nation and denomination. My family received strangers from Asia into our home during a mission conference, and a daughter of our Vietnamese congregation found a home with a Christian lady when she thought she’d have to sleep in a car. The Name of Jesus alone is a passport to all sorts of loving support—and not only for Christians!
Jesus prayed for us, and His prayer has been answered. May the Holy Spirit continue to make the fruits of that prayer spring up among us who belong to Jesus.
We Pray: Dear Father, thank You for hearing Jesus’ prayer for us. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on May 18, 2023
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights
1. Is there one prayer you have heard in your life that sticks out in your memory? If so, what and when was it?
2. Why do you think Jesus is so concerned for our unity?
3. What does it mean to you, to know that Jesus was thinking of you the night before His death?