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Daily Bible Verses | The Gospel Of Saint JohnDaily Bible Verses For Easter To Pentecost

Daily Bible Verses Easter Season To Pentecost | Thursday Week 7 | Prayer For Christian Unity | The Priestly Prayer Of Jesus Concludes

Audio Bible | The Priestly Prayer Of Jesus Concludes | Oliver Peers
Christian Art | The Priestly Prayer Of Jesus
John 17: 20-26 | King James Audio Bible KJV | King James Version

20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 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.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 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.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Through these Bible verses, Jesus concludes his Priestly Prayer before his disciples. Through his prayer to his Father, Jesus is also saying goodbye to the disciples. He is about to endure his Passion. These words are Jesus’ last testament before he is glorified.

Jesus has asked for the Father’s guidance and help for the disciples. They are called to be united in faith as they preach the Gospel and endure the hardships and hostility of the world. Now Jesus extends his prayer to include all Christians to come.

In so praying, Jesus looks ahead to the tremendous achievement of the disciples. The Gospel will spread like wildfire, through the tremendous energy of the apostles, through their words, through the signs and miracles they accomplish, and, we may think, through people’s innate recognition of the truth they proclaim.

Christ calls us, in these verses, to Christian unity. We are to be one with each other, and one with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is to be in communion, to be in the body of the Church, which may then stand to all human beings as a beacon of hope and truth, calling all to salvation. This is a great mystery, to be members of the body of Christ, to be sanctified, made perfect, through the sacrifice of Jesus.

As he prays, Jesus desires us to be where he is. At once, Jesus prays on earth to his Father, and he is with his Father in heaven. While we are on earth, it is our faith, it is the action of the Spirit, which brings life to our knowledge of Christ, drawing us toward God and enabling loving bonds of brotherhood with each other. As St Paul will write, ‘Now we see through a glass, darkly,’ but when the time comes we will see Christ’s glory completely, as he has been since before the world began.

It is, then, a cause of great regret that there have arisen such divisions between Christians, often with bloody consequences. There has been a falling away from unity, whether through the schism of 1054, which divided east and west, or the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants of the early modern era right through to most recent times, and there have been other Christian movements at variance, to a greater or lesser extent, one with another.

We may consider such conflicts and consider Christ’s words in this day’s verses of the Bible:

20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 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.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 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.

Our divisions are wounds in the body of Christ. We, the Church, are called to be one visible witness to Christ on earth, one body of Christ on earth. Our ecumenical prayers are, as is this prayer of Jesus, a prayer to be one holy, sanctified people, alive to Christ’s true teachings, to the knowledge of the Father we have been given through the Son, and to the teachings of the Apostles, which must, together, abide uncorrupted to continue to be handed on through all time.

Our celebration of the Easter season flows with joy from the Resurrection and is shortly to culminate in Pentecost. It is here that the Holy Spirit descends and the disciples rush out into the streets, blessed with the gift of tongues, to proclaim the Gospel. This tells us so much about the actions of the Spirit: we receive faith and we are able to share, to communicate, our faith with those who might otherwise not be able to understand us. In other words, the gift of the Holy Spirit is to break down barriers, to unify, to overcome divisions. This, then, may be a particularly important time to follow Christ’s example and to make our prayers for Christian unity.

‘Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.’ (John 16: 7, 13-14)

King James Audio Bible KJV | King James Version | Endnotes

Jesus’ Prayer Of Love For His Disciples

John 17:20-26 records Jesus’ final prayer for his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion. The passage reveals Jesus’ deep love for his disciples and his desire for their unity and fellowship.

In the context of the approach to Pentecost, this passage is particularly relevant as it speaks of the coming of the Holy Spirit, which was promised to the disciples by Jesus before his ascension. The Holy Spirit is a source of unity and power for the early church, enabling the disciples to spread the message of the Gospel throughout the world.

In terms of the qualities of Jesus’ farewell to his disciples, there is indeed a sense of sorrow and loss in the farewell discourse, as Jesus prepares to leave his disciples and return to the Father. However, there is also a sense of hope and joy as Jesus promises the coming of the Holy Spirit and the eternal life that he offers to his followers.

One of the most striking aspects of Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is Jesus’ emphasis on unity among his followers. Jesus prays that they may all be one, just as he and the Father are one, so that the world may believe that the Father sent him (John 17:21). This emphasis on unity has been a central theme in Christian theology and practice throughout the ages.

St. Augustine, in the fourth century, wrote extensively on the theme of unity in his book On Christian Doctrine.  He emphasized the importance of love as the foundation of unity, writing:

‘Love is the bond of unity that holds together the whole body of the faithful.’  On Christian Doctrine, Book 1, Chapter 22.

Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, also spoke of the importance of unity among Christians. In his book On Christian Liberty  he wrote:

‘By faith we are all one, with no difference between us, and one is not higher or more important than another. We are all equal, for we are all one in Christ.’  On Christian Liberty, Chapter 14.

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement in the eighteenth century, also emphasized the importance of unity in his writings. He wrote:

‘Let us unite in the common bond of love and let our love be genuine and sincere, free from all hypocrisy and deceit.’  A Collection of Hymns for the Use of the People Called Methodists, Preface.

Eternal Life With Jesus

A theme that emerges from Jesus’ farewell discourse in John 17 is the idea of eternal life. Jesus prays that his followers may have eternal life, which he describes as knowing the Father and himself (John 17:3). This idea of eternal life as a knowledge of God is central to Christian theology. It is contrasted with the idea of eternal punishment in hell for those who reject God.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Catholic theologian of the thirteenth century, wrote extensively on the topic of eternal life in his Summa Theologica. He defined eternal life as ‘the life of the blessed in heaven, consisting in the vision of God’.  Summa Theologica, First Part, Question 12, Article 1.

John Calvin, a key figure in the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, wrote about eternal life in his Institutes of the Christian Religion. He emphasized the idea of election, or the idea that God chooses some individuals for eternal life, writing:

‘Those whom God has chosen for eternal life are drawn by the Holy Spirit to faith in Christ, and this faith is the beginning of eternal life.’  Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 24.

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, wrote about eternal life in his sermons and hymns. He emphasized the importance of faith in Christ as the means of obtaining eternal life, writing:

‘Faith is the beginning of eternal life, the sure pledge of all that is to come.’  Sermon 1: The Witness of the Spirit.

Glorification And Sanctification Through Jesus

In addition to the themes of unity and eternal life, Jesus’ farewell discourse in John 17 speaks to the idea of glorification. Jesus prays that he may be glorified in his disciples, and that they may be one even as he and the Father are one (John 17:22-23). This idea of glorification, or the exaltation of Christ, is also central to Christian theology.

St. Irenaeus, an early Christian theologian of the second century, wrote about glorification in his work Against Heresies. He emphasized the idea that Christ became human in order to restore humanity to its original state of glory, writing:

‘God became human so that humans might become divine.’  Against Heresies, Book 5, Chapter 1.

John Calvin wrote about the idea of glorification in his Institutes of the Christian Religion. He emphasized the idea that Christ’s exaltation is the foundation of our salvation, writing:

‘Christ was exalted to the highest place in heaven so that we might share in his glory and enjoy eternal life.’  Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 2, Chapter 16.

Sanctification is the process of being made holy. Jesus prays that his followers may be sanctified in the truth, which he identifies as his word (John 17:17). This idea of sanctification through the word of God is often contrasted with the idea of moralistic self-improvement.

St. Augustine emphasized the idea that sanctification is a work of God’s grace, rather than a result of human effort, writing:

‘God sanctifies us by his grace, and we cooperate with his grace through faith and obedience.’  On Grace and Free Will, Chapter 3.

John Wesley also wrote about sanctification in his sermons and hymns. He emphasized the idea of entire sanctification, or the idea that believers can be made completely holy through the power of the Holy Spirit, writing:

‘Entire sanctification is the state of being cleansed from sin and filled with the love of God.’  Sermon 40: The Witness of the Spirit.