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Daily Bible Readings 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 - Easter - Pentecost - Jesus prays for Christian unity
John 17: 20-26

 

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)