Jesus prays for disciples

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

In today’s text, our calling rests on both Christ’s command and his coming. Regarding Jesus’ coming, it is not for us to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. (v.7) It will never be known by any human until the Lord comes again, regardless of what someone may claim. The Lord warned the disciples that God’s schedule is none of their business.

In verse 8, Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

The mention of Samaria and the ends of the earth hints that this witness will go far beyond traditional borders and limits and comfort zones. The call to witness is not limited to any selected group since it spreads from the apostles to the 120 believers and all believers. We also do not limit our service to our church or to a specific ministry. The gospel is for all people and all nations.

Because of Christ’s command and ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit, Christians can be Jesus’ witnesses in their communities, throughout the country, and around the world. All Christians are to be God’s witnesses. May we look for witnessing opportunities in our lives and families and workplaces and wider communities.

Jesus now reigns in heaven with the Father, but he is coming again. As in verse 11, “This same Jesus will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” The Jesus they loved and followed would come again to earth just as he ascended from earth.

Jesus serves as our heavenly intercessor and advocate. The fact that Jesus cares for us encourages us in our efforts to live and witness for him. With Jesus in heaven, may we live our lives by faith and turn our hearts and vision upward and forward.

All believers form the church and respond to the Lord’s command. God chose ordinary people to do an extraordinary task. Luke reminds us that women were included along with the disciples. In verse 14, Jesus’ disciples and all believers not only prayed, but they prayed together and constantly. May we live in the expectation of Christ’s return and pray often with other believers. When we pray together, unity can be found in our lives and ministries.

In John 17:1–11, Jesus prays that God will protect the disciples and keep them unified. This prayer concludes the “Farewell Discourse.” This is sometimes called Jesus’ “high priestly prayer.” Jesus offers this prayer immediately before entering the Garden of Gethsemane. He prays for those called to convey God’s love in his absence. This “Lord’s Prayer” is like the words of the will left by the Lord. It is offered from the Lord’s heart and focuses on how God expects his people to live.

Jesus looked toward heaven and prayed, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” At the beginning of his prayer, Jesus prays to be glorified. Jesus asked the Father twice to have his glory returned. (v. 1, 5) The Father’s glory is the foundational purpose in praying, and the reasons Jesus prays for his glory are God’s glory and eternal life. Eternal life is knowing the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he sent. (v.3) The word “knowing” in verse 3 emphasizes an experiential relationship rather than just necessary information. The verb also appears in the present tense, implying a continuing and vivid personal experience and current relationships with both the Father and the Son.

Throughout the prayer Christ made only two requests for himself, but those were for the glory of God and the saving of people which is related to eternal life. 1 John 5:11-12 tells us that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. Jesus’ earthly ministries and the requests from his prayers were for the completion of obedience to God’s plan.

Contact with God and the experience of God’s eternal being will provide the fullest experience, and believing in Jesus will lead us to God’s salvation and eternal life. The Lord spoke of intercession. In verse 9, this prayer focuses on those disciples and believers God has given him. Jesus prayed for his disciples and believers.

Jesus showed a special model for finishing tasks God gives us to do and obeyed God’s will until the very end. May we think of times we have started some tasks for the Lord with great passion and love but unfinished in the busyness or hesitance of our lives. However, we are called to listen to God’s word and do it.

This prayer ends with the hope that they will see the fullness of glory in love. If God’s love is seen, it will be through Jesus’ witnesses. The deepest passion of the heart of Jesus was the glory of God. Glory is related to the revealing of God and is how God becomes known to human beings. May we glorify God making God known to the world and spreading His love by being united as witnesses.

The Spirit, Jesus prays and sends, will help the disciples to understand more and more of all that Jesus has shown and taught them. We step into this prayer to know the glory of that witness for ourselves. May we find intimacy with God. As many individuals and churches seek to grow in their understanding of Christian unity and the interconnectedness of all creation, we remember Jesus’ simple plea that we all be one.

The prayer for unity appears in verse 11 and 21. Today’s text talks about the spiritual unity of the body rather than the unity in organizations or communities. If we are to understand the unity of the church, we must first understand unity between the Son and the Father. Body unity is patterned after divine unity. This emphasis on unity leads us to recognise that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. Through divine unity and the unity in the church, the world can see how believers dwell in the Lord and the Son in the Father. The absolute oneness of the Father and the Son will now be spiritually transferred to believers for spiritual unity. God joins our spirits through the Holy Spirit and invites us to be one in Christ.

The Lord has left us a prayer like a will before his farewell on the earth. Unity and harmony in disciples and the church serve as a witness to the world. As Jesus’ witnesses and disciples, now it is the time for us to pray together and strive for unity and harmony more and more, thinking of Jesus’ prayer.

We are all called to be Jesus’ family just as his disciples were called to be Christ’s sisters and brothers. We are all called to be Jesus’ witnesses just as his apostles were called to spread the gospel and convey the love of Christ. We trust God’s protection for our spiritual and physical life. God concerned and cared for those who are vulnerable, and the Lord prayed for protection in the world and unity among us. Jesus’ message about unity is simple, but not always easy. May we strive to fulfill God’s will for the church and try to keep its unity.

Thanks be to God! Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)