Text: John 17:1-26, Isaiah 42:8, 1 John 5:20
This has been a difficult week for me. I am heartbroken. I am utterly aching with loss. I feel upside-down in my sadness. Have you ever felt this way? Honestly, I wonder who hasn’t. What is your heart aching for today as you read these verses in John 17?
Sometimes when I find myself in the depths, cracking my Bible open is the last thing I want to do. But for some reason, today, I craved falling into Scripture. I felt that God had something for me here, in this passage. And oh, how rich this passage is, especially for the aching heart.
The hour had come for our Savior. As I read His prayer, I can almost feel His aching, His longing to protect those who’ve come to believe in Him. As He anticipated the events to come, He pleaded with the Father for the disciples He loved:
“Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You, Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.”
Can you imagine being in the presence of Christ as He is praying for you? Sitting in the same room with Him, hearing Him say just before, “in this world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,” and then watching Jesus turn His eyes heavenward and, in prayer, put your life and soul into the Father’s care?
When I read Jesus’ prayer today, something cracked open. I felt the fervent love He has for me, the fervent love He has for us all. Right after He prayed for the disciples, He prayed for those who will believe (John 17:20). Jesus prayed for you, and He prayed for me, too—for all who would come to trust in Him.
He knew this world. He lived it, walked it, saw the desperation and the brokenness. He knew what it would mean for us to be here—that we would face a seemingly endless stream of trial and tribulation. Knowing what was to come for His disciples and for who would believe, He said:
“I am not praying
that You take them out of the world
but that You protect them from the evil one.”
He did not pray for our suffering to end, or for the pain and sorrow to cease. Instead, He prayed for our protection as we face these trials and circumstances. He prayed that we would not face them alone, but with the support of our community and our God.
“May they all be one,
as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You.
May they also be one in Us,
so the world may believe You sent Me.”
The idea that Jesus is not only near us, but in us—not only for us, but a part of us—brings comfort to my heart as nothing else can. “I in them, and You in Me” (v. 23)—this is His will for the Church.
Whatever you face today, we as believers are one in Him, and this oneness tells the world of the glory of God. Perhaps that is why writing this has felt so healing for me: it has reminded me that I am not alone in heartache. We are all still in this world, though not of it, and whether it is joy or suffering that binds us, God is glorified in our unity.