December 14, 2020 – Monday
John 17:20-21 NIV
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.
On Friday I wrote how in John 19 there are three prayers by Jesus prior to His arrest. The prayers are only found in John and are not found in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). The verses above are from His third prayer (v20-26) where Jesus prays for all believers, current and future. The prayer for future believers includes us.
Look at verse 20, My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, where He begins by saying, My prayer is not for them alone, meaning not for His disciples alone. Now look at the rest of the verse and insert your name. For example, I pray also for Bob who will believe in Me through their message or I pray also for Joseph and Diane (married) who will believe in Me through their message. What I am saying here is make this as personal as possible for you or for you and your spouse or for you and your family but make it personal. I believe it is intended to be personal. I know the very first time I read this, I sat back and said to myself, “He is praying for me. Jesus is praying me.” I was in awe.
What is Jesus praying for us about? He tells us in verse 21, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me or as I hear it when I read it, that all of us may be one in unity in our faith. We may have all kinds of disagreements with one another from church to church, but Jesus prays for us to be one as He and His father are one. So, we need to look at what our disagreements are about? Do we still agree Jesus died for our sins, rose from the grave on the third day and if we repent of our sins, accepting Him as our Lord and Savior we are saved? If so while we may have many disagreements (some very valid) we agree as one on the major key points of our belief and faith. Max Lucado once wrote (depending on my memory here) about how all the various churches were like gun positions on a battleship against evil and Satan, but all too often we turn our guns on each other instead. That is not unity.
In my teaching and preaching I spend as little time as possible pointing out errors in other churches and their doctrine, but at times I make mention of what I consider to be fundamental errors and leave it at that. The rest of the time is spent on God’s word and how to implement it in our own lives, including my own. After all, to quote Pastor Yang Yi, “the hope of humanity and society is only in the redemption of Christ, in the supernatural, gracious sovereignty of God.” He is currently serving a ten-year sentence in prison in China for preaching this message. We don’t even speak the same language, but I find myself in a great deal of unity with him.
Prayer: Heavenly Father – Help us to stay true to the fundamentals of our faith in the sacrifice of Your Son and to find unity with others who do the same. – In Jesus name, amen.