I Have Loved Them as You Have Loved Me
20 “I pray not only for [the disciples], but also for those who believe in me through their word. 21 May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. 22 I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.John 17:20-23 (CSB)
I've been studying John 14-17 these past several weeks, and I don't know if anything has caused my heart to explode quite like those words 17:20-23.
First of all, Jesus prayed for you. How crazy is that!? The night before his trial and crucifixion, Jesus prayed about what his next 53 days would accomplish for you.
He first prayed for himself, that the Father would be glorified through the work he had completed. He then prayed for his disciples, that his Father would protect them and purify them. Then he turns to pray for you and me, "those who believe in me through [the disciples'] word." And here's what he wants more than anything for you:
May they all be one.
...but not just "one" – the same kind of oneness that the Father has with Jesus! Colossians 1:9 says the fullness of God was pleased to dwell in Christ. ALL of the Father was in Jesus, and ALL of Jesus is in the Father. Jesus is the visible picture of the invisible God. He even said it multiple times: "You've seen the Father if you've seen me."
The point is, that's the relationship Jesus wants for you and I: That when you've seen Rodney, you've seen Jesus. Jesus wants his fullness to live in us, the same way God's fullness was in him. THAT'S CRAZY.
The result of that actually happening is that the world would believe that the Father sent the Son.
I have given them the glory you have given me.
That is borderline insane. Has Jesus lost his mind? Or do we just not understand what all we have in Christ? And what exactly is this glory Jesus received from the Father, and now passes on to us?
Just a few verses later, Jesus prays, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they will see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the world’s foundation."
What was God doing before he created the world? He was loving Jesus!* That's the glory that God the Father shared with his Son for eternity past – and then he sends Jesus to earth to share that same glory, that same overflowing love, to us! It is absolutely breath-taking.
And again, what is the result? That we are unified with the Father and the Son, and that the world knows the truth about Jesus and the love of the Father.
So as you go about your ordinary, same-thing-every-day life, it is anything but mundane or ordinary. If you are in Christ, meaning that by faith you have believed and received Jesus' life, death, and resurrection in your place, you are living in the overflow of the Father's love for you today. In everything you do, you are saturated with the same love that the Father had for the Son.
And more than that, they have given you the Holy Spirit – the new Immanuel, "God with us" – so that you don't have to just shuffle through your life with your head down waiting for heaven. You can live the same kind of full and free and joyful life that Jesus lived, even if it involves suffering.
"I have loved them as you, Father, have loved me." Oh how glorious those words.
* A great resource for more on this is a book called Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves. I can't recommend it enough!