Gospel: John 17:20-26
Epistle: Revelation 22:1-6 (7-11)
Lesson: Acts 1:12-26
Psalm: Psalm 133
CLB Commentary – Rev. Gary Witkop
The end of the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus is where these verses are found. That shows how important they were to Jesus and so should be to us who love him as well. While there are different things contained in this prayer of Jesus in the earlier verses, these 7 verses show some of the heart of Jesus. We get a great view into what motivates Jesus, and so what motivates God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
What is it that motivates God? Love! Actually there are three loves shown in these verses. They are, in reverse order of when they appear in the text: Jesus’ love for the Father, his love for his followers and his love for those who are yet lost.
In verse 20 Jesus prays not for “These only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word.” Jesus is praying for “these” his followers, those who believe in him, and He prays for people who are lost but who ultimately will come to faith because of the witness of those who were following him. Here is where he is praying for us! I believe we can extend this to include his followers and all people who are lost, Jesus loves all people. That is also shown in his prayer that both those who believed in him and those who would yet believe in him would be one. Jesus desired oneness, or a closeness between all believers and himself. That oneness is a sure sign of deep love, just as a husband and wife desire a deep oneness or sense of closeness.
His love for people motivated him to come to earth and ultimately to die on the cross. Without a doubt, love for people motivates God. Does love for people motivate us?
In verses 21 and 22 Jesus expands his prayer to include his Father. He shows his love to his Father in these verses and other ones in this prayer. His love for his Father is shown in much of his work and life, but especially here. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have a great depth of love for one another. That is shown in Jesus’ prayer of unity with his Father, “… as we are one.”
This prayer is an intimate look into the heart of the savior and one of the things revealed is a heart of love that begins with the love the triune God has for Himself and then flows to God’s love for his believers and extends to his love for all people. We cannot overstate this love. 1 John 4:8b puts it simply when it says “God is love.”
Jesus also prays that those whom he loves would be with him in heaven (verse 24). Another sign of his love for us! I believe this part also shows his longing to be with his Father in heaven. Jesus was looking forward to returning to his true home. That is our true home as well, we should long for heaven.
Jesus goes on in this prayer (verse 26) to pray that this divine love, which emanates within God, would flow from the Father to the Son and then on to those who believe in Jesus. Love is not to be kept or hoarded but shared. The Father shared it with the Son; the Son wants to continue passing it on to his believers. This means that we must keep passing on that love to others as well. We cannot keep God’s love contained. We must share it and pass it on.