20I am not praying just for these followers. I am also praying for everyone else who will have faith because of what my followers will say about me. 21I want all of them to be one with each other, just as I am one with you and you are one with me. I also want them to be one with us. Then the people of this world will believe that you sent me.
22I have honored my followers in the same way you honored me, in order that they may be one with each other, just as we are one. 23I am one with them, and you are one with me, so they may become completely one. Then this world's people will know that you sent me. They will know that you love my followers as much as you love me.
24Father, I want everyone you have given me to be with me, wherever I am. Then they will see the glory you have given me, because you loved me before the world was created. 25Good Father, the people of this world don't know you. But I know you, and my followers know that you sent me. 26I told them what you are like, and I will tell them even more. Then the love you have for me will become part of them, and I will be one with them.
Chapter 17 starts with Jesus praying for himself, then for his disciples, and ends with his passionate prayer for all who believe in him. He gives priority to praying for their unity. Jesus knew that one of Satan’s frequent tools of battle is conflict. Jesus wanted his followers to stay together; to exhibit such brotherly love that the outside world would be attracted to their lifestyle.
Later he uses other word pictures to describe his wish for them: that they might live like a family, friends and even the Holy Trinity. Jesus points to his own relationship with his Father as an example of how Christians should live in harmony.
None of this could be possible without love. As history is unveiled we see a common thread throughout humanity – the thread of animosity. Terrorism has become the scourge of humanity and since 911 the world has awakened to the harsh reality that hatred has become the norm for so much of the world. Here Jesus wants us to be trendsetters and countercultural. He is calling his followers to live in such a way that their identity as Christians will be assumed. He is setting a new standard for Christians. We are to be branded by love.
Oh Lord, may I live in such a way that the people around me will not have to guess about my identity. May my love for you and my fellow believers make it very obvious whose I am.