Good Friday — The Unity of Glory
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 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. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:20-23)
To consider this prayer of Jesus on Good Friday is almost overwhelming. Jesus looks beyond the followers of his day and considers us, you and me. He stretches out his arms and draws us to his breast. He posits the incredible idea that somehow we, his followers may experience a kind of unity with him that mirrors the nature of the divine godhead. There can be no greater invitation to intimacy than this. Through the cross we are welcomed into the perfect union of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. ‘May they also be in us so that the world may know…’
Paul state this same unimaginable truth in Ephesians, “God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (2:4-6). Jesus unites us with the Father in the power of the Spirit. But there is more.
The union made possible in Christ also unites us with one another. The glue is God’s glory. It is freely given to all of us who follow him, and under that covering of glory, bearing his name we are one body. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. This unity, this oneness does not mean we lose our identity, but quite the opposite. We find our true identity as his children, and in that identity we are united for his will and work. In that united spirit, we bear witness to the world that we are truly his. And his glory flows out from us to a dark and broken world, just as his glory broke through on a dark day in a broken body on Calvary.
What does it mean to you today to look up from the foot of the cross to your dying Savior and consider this prayer that he prayed specifically for you?
Encouragement for the Day
Jesus ends this petition by saying that the incredible love of the Father for his son is the exact same love God has for you and me. Let that truth overwhelm you today. As the hymn says, ‘Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my God should die for me?’ Amazing indeed!
Holy and merciful God, your amazing love took you to the cross for me. It’s too much for me to bear. I hunger and thirst for the kind of unity with you for which you prayed. I yearn to be that close to you. Draw me to you, cover me with your glory and let me be a witness to the world that you love them also. On this darkest of days, let the light of your glory shine through me that the world may know that the Father sent his son to die for a lost world. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for the cross. In the name of our crucified and suffering Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.