Thoughts on John 17
20 “I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, 21 that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. 22 The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they can see my glory that you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25 Righteous Father, even if the world does not know you, I know you, and these men know that you sent me. 26 I made known your name to them, and I will continue to make it known, so that the love you have loved me with may be in them, and I may be in them.”
I have been mulling over this passage for a while. This is the end of the prayer Jesus spoke over his disciples just before His betrayal and death. If this is one of the last things He prayed then it must be super important. Jesus had just spent time prior to this pouring wisdom upon wisdom into these men and in John 16 they finally “got” that Jesus truly came from the Father in Heaven and would be returning. This prayer was from the depths of Jesus’ heart for the disciples and ALL who choose to follow Him in the future. (vs 20) His desire for us is UNITY and LOVE. If you look closely, though, this does not come from us...it comes from the Father. (vs 21) We have to be united with Him first then, and only then, can we be truly united with and love each other.
Jesus is available and wants us with Him. (vs 24) And when we are with Him then His love will be in us and the world will know Jesus through us (vs 21). It matters so much if we are all following the leading of the Father, even (especially) as we plan a big experience like Christmas for the City. This is open to our ENTIRE community so anyone may come through the doors. If we are united with the Father in love then as we make decisions, that will naturally be our filter. (vs. 24-25) We won’t be working to love each other, or working to be unified if our eyes are looking at the Father. Then on December 20th when the doors fly open, every person will be flooded with a loving unity that they’ve maybe not experienced before.
Honestly, my favorite thing about Christmas for the City is the fact that so many churches and organizations come TOGETHER to make it happen. It is such a blessing to see the Body of Christ, His Church, actually be a “Body” instead of exalting themselves in some way. I truly believe it makes the Father smile. Our enemy, the devil, fights unity in every area so thank you for standing strong again that and showing our community what it looks like for God’s people to be unified.
Let’s continue walk together with Jesus and prepare a beautiful gift for our city! And if you have a dream in your heart for CFTC that may be different than anything you’ve done or seen before, let’s talk about it! It may be a dream in God’s heart too!
Much love to you all!
-Holli Billings (firstname.lastname@example.org)