This High Priestly prayer of Yeshua (Jesus) is a high water mark for intercessory prayer, a gold mine of revelation. Many people refer to John 17 as Yeshua’s prayer for the unity of the Church. Certainly that is part of the prayer. However, the prayer as a whole is much more.
The reference to our becoming “One” in Him is found 5 times in John 17, while the reference to Yeshua’s glory or our being glorified in Him is found 8 times. It is more of a prayer for the glorification of the Church than the unity of the Church.
A change in our understanding of John 17 could bring a breakthrough to intercessory prayer worldwide. It is a prayer for the entire Body of Messiah to come into its place of glory, destiny and holiness.
Union and Unity
There is a difference between union and unity. Yeshua’s primary prayer is for us to become “One” with Him and the Father. It is a prayer for our union with God. Certainly if we become one with God, we will become one with one another. However the union with God takes precedence over our unity with one another.
When we picture the people of God all over the world becoming one in God’s glory, our understanding of God’s purposes will expand exponentially. Peter wrote that we would be partakers of the divine nature (II Peter 1:4). Paul prayed that we would be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:20).
John 17 is a prayer that we will finish the great commission so all the world will know that Yeshua is Lord (John 17:21, 23). It is a prayer that we will fulfill the two great commandments to love God and to love one another (Mark 12, Luke 10). It is a prayer that we will become the purified Bride of Messiah as described in the book of Revelation and Ephesians.
Yeshua prayed that we would behold His glory. John experienced an answer to that prayer when he saw Yeshua in His glorified form in Revelation 1. The glory of God is the power that comes with the presence of the Lord; it flows like a river of fire from His throne (Daniel 7:10). It is like a giant tornado of nuclear power (Ezekiel 1). It was seen by the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9, Matthew 17). They experienced a few “tongues” of that glory on Pentecost morning (Acts 2).
Yeshua said He shared the glory with the Father BEFORE the foundation of the world (John 17:5). That glory was there at the creation. The glory of God was the power that created the universe. It is like a giant quasar; like a reverse black hole – that doesn’t swallow up the universe, but spits it out.
How much power is that? Einstein proved that energy is equal to mass multiplied by the speed of light squared (e = mc2). If we could reckon the total mass of all created matter and multiply it by the speed of light squared, we would come up with the total quantity of pure energy that was needed to create the universe. That is the power in the glory of God.