A study of John 17: 20 - 26, reveals how Jesus prayed for his disciples, and for those who hear the word as a result of them sharing the good news. In other words, Jesus was praying for us! We have heard the good new from those who heard it from those who heard it, and so forth. And because of this, we can claim that Jesus was praying for you and me when he said:
John 17: 20"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that 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.
Does the authority of Christ commissioning us all to be one with Him and the Father get any clearer? More importantly, doesn't it become clear that we are to be ambassadors for Christ, through this prayer? This is an evangelistic beginning for the church we claim today.
The point is that we believe that God, the father, sent Jesus for us all. He commissioned his disciples, though they didn't understand it at the time, to bear witness that God sent Jesus for us all. This prayer is the beginning of the church as we know it, although it was prior to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Jesus prayed for us!
Some question the resurrection...so be it. Some may question the filling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost...so be it. But these words spoken by Jesus in prayer to the Heavenly Father, predate all of this. This is His prayer for us. As a result of this prayer, I believe. As a result of this prayer, we believe. As a result of this prayer, there is a commissioning of the disciples that makes everything else subordinate to it.
The power of this prayer, the last prayer Jesus prayed with his disciples, puts it all in perspective for generations to follow. Ah, but the joy of sharing the resurrection and ascension makes it all the more powerful. Before Christ proved his Godliness, he empowered his followers with this prayer. How utterly pregnant the notion.
Thank you, Jesus, for praying for me before you proved your true nature. I look to that prayer and accept that it was for me, 2000 years later...thank you, Jesus.