Chapter 35.1 One in the Spirit
Thursday night (Jewish Friday) of Passion Week, upper room, Jerusalem A.D. 30
One in the Spirit, composite digital image by L. Lovett, 2006
One in the Spirit, composite digital image by L. Lovett, 2006
(CLICK on the image above for a LARGER version)

Now we come to the “Holy of Holies.” For the first time we are allowed to listen to what really is the Lord’s Prayer; and as we hear, we humbly worship.

The final hours had come. Jesus’ great intercessory prayer was the preparation for his agony, cross, and outlook on the crown beyond. His first and last thought was of the disciples—even though he knew that through the night there would be a scattering before the joy of Resurrection morning. The great High Priest first solemnly offered up himself, next interceded for the apostles, and then consecrated his church and her work. The Son of God personally prayed to the Father for all believers today!

This intimate fellowship between the Father and the Son was as close as one can get to the secret thoughts of the Godhead. Having opened his heart to the apostles in the previous chapter, Jesus now opened his heart to the Father in heaven. At the supreme crisis of the Lord’s work, the disciples were allowed to listen and learn the nature of their calling which they were to soon fulfill.

The Passover meal was ended and there remained only to sing the hallel as the final act of the ceremony. But before this, they all rose from the table and Christ paused to pray. There was total silence, for his chosen ones knew something extraordinary was coming.

Consecration of Christ as High Priest

In the innermost sanctuary of the upper room, Jesus raised his head and looked toward heaven as he began his prayer. The first part was the consecration of God’s Son as the great High Priest. The Father’s presence became so real that a note of hope, joy, and victory rang out in the Savior’s voice.

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you. For you have made him sovereign over all humanity, to give eternal life to all you have given him. Eternal life is to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ the one you have sent.

“I have glorified you on earth by finishing the work which you gave me to do; and now Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory we shared before the world began.”

The Son prayed as an equal, expressing his desire to return to the Father and resume the glory which he had laid aside for the Incarnation. His request that the Father would glorify the Son was not asking anything for himself, but that the Son might glorify the Father. The cross was part of his glory, for the plans of heaven depended on his sacrificial death and resurrection. Then his earthly task would be completed and he could fulfill in his disciples the amazing things he had just told them. He would be ready to begin his greater work in the Spirit. The future glory of God depended on the Pentecostal outpouring of Christ as the Holy Spirit, by whom the church would be formed and believers gathered into the heavenly family.

Consecration of Apostles

The Eleven realized they were in the presence of the Son of God who was speaking to the great I AM. Jesus usually went off by himself to be alone with the Father. They never heard such a prayer as this and dared not move or make a sound, feeling unworthy to be included among the listeners.

The Lord now solemnly consecrated the apostles, those whom the Father had specially given him, “I have manifested your character and personality to the men you gave me out of this world. They were always yours and you gave them to me because they have kept your word. Now they know everything I presented has come from you; for I have taught them what I learned from you and they have accepted it. They believe you sent me.”

Again his thought was of the disciples for whose sake he consecrated himself. Jesus had revealed the Father, and they in turn kept the word they received. They were not yet enlightened by Pentecost, but acted on the light they did have. They gazed upon Jesus to behold the personality of God and testified that he alone had the words of eternal life. Now they were finally convinced he had come from God. As a result, the Lord considered them wonderfully victorious, having withstood the test. He was pleased to present them to the Father as his own.

With infinite tenderness, Christ requested that the Father would guard them, “I am praying for my disciples only; not for the world, but for those you have given me because they belong to you. All that is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine; and through them my glory is revealed.

“Now I am departing the world; I am leaving them behind as I come to you. Holy Father, guard them in the power of your name, the name you have given me, that they may be one, as we are one.”

This was the heart of Jesus’ prayer. Knowing what lay ahead, he committed his apostles to the safekeeping of the Father. Christ’s property was also the Father’s property, and Jesus’ glory in his disciples was also the Father’s glory. His request was limited to the disciples and those who would later come out from the world to believe in him. On other occasions the Lord had prayed for the world, but not this time. Only his chosen ones merited this kind of safekeeping. Since the Word of God was now entrusted to them, it must also be made secure.

“I kept them safe in the power of your name which you gave me; and I guarded them so that not one of them was lost, except the one destined to be lost as Scripture foretold.”

His chosen began to feel secure and understand Judas’ fate. The Savior didn’t lose him. Judas lost himself. Christ was satisfied he did everything to save him. In no way does God cause anyone to perish. The prophecy was written in order that Judas’ perishing might be evidence of God’s foresight, that even the acts of a traitor might be witness to the truth.

“Now I am coming to you; but while I am still in the world I speak these words so they may have my joy in full measure. I have delivered your message to them, and the world hates them because they are strangers in it, as I am. Consecrate my disciples by the truth; your word is truth. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, only that you keep them safe from the evil one. As you sent me into the world, I send my chosen into the world; and for their sake I consecrate myself, so they may be consecrated by the truth.”

His second request was that the Father would sanctify the apostles in truth. As the Father sent the Son, the Son would send the disciples into the world—in the same manner and mission. The work of God in the world was to be carried on by them and they must not be taken out of it, or even isolated from it. They were to charge into the world with confidence, protected against temptation beyond their powers by his Spirit, who would soon indwell them. The disciples would soon be speaking directly to the Father and could also command the devil to depart from them. If they used his resources they could not be defeated.

Consecration of All Believers

Jesus did not pray for the intimate group of disciples around him alone. Now he consecrated all who would become believers as the word of truth passed from the apostles to succeeding generations.

“I pray not only for these disciples, but also for those who put their faith in me because of their words. O Father, may all of them be one, just as you and I are one; as you are in me and I am in you, so also may they be in us, and the world will believe you sent me. The glory which you gave me I have given to them, so they may be united into one. Then the world will know you loved them as you loved me.”

With his third request, the Savior prayed for all believers to be one in spirit and purpose. He would have them be unified, keep believing in the divine origin and mission of their Lord, and be molded into one family of God. After Pentecost, the moment all believers received the Spirit of Christ they were baptized into this one body, joined to one another as surely Jesus was joined to the Father. Believers may be separated by great distances from one another and may belong to different branches of the church, but these factors need not disturb their essential unity in the Spirit. With the spiritual unity of the saints, they are enabled to love one another.

His final request was that the men who were the Father’s gift to the Son may be with him to behold his glory. “Father, they are your gift to me; and my desire is that they be with me where I am, so they can see my glory which you have given me, because you loved me before the world began.”

They were the first-fruits of his mission in the world and this was essential to their call. They belonged with him in the life to come, and he could not bear to be without them even though he will have the fellowship of the Father and the adoration of the angelic hosts. His words guaranteed his own would be with him forever.

After this unspeakably sublime consecration of his church, and communication to her of his glory as well as his work, they heard, “O Righteous Father, it is true the world does not know you, but I do; and these men know you sent me. I have revealed you to them and will continue to reveal you. I will do this so that your love for me may be in them, and I in them.”

Because of Jesus’ depth of love for the redeemed, he has no thought of ever being separated from his own. The eternal safety of the disciples was sealed by this prayer. The climax in his Messianic appointment—the object of his rule over all humankind—was the Father’s gift of the unified church to Christ; and Christ gave eternal life to each person in that church. This was the charter of the church; her possession and her joy; her faith, her hope, and love; and in this she was to stand, pray, and work.

When the Lord and Savior finished his prayer, the apostles realized that it was not only for them, but for all of those who have loved him, and for all who will ever love him.

One must read upon one’s knees having listened to our Lord praying for us, lifting us all up into the presence of his Father and ours. It gives one a sense of utter safety, for his prayer for us goes on night and day—forever! It is like arms about us, and because we choose to be his children and cling to him, it will never let us go!

To Gethsemane

The sound of voices singing the hymn of praise floated through the windows from the city outside. Those inside joined their own voices in song and the Passover supper was ended.

Jesus looked at his closest companions and spoke with sadness in his voice, “I shall not talk with you much longer, for the prince of this world approaches. He has no authority over me, but the world must be shown that I love the Father and I am doing what he commands. Come, let us go.”

As he turned his steps toward the Garden of Gethsemane, this time someone followed him. Mark sensed something important was about to happen this night, but didn’t know what it might be.

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