In coming days, many of us will have opportunity to sing Charles Wesley’s Easter hymn, “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.” The fourth verse proclaims: “Soar we now where Christ has led, following our exalted Head; made like him, like him we rise; ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!” We will together affirm our hope in the future that Christ Himself prayed for more than 2,000 years ago.
Today we’ll continue the reading from the passage we began yesterday. This is Jesus’ Passion-week intercession for “those who will believe in me through [the Apostles’] message” (v. 20). In other words, we are reading Jesus’ prayer for us. It is a prayer both simple and radical: Christ prays that we would be made so completely one that our unity would be like the unity of the Father and Son within the Trinity.
Just as Christ’s prayer for His disciples (which we studied yesterday) flows naturally into prayer for those who come to faith through their teaching, His prayer for all believers is also a prayer with greater implications. He asks that all Christians would be unified in love for the sake of their testimony in the world. As the early church father Tertullian explained, the instinctive response of the world to the church ought to be: “See how they love one another!”
When we pray for one another—when we ask the Father to unify His church, to pour out His love among us, and to take us to be in His presence forever—we are adding our “Amen” to the prayers that Jesus prayed just hours before His crucifixion. And we pray with great confidence, knowing that we will one day soar together where Christ has led.