Finally, Jesus prays for all those who will believe in him through the gospel message of the disciples. He prays that the believers of the future will be united (17:20–26). Unity must always be a distinctive mark of the church. Because Jesus is one with his Father, and believers are one with the Father and the Son, there should be no room for rivalry and faction. The unity of Christians, their mutual love and shared purpose, must be the clearest evidence of God in their lives. This will prove to the world that God exists and that Jesus is his Son.
Jesus has always encouraged his friends to be specific in their prayers. Now he comes to his own heart’s desire. He asks that his friends may join him in the glory of heaven. This is surely a prayer that the Father longs to grant. It is, after all, the purpose of Jesus entering the world, that human beings may become God’s children and join him in heaven (John 1:12).
God is spirit. He is holy. He is invisible. The world can never know him or guess what he is like. But now Jesus has come into the world to make his Father known. As he says to Philip, ‘Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father’ (John 14:9). And what is the Father like? He is like Jesus his Son. He constantly pours out his love for his creation. He longs to restore the world to its original beauty and peace. God gives the ultimate proof of his love by sending Jesus, his only Son, to be the Saviour of the world. He wants all people to come to him of their own free will, to become his children and to be eternally united in his love (John 3:16, 17).
Knowles, A. (2001). The Bible guide (1st Augsburg books ed., p. 524). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg.