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Friends Forever

“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous” (1 Peter 3:8).

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“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous” (1 Peter 3:8).

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God’s love for us shows us how to love one another.

When have you been part of a cheer ing crowd at a sporting event? How did it feel to be part of a group with the same goal—the winning of your favorite players? Jesus knew it was good to be part of a united team.

The Passover meal hadn’t quite lived up to the disciples’ expectations. They had been looking forward to the meal with a sense of anticipation. Something momentous was about to happen. There was a buzz in the air that started with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Surely Jesus would tell them tonight about His plans to establish His kingdom.

The evening hadn’t quite followed their plan. Jesus their Master had begun by washing their feet. The meal had been a quiet time with Jesus talking as though He was going to leave them, not overthrow the Romans. The disciples felt confused. They loved Jesus. Surely He must see that now was the time to act.

The disciples barely noticed Judas slipping out of the room. He often dis appeared to help a needy person, or pay for something; there was nothing unusual about his going early. Only Jesus seemed to notice and looked sadly after him, as if He wished He could call Judas back. Jesus looked around at the other disciples. They were His closest friends. He knew them so well—their qualities and their weaknesses, what made them happy and sad. He knew their expectations and also the pain that was in store for them. If only He could help them to understand what was about to hap pen.

Jesus knew God as His Father and Friend. God was with Him all the time; they communed together and were one in purpose. Jesus knew that if His dis ciples could only understand this, they wouldn’t feel so devastated when they would see Him being taken away from them to be crucified.

It was getting late and time for them to leave. Jesus would talk some more on their way to the garden. But before they left, Jesus wanted to pray to His Father, their Father as well, who loved them just as much as Jesus did. Lifting up His hands, Jesus began to pray.

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorifi ed You on the earth. I have fi nished the work which You have given Me to do.”

“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:2-4, 14-17, 20, 21, 24).

Jesus longed to help His disciples understand the bond of unity that existed between Him and the Father. Oh, how He longed to help them understand the events that would lead up to His crucifi xion and death. Only if their faith rested entirely in God would they recognize that Jesus was the Son of God. Only then would they be able to stand in the hour of trial. Then they would comprehend that Jesus was sent from God to sacrifice His life to save us from sin and eternal death. Through this prayer Jesus entrusted His disciples to the Father’s care. He interceded for them and for everyone who would believe in Him as our rightful high priest.

Sadly, the disciples did not understand at that time the meaning of Jesus’ words. Their spiritual eyes were still dimmed by their own expectations. They failed to understand Jesus’ mission. That night Judas betrayed Jesus. The disciples spent a weekend of lonely despair. But after Jesus’ resurrection they would remember this prayer of Jesus. They would understand that truly the key to victory is found in communion with God. If we seek to become one with Jesus, He will enable us to reflect His love to the world around us. Remember, Jesus prayed that we would be one with God so that the world would believe that the Father had sent Jesus to save the world. Let’s decide to have a living connection with God and pray that the world will come to know Jesus and the love of the Father through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.