Jesus prays in the upper room where he and the disciples gather to share the Passover meal. The disciples have the privilege of overhearing this prayer. All who have read or heard it read since also share in Jesus’ words to his Father. Jesus intercedes for his disciples—then, now, and in-between. His trust in God is clear: He leaves the future in God’s hands, modeling the behavior his disciples are to imitate.
Using one or more translations of the Bible, count the number of times the word one appears and the number of times the words love or loved appear in these verses. One implies unity, coherence, symmetry, harmony, solidarity, unanimity. Love makes unity possible. Love shared does not diminish those who share love. Love shared magnifies, enriches, strengthens the beloved(s) and the love shared. Love shared generates mutuality and reciprocity. Jesus prays fervently for this love and unity to be present in disciples throughout the ages.
Recall how the coming of the Holy Spirit emboldened Jesus’ disciples. Their singleness of purpose and shared experience of Jesus are powerful. They remember and live into the words Jesus utters here. The number of Christ-followers explodes because Jesus’ disciples are on fire, unified in their mission!
Possibilities for reflection include these:
• a time when someone prayed aloud for me in my presence and its effect,
• when and how I experience the unity of believers,
• how my experience of unity intensifies and sustains love and Christian witness,
• how this scripture is being fulfilled in my life.

God of love and unity, make your love visible through me. Draw me to unite more fully with other believers so that our shared witness may change the world for your glory. Amen.

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