Read John 17:1-26
Jesus and the Twelve had finished dinner and Jesus had just washed their dirty feet. Judas had run off to set the next day’s horror into motion. And before Jesus led them to the garden where He would pray so intensely that blood would pour from His pores, Jesus prayed for His disciples. He prayed for the Twelve, and He prayed for us.
When I face hard times, my prayers get more focused. I’m more intent on what my heart really wants, what my soul truly needs. I’m guessing that what Jesus prayed was His heart’s cry here in John 17, so let’s pay close attention.
Here we find Jesus praying that the world will know who He truly is by the way His disciples would bear His name. He prayed that His glory, the truth of His essence, His very character, would be made clear through the name He had given, and now gives, to His followers.
In that culture, a name was inseparable from the person by whom it was called. It was “the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character”, according to HELPS Word Studies. So, when Jesus gave us His name, He gave us His character, His purpose, His strength, His protection. He gave us the character of the one true God, unified in every way, one purpose, one Spirit, one name.
The unity of God the Father and Jesus the Son weaves through His prayer like a thread holding together the blanket on my lap. Their purpose was (and is) one and the same. They have only ever worked together to bring glory to His name, to show the world the truth of who He is, the weight of His fierce love, and the world’s desperate need to trust Him for salvation from certain death and darkness.
As bearers of Jesus’ name, one with the Father, unified in every way, how we love each other matters. Our unity as followers of Jesus Christ is one of the ways He uses to show the world who He is, to demonstrate His deep love.
It means working for peace even when we disagree on politics or parenting styles. It means remembering the God whose name we bear, offering grace and forgiveness instead of judgment and gossip. Because Jesus the Son and God the Father have given us the Spirit to rely on, we can live in His strength and in pursuit of His purpose.
As a follower of Jesus, do you bear His name well? Does the way you live show off His true character? Do you live in harmony with other believers who also bear His name or do you perpetuate disunity?
Because you bear His name.