Jesus Praying for the Whole Family -- By: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 09:1 (Summer 2000)
Article: Jesus Praying for the Whole Family
Author: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.


Jesus Praying for the Whole Family

S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.1

Introduction

The final words of our Lord’s highpriestly prayer come before us now, and they, just as His other words in this beautiful prayer, touch upon abidingly significant truths. For example, He mentions things that have to do with heaven, and what Christian is not interested in his future home? Near the end of the prayer Jesus prays, “Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (v. 24).

And the nature of church unity, a subject of contemporary interest, is one of the emphases of His last words. Three times in the last paragraph He refers to things that touch the question in a specific way. Twice He prays that we may be one as He and the Father are one (cf. vv. 21–22). And then He prays that we may be “made perfect in one” (cf. v. 23). His words raise the question of the nature of church unity. The Apostle Paul speaks of unity “of the Spirit in the bond of peace” in Ephesians 4:3, which evidently has to do with the unity brought about by the baptism of the members of the body of Christ into the unity of the true church, a unity forged by the Holy Spirit upon faith in Jesus

Christ. But is Jesus speaking of this unity? or does He have in mind some kind of outward organizational unity, as some interpreters would have it.2

And what is the nature of the mission of the church? Is it social welfare, as many professing Christians, usually liberal in their theology, and some well-meaning but misguided evangelicals, would have it? Or is it the evangelism of the world, and must all the resources and energies of the church be directed to reaching the lost? Well, who would seek to belittle evangelism? We are all interested in that, because it is a part of our Lord’s demands of us. On the other hand, it is very unwise to deny that there is a time and place for evangelism, and that there are legitimate prerequisites for effective work along these lines. Many years ago a leader in modern evangelism pointed out that it was very important that the apostles be prepared, be spiritually worthy, to spread the gospel. Having in mind their lack of spiritual wisdom and knowledge, he wrote,

Had the disciples gone forth as missionaries before the day ...

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