Scripture: And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. (John 17:11-13)
Jesus’ departure to the Father (his death and ascension) are around the corner. It’s clear at this point that Jesus prays in the disciples’ hearing because he wants them to see his relationship with the Father as a model for their relationship to him and even to one another. Jesus wants them to be united in their common bond of faith so that they may act as one in the world. To this end, Jesus prays that God would keep them in his name—that is, by the power of his name. It is God’s work in us that keeps us united to him, and the outworking of that is that we should have a brotherly unity. Here is joy: unity in the glorious name of God.
Prayer: Father, as we remain in the world without Jesus here to guide us in the flesh, it is easy for us to lose sight of your purposes and your mission. We live in much the same way as the world around us when we should be distinguished according to your name. Forgive us. And fulfill the prayers of Jesus for us that we might be united in him, in your name.