Jesus wants all his followers to be unified with God – John 17:21b-23
Jesus then prays again for unity but this time that the future disciples will have ‘complete unity’ v23 with God. Once more he repeats that the purpose of their unity with God is missional, ‘Then the world will know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’ v23 Jesus quantifies how great the unity he desires between God and his followers to be by praying it will as close a relationship as his own relationship with the Father. He prays that he (Jesus) will be in them in the same way as the Father is in Jesus. This is a conjoining of their spiritual lives. It involves a shared understanding with Jesus along with shared loves, desires and commitments. He wants his followers to know a deep closeness with him and this is to be achieved by the gift of his glory. The term Jesus’ glory may be one that we do not immediately understand because it includes multiple aspects of who Jesus is and what he did. Through our unity with Christ we benefit from and enter into what Jesus achieved through his, “humble incarnation, culminating in his death, resurrection and exaltation.” (NIV Study Bible, 2011) In the same way as Jesus reflected the Father’s glory so Jesus prayed his future disciples would reflect his glory. Paul captures this in 2 Corinthians 3:18, ‘And we all, (notice the “all”) with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.’ From Paul we understand that unity with God is with the whole Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and also that the impact of it causes progressive change into Christ likeness.