A partly repaired car. A half read book. Abandoned diets and exercise routines. Cluttered closets. E-mails and letters waiting to be written.
Our inability to finish what we start is seen in the smallest of life’s things. It can also show up in the biggest of life’s painful areas. An abandoned child. A cold faith. Job hopping. A wrecked relationship.
These things make our lives incomplete, so we’re constantly wondering when we’ll find the time to do them right, or at least to fix them. While time-management gurus might take us on a twelve step instruction to help identify certain priorities, there’s a different approach in Jesus’ words.
Jesus took the time to pray about our cluttered lives of incompleteness. Rather than teaching us time management principles (which can indeed help in their own way), Jesus provides an altogether different path to fulfillment, meaning and purpose.
Jesus chooses not to cheer us on to get more important things done more efficiently. Instead, Jesus prays that we only realize what the most important thing already is. And that it is already complete!
All believers are complete! Our lives are complete. Our destinies are complete. Our connections with Christ and each other are complete! And Jesus tells us why.
The reporting of Jesus’ words in John chapter 17 is unique to John’s gospel, because John’s gospel has its own special flavor of Jesus’ mission to save us: oneness with him.
This oneness is a central theme in the gospel of John. “I and the Father are one,” Jesus explained to the Jews in John 10:30 after he promised “there shall be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:16).
Jesus’ seamless robe undivided at his crucifixion (John 19:23-24) and the untorn net gathering up the miraculous catch of fish after his resurrection (John 21:11) show this oneness.
It is contrasted with the opposite state of incompleteness, such as being scattered, running away or being lost (John 10:5).
Remember making those paper chains? You know, you’d start with some strips of paper, usually colored construction paper, and get ready to work but then someone would rush by your desk and “whoosh!” all the strips of paper fly all over the place, some of them even lost for good under cabinets nearby.
You finally get the glue out and start gluing these strips of paper to themselves to form a circle, all the while linking them to each other.
Without Christ, we are like those loose strips of paper, blown away by the devil’s breath, lost under the cabinets of life’s pressures, meaningless, afraid, alone. But Christ’s death for our sins and his resurrection victory over Satan link and lock our completeness to him and other believers.
Christ is our glue! Our faith and life are closed by his complete work of redemption so that we become linked into another circle of faith with other believers, ultimately anchored to the glory of God.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, we live in a world that segments and separates us from each other and you. Strengthen our bond of faith. Claim our hearts so that every thought, every decision, every step ahead is guided by your grace. Make us one, Lord, with you and with each other. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Take ten minutes and read the Bible references above about the oneness them in John’s gospel. Let it reinforce the promises of Jesus, and lead you to rejoice!