When Mary and Joseph “lost” Jesus, and “found” him in the synagogue teaching the teachers, they asked why he would behave this way and cause them anxiety. If we want to follow and imitate Him, His answer should give us a clue to our mission. He answered; “didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2)
As His followers, we need to be about our Father’s business. When we pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, we are recognizing that His will in heaven is our business here on earth, and when we pray for His Kingdom to come, we are lining ourselves up with and agreeing with His will for His Kingdom. If we are boldly praying for His Kingdom to come, it would behoove us to know what His kingdom looks like. I think we get a great insight into this by the example Jesus set for us in His prayer in John 17.
According to this passage, His will is:
- …that He be glorified in me so that He can bring glory to the Father.
- …that I know Him. And as a result of knowing Him, I have eternal life in Him.
- …that we (His followers) be one, as He and the Father are one…His will is unity in the Spirit.
- …to have His joy made complete in me.
- …that I would be sanctified in His word, that is truth.
- …that the world will know God loves them and will believe Jesus was sent from God by looking at me, and seeing my relationship in Christ.
- …that God’s love will be in me, and that Jesus Himself will be in me.
Here I wrote out my favorite answer to the question “What does God want me to do? What is His will for me?” I actually learned to sing this Scripture when I was young, and it has never left me.
You can read more of my thoughts on this here.
I was meditating on this part of the verse as John 17’s words about unity and oneness with the Father, Son, and one another reverberated through my mind, mingled with parts of the Apostle’s creed. His will (according to John 17) is that we be one…and according to this model of prayer that He gave us, we are to pray that His will be done on earth, as in heaven. He has one body, and we are all part of one another, here on earth as well as in heaven.
This is a vivid picture of the communion of the saints that is taught and professed in the apostles creed. Though they have gone from this life on earth to REAL life, eternal life in heaven, a departed saint is still part of the “body of Christ”. Dying has not disconnected them from Christ’s body of believers, otherwise, where would they go? Christ only has one body, and it is comprised of those here on earth, as well as those in heaven.
I believe they are part of that cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12 that is watching and cheering us on in our journey (the race), and they can and do continue to pray to the Father for us. They haven’t left or been removed from His body, they are still active participants in His will at the feet of “our Father in heaven”, just as we are present in His body, the church, here on earth. We are still one body, and we are held together, connected in purpose and spirit, by the Son, in whom we find unity one with another, as He prayed we would.