“…Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John‬ ‭17‬:‭23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In 2018, art collector Laura Young was shopping at a Goodwill store in Austin, Texas, when she stumbled upon a sculpture on the floor beneath a table. It was tucked away and almost discarded, but she found it to be compelling. It looked like a knock-off ancient head bust that had somehow made its way from someone’s garage or basement to now a second-hand store. Young liked collecting such finds, and so she decided to buy it. The price? $34.99.

She got the piece home and decided to do some research as to who the sculpture was supposed to be. A google search led to some inquiries, to some emails, and eventually an appraisal, and wouldn’t you know it, Laura had just spent less than $40 on a priceless first-century Roman bust that had been missing for decades. The worth was so much more than the estimate. 

My gut tells me that you probably struggle to estimate yourself as worth very much. Now, don’t get me wrong, you have your strengths. And in some circles, you feel pretty confident you are the most educated, talented, or even attractive person there. But on average, you feel a little less than. Me too. We all do.

But according to Jesus, we aren’t worthless. We are priceless. 

It’s the night before Jesus is crucified. He’s washed feet. He’s broken bread. He’s poured wine. He even instituted a new command. Then there was all the talk of leaving and the Spirit coming. John must be overwhelmed with data. But then Jesus launched into his longest prayer that we have on record. 

I don’t know how many times I’ve read this prayer of Jesus and never noticed this one phrase, but it’s a doozy. In fact, it’s the equivalent of finding a Roman head bust for $40. And the irony is, that’s what’s being said about you and me. 

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:20-21

Jesus has been praying for the disciples, and now he shifts to us. To the ones who will believe in the message the disciples share. It’s impressive enough to think that Jesus prays for you and me. Let that sink in. 

But then notice what happens next.

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. John 17:22

Jesus is praying for the disciples and then us to be unified. To be as close and tight-knit as the very Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. That’s overwhelming.  

But don’t stop there.

Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John‬ ‭17‬:‭20‬-‭23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

By our unity, the world will believe? Ok. And just as I start humming the old song, “they will know we are Christians by our love….” I re-read the last part.

“…(you) have loved them even as you have loved me.”

The Father loves you as much as the Son. Wow.

You may think God tolerates you. But he loves you the same as he loves Jesus.

You may think the Father is disappointed in you. Done with you. So over you. But he loves you the same as he loves the Son.

You may think you are worthless, overlooked, best days behind you, left on a bottom shelf at a thrift store.  

But he says you are priceless. Missing for decades, maybe. But priceless still. 

Today’s prayer: 
May I see myself the way you do. 

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