Imparting Trinitarian Leadership
Jesus connects leadership to the model of the Trinity. He built his team of 12 disciples within the context of community and having mission as its chief characteristic. Jesus clearly reveals this missional aspect when he said, "As the Father has sent me so send I you" (John 20:21).
Jesus’ prayer in John 17 for his team of disciples was one in which Jesus prayed that the model of Trinity, the relationship between Father and Son, would be manifested in the team.
- John 17:11,22 "...that they may be one, just as (even as) We are one."
- John 17:21 "…that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You."
Jesus prayed that the culture of the community of the Godhead, one of harmony, love, mission, serving, equality, giving (community), would manifest within them. There is no hierarchy in this prayer for the team.
He also prayed that the purpose (mission) " that the world may believe that You sent Me" (John 17:21) might be the life and focus of this team. Something of the way they were together as a leadership team would have huge ramifications to those they served.
Jesus connects the model he manifested (John 17:13-18, 22-26) of His relationship within the Trinity to what He desired this team to become and to also manifest.
From the disciples
John (one of the 12) states in 1 John 1:1-3 that this is exactly what they did. "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of life-and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and manifested to us-what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ." (John 1:1-3)
John states the life of the Godhead that had been manifested to the disciples and that they had, in turn, proclaimed and demonstrated (or borne witness) of that same fellowship of the Godhead. John is saying that the life and fellowship of the Godhead had become the model of their service to the church. John then states that he expects the same fellowship and connectedness will exist between the church and the leadership team.
In John 17, Jesus’ prayer establishes a priority, character, mission, and a model to follow (which is seen in the Trinity). Jesus’ prayer is directed toward this work that he had given himself to…that of team building (John 17:6-26). This prayer clearly states that teamwork and team building was the principal part of His earthly ministry (see John 13-17).
In giving himself to team, Jesus secured His continuing and growing influence on the world. He did not invest the future of His Kingdom on the superficial impressions of the minds of the crowds. He invested the future on the convictions of twelve team members (John 17: 14-19). Jesus continues to invest the future in us, his followers, in today’s world.