Words Never To Forget

by Katy McCown July 31, 2023
“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one … that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” John 17:22-23 (ESV)

Though my dad didn’t know he had only a few weeks to live, it seemed he sensed his time on earth was short. So when he talked, we listened carefully.

In a small, stale room, we gathered in a semicircle around his bed. My sister sat directly across from me while Mom leaned toward the end of the hospital bed.

Dad’s words were the only things that mattered in that moment.

Scooting forward in my chair, I assumed a more serious posture, one that communicated not just hearing but really receiving his words. He told my sister and me to take care of our mom after he was gone and to try not to be sad.

As he talked, I nodded. I wanted my dad to know he could count on me to honor his requests. In the deepest place of my heart, I made a commitment that day to do exactly what my dad asked me to do.

We prayed together and shared memories that brought both tears and laughter. Less than a month later, we stood near my dad’s body again, this time to say our final goodbyes. We would never hear his voice again on this side of heaven. All we had to hold on to were the last words he had left us with.

As I write this, it’s been more than three years since that day in the hospital room, yet I still remember it so vividly. I remember what I was wearing. I remember how I entered the room. The details of the day remain so clear, and they still bring up deep emotions — because those were some of the last words I heard my dad say.

Today’s key verses in John 17 record some of Jesus’ last words, spoken in prayer to His Father.

Just as I did with my father’s last words, I think it’s important that we lean into these words of Jesus and consider what was on our Savior’s heart in the shadow of the cross.

And what we find is that Jesus’ heart was for His disciples to “be one” (John 17:11; John 17:20-23). He said to the Father, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one” (John 17:22).

If we read about Jesus’ earthly disciples, we will find people who were not the same as each other. Their backgrounds, careers and personalities were different. They were unique, but they could still be one in Christ, and the same is true for us today.

As Christians, we share a common goal and a common love — Jesus. We may not be the same, but we can be one in Christ.

Jesus gave a reason why He prayed for us to “become perfectly one”: so that the world may know who sent Him (John 17:23). There is great purpose in becoming one in Christ, just as Jesus is one with His Father — it leads others to know who Jesus is, that He was sent by God, that God loves Him, and that God loves us.

The exchange I shared with my dad that day continues to impact my life all this time later. When I remember his words, it prompts me to consider if I am doing what he asked me to do. I evaluate if I’m living in a way that would make him happy.

More than anything, I still want to make my dad proud. I want to do what he would have wanted me to do.

In the same way I cherished the last words of my earthly father, I don’t want to rush past the last words of our Savior. Let’s lean into our Savior’s words, listen closely and remember them often.

To love Jesus is to love what He loves, and Jesus loves His Church. He deeply desires for us to be united … perfectly one.

Dear God, thank You for the invitation through Jesus to leave my life of sin, shame and brokenness and unite with the body of Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


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Katy McCown knows how it feels to try to handle life on your own. Through her struggles to keep up and catch up, she’s learned that the blessings of being a part of the body of Christ far outweigh the burdens. In Katy’s newest Bible study, She Belongs: Finding Your Place in the Body of Christ, you’ll find the peace, security and purpose Jesus promises when you find your place in the body of Christ. Order your copy today!



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Ephesians 4:4-6, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (ESV).

What is one step you can take toward being one with the body of Christ? Share with us in the comments!

© 2023 by Katy McCown. All rights reserved.

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