John 17: That We May Be One

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;

“that they all may be one,

as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

John 17:20-21, NKJV

 

Of all the purposes that the church has violated through the years, the one found in this prayer of Jesus may be the most grievous. As He prays on the eve of His crucifixion, He asks His Father that all who believe in Him will be one. And yet, we are anything but.

 

It's odd that one of the very things that would have brought us the greatest strength - the unity of all believers - is the one thing that the church has been unwilling to do. We have fought and disagreed to the point where the church has been divided in a thousand different ways.

 

Please don't misunderstand. I know that we cannot just "get along to get along". I know that we have to choose to obey God rather than have unity with those who would disobey. Our problem, however, goes far deeper than just not being able to agree with one another. Our problem is that we often do not agree with God!

 

You see, the unity that God calls us to begins with a unity of the spirit. the apostle Paul put it this way:

 

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 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.

Ephesians 4:1-6, ESV

 

The idea behind this is that if you have unity with the Spirit, and I have unity with the Spirit, then we will have unity with each other. Then we would be one and the church would truly be unified. Not because we agree with each other, but because we agree with God!

 

This was Jesus' stated purpose for His followers: That we be one. By reading His Word, we someday might be able to accomplish this unity that Jesus so desperately wanted the church to have... that we may be one!

 

Today is the 85th day of the year, and the chapter for today is John 17. It will help us to see the importance of being one in Christ Jesus our Lord!