John 17:20-26 (ESV)
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
These days every headline seems to highlight the fact that we are a divided people. We are divided by politics and opinions on such issues as the death penalty, healthcare, social justice, and many others. There are divisions that spring from religion, race, gender, and nationality. Divisions in sports allegiances can be so sharp that they give rise to violence, and unfortunately, there are divisions within individual churches.
However, occasionally something happens that unites people together. Sometimes it’s the needs of others through a catastrophic natural disaster, a tragedy, a senseless act of violence carried out on the innocent. Those are moments where what divides us seems to vanish and people remarkably act as one.
In our passage, Jesus prays for something remarkable. First, it begins with the “who” Jesus is praying for. Did you notice it? It’s in verse 20. Please read it again because I don’t want you to miss this. The remarkable, nearly unfathomable thing here is that Jesus is praying for…, you!
Jesus is praying for all who will come to believe in Him and who will entrust their lives to Him.
Add to the astonishment that the request that Jesus is making of the Father is that all who believe in Him would be one, that we would be united just as Jesus and the Father are united. What’s even more remarkable is that our unity is not just a surface-level obedience or submission to one another. The source of our unity and oneness comes from the love and unity that God the Father and Jesus the Son have with each other.
The point of it all is so that the world may see our love and unity for and with each other, and that others may come to know and believe.
Finally, please don’t miss the end of Jesus’ amazing prayer. Verse 26 brings everything back to this one foundational thought. God’s love for His Son, which surrounds and abounds in Jesus, that same love exists within all who entrust their lives to Jesus.
Unity and love. These are the deep hallmarks of every believer and every church. These are the things that every believer is to strive for as they continuously pursue their relationship with Jesus. Will we ever fully mature in this? Not until we see Jesus face to face which is why we must continually work at this and pursue Jesus every day. Great things for us to consider as we begin this new year. These traits are to be the uniting bonds between us, witnessing to the present presence of Jesus with us and in the world.
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
God bless you and know that you are constantly in my prayers.