Wednesday, March 19, 2014


In John chapter 17 Jesus Christ famously prays, "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 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. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 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" (17:20-23).

Jesus Christ desires that His church be united. The above passage, possibly more than any other in scripture, makes this clear. On the night before His crucifixion Jesus specifically prays for His church to be one. Considering the timing, we see that this is of utmost importance to our Lord.

Too often we act as if unity is optional. We tend to unite with other believers that we already agree with on whatever issues. We shy away from those who differ from us or are just plain different from us. We try to just not really think about them. This is not as it should be. Jesus offers no loopholes for the unity of his body.

In the above High Priestly Prayer, Jesus prays the following amazing things:

1. That we (His body) will be one as Jesus and the Father are one

2. That this unity will lead to the world believing that the Father sent Jesus to earth

3. The glory the Father gave to Christ, Christ has in turn given to us so that we will be perfectly one.

4. That the perfect unity will show the world God's love for us

In essence Jesus prays for two main things. First, our Lord asks for perfect unity of His body just as He and His Father are perfectly united. Second, Jesus prays that this unity will be a witness to the world of his truth.

If we ever wonder whether or not unity matters to God, all we have to do is read John 17. Jesus directly connects the unity of His church with the Great Commission. Another way to put it is that our oneness as a church impacts the way the lost view Jesus.

Unity is not an option. Too much is at stake. Therefore, we must put aside personal preferences, live lives of humility, and embrace the perfect unity that Jesus wants for His body.


Aussie John said...


Obviously,John 17 was placed prior to the Death and resurrection of our Lord.

Do you think anything changed after His inauguration of the New Covenant?

Eric said...


No, I don't (at least not as far as the unity of his people is concerned.)

Aussie John said...


May I respectfully disagree with your response to my comment. I will not be offended if you choose not to allow what I say to be published.

It is my belief that something of the utmost importance regarding unity did change; the promised Holy Spirit came to indwell those who were convicted and convinced to become followers of Christ.

Those who are "in Christ" are united by the Holy Spirit,into organic unity, as Paul obviously understood when he wrote his words to the Ephesians in ch.4.

If we are ONE body etc.,the unity exists, but must be maintained, as Paul urges,"eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace".

It is impossible to "maintain" something which isn't already in existence.

Unity is the result of the cross. Apart from what Paul is teaching in these beginning chapters of Ephesians their can be no unity because it is a result of God's work in Christ,and cannot be something we altruistically aim to produce.

That is something Jesus was well aware of hence His prayer.

By the way; the Adamic affliction, sin causes disruption, division, etc., damaging unity. It produces the battle, of which we are all aware, in our own lives, and in the life of the family of God.

In my almost threequarters of a century, the rarest observable marks of what calls itself "Christianity" is the will to "maintain" that unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Eric said...


I agree that the Holy Spirit is certainly the one who brings unity. I think this is what Jesus desires for his entire body. I'd like to see more of it.