In a world where diversity is touted, unity can be seen as something passé. Well, Jesus disagrees. In fact, in the hours before his crucifixion, he prayed for you and me – that we would be unified.
Grab your Bible and read John chapter 17. Seriously. Read each verse. Meditate on what your Savior (MY Savior and Lord) talked to the Father about in the hours before he was arrested, abused and abandoned to die a tortuous death.
“Neither pray I for these alone,” (after he prayed for his disciples who were sleeping a few feet away from Him, even though he begged them to watch and pray with Him during this troubling time) “but for them also which shall believe on me through their word” (yes, my friend, Jesus prayed for every single person who would ever accept Him as savior). This is John 17:20, but the sentence isn’t finished.
What did Jesus want more than anything? What burdened his heart as the cross cast its horrifying shadow over his life?
Unity. The unity of the believers.
“That they all may BE ONE; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21).
In the same way that God the Father and God the Son are united in purpose, Jesus prayed those who carried out his commission would be united.
Why was this so important to Jesus anyway? You can be sure I’d be praying for grace to endure the upcoming torture and humiliation. Jesus? He was thinking about others.
And unity among believers is a must if we are going to reach those in need of Christ’s love. What? Did I just make that up?
To end the sentence that began with Jesus praying for us, Jesus said, “That the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:21c).
When the church shines forth a united purpose, people take note that God is behind them. Why? Because without the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, we couldn’t stay in harmony with others.
So, if you’re waffling about the importance of unity in your church and personal life, time to step onto the firm foundation of truth.
Jesus prayed for believers to have the same sort of unity He has with His Father.
Next Week: Paul encouraged unity