Until Unity


Prayer for Unity

I want to look at several phrases in the prayer you just read, but first I want to remind you of the Person praying this prayer. Don’t forget that in Jesus “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col. 1:19). His cry for unity is the very cry of God Himself. 

“That they may all be one”

Jesus prays that “all” believers would be “one.” Sometimes I consider the possibility of us all taking baby steps in this direction. I usually lack the faith to believe that all believers could jump fully on board. I know too many people who are extremely critical and divisive, and they have been this way for years. Therein lies my problem: I keep looking at people. This isn’t about talking people into unity. It’s about praying like Jesus prayed. Are we saying there is something too difficult for God to do? 

“Just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you”

Just as? Earlier, we looked at the sacred mystery of the triune God. A perfect union from all of eternity past. Jesus is not just asking that we simply get along. He is not just saying that we need to feel some form of love toward each other. He is praying for a union that resembles what He has with the Father. When is the last time you saw that as a possibility with anyone in the church, let alone everyone?

“That they also may be in us”

If reading this does nothing to you, something is wrong with your heart. Jesus is showing His desire to be one with us. He is asking that we, as His united followers, would be connected into the Trinity in some sense! I honestly can’t get my mind around this, but when Jesus prays that we be united so that we can “be in” the Father and Son, how can we ever downplay unity? 

“The glory that you have given me I have given to them”

This is what makes our unity with Him and with each other possible. He has given us glory. I come from a tradition that tends to focus on our depravity. That’s not a bad thing. It keeps us from believing there was anything good in ourselves that warranted God’s favor. The problem is that we focused so much on our depravity that we didn’t praise Him enough for our glory! Christ made us beautiful. Because of the cross, we are holy and blameless children of God. The resurrected Christ has given us His glory. If we only stare at our own sin and the sin of others, we will be blinded to the glory we possess.

“That they may become perfectly one”

Perfection? This is the point when everyone points out that this can’t happen until we get to Heaven. If that’s true, however, then Jesus wouldn’t finish the sentence “so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” He’s talking about here and now so the whole world can see it! Our perfect oneness is proof that Jesus is sent by the Father and that the Father loves us “even as” He loves Jesus.

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