“I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message. May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me. I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one.”
Jesus prayed for you and I. Right here in John 17 he is looking down the corridor of time to the day when a couple billion Christ followers are walking on the earth and his prayer for us is that we may be one. Of all the things that he could have prayed for he prayed that we would be one?
What about praying for things like
- Miraculous signs and wonders
- Riches and prosperity
- Victory in battle
This list could go on and on. There are so many things that seem so much more tangible. I’m not even sure I understand the power of being one. What exactly did Jesus mean that we would be one as He and the Father are one?
“All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal Him.” Luke 10:22
The first thing I notice about the unity between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is that there is total trust between them. Jesus said “All things have been entrusted to me by My Father.” All things? The keys to the car? The bank account? Is there anything that the Father does not trust Jesus with? No. The answer is clearly no. Can you imagine a group of Christ followers that are so unified that they have total and complete trust in one another?
Perhaps the most amazing part of the trust that the Father placed in Jesus’ hands was the mission to reveal the Father to mankind. No one knows the Father except those to whom the Son desires to reveal Him. Throughout the Old Testament we read over and over of God’s desire to be known.
“I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. And they will know that I am Yahweh their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, so that I might dwell among them. I am Yahweh their God.” Exodus 29:45-46
This is just on example of many. The Father wants mankind to know Him and yet he trusts Jesus completely to be the gatekeeper. Nobody comes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6). It takes an incredible trust to put your hopes and dreams in the hands of another. There are few people that I know that I have that kind of trust in. Could it be that Jesus prayed that we would reach the point as the body of Christ where we would trust each other with our greatest desires, ministries, hopes and dreams?
Not My Will But Yours be Done
“Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me–nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42
The second thing I notice is that Jesus is ready to lay down his life to do the Father’s will. How many people in the body of Christ do you have that kind of relationship with? Not my will, but yours be done. There are very few people that I trust that much. I tend to think that my will is better than yours. To have a people that are so unified under the leadership of the Holy Spirit that they would reach the point of laying down their will would be an incredible thing. What would it take to have a church like that? So much of the frustration that goes on in churches comes from the clash of wills. Everybody wants what they want. You can’t possibly please everybody. When we are following the desires of our flesh and our wills clash it is a very ugly thing. We end up with dissensions, factions and the like.
“If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” Mark 3:25
Jesus said that if we are divided against ourselves we cannot stand. Satan surely knows this and works to sow division in the church. Our divisions provide Satan an opportunity to wreak havoc on the flock. Soon angry words are exchanged and little ones, babes in Christ, are devoured by the enemy. It takes a great deal of trust to have the kind of unity that says not my will, but yours be done. I want to have that kind of community.
Love One Another
“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hands” John 3:35
“This is what I command you: Love one another.” John 15:17
Next time you are at church ask yourself “Do we really love each other?” I don’t mean simply that you are nice to each other, I mean that you have the kind of love that the Father has for the Son. The kind of love that gives all things into the other’s hands? If you know and love even a few people like that in your lifetime, you are very blessed. Is it really possible to have hundreds of people who love each other like that? Jesus prayed for this very thing.
“Everything the Father has is Mine. This is why I told you that He takes from what is Mine and will declare it to you.” John 16:15
“Now the large group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one said that any of his possessions was his own, but instead they held everything in common.” Acts 4:32
Those crazy believers in the book of Acts. They were of one heart and mind. I think they had the kind of unity Jesus wanted all believers to experience. How crazy would it be if a group of people today loved each other and trusted each other to the point where even our possessions were not our own? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. I don’t know if it would work or not but I really wonder. Jesus prayed that we would be one as He and the Father were one. They had this kind of relationship. The early church had that kind of relationship. What would happen if a group of believers today was so loving and so bold and so free from the things of this world that they said “What’s mine is yours.” Wow! I really can’t imagine it. I’ve never seen it, but I wonder if it could happen today.
So the World Will Believe
“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
Jesus prayed for unity so that the world would believe that the Father sent Him. When the world sees a group of Christ followers that are so in love with each other and so unified they can’t help but wonder what is going on. Love is how they will know that we are Christ followers. It won’t be our buildings, our events, our programs, our websites, our music… All of those things can be done by any group of people with or without the power of the Holy Spirit. To bring a group of people to unity in Christ is going to take incredible, transforming power and that can only be done by the Holy Spirit.
“Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, put on love–the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15
Apart from the power of the Holy Spirit there is no way that we can have this kind of love. To have a church that is one as the Father and Christ are one we are going to have to work through a lot of junk. There will have to be a lot of forgiveness and a lot of love to boot. I want to pastor a group of people like this. I want to belong to a group of people who are ready to lay down their lives for the Lord Jesus Christ and for each other. If we succeed in this people will say that we are crazy. Yes, maybe by their standard but I think that this is exactly what Jesus prayed for.