That they may all be One
Jesus, You went to the cross with a prayer for unity on Your lips. You paid this brutal price for this prayer to become reality.
Read Ezekiel 37:15-28
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).
Once again Ezekiel performs a piece of street theatre (15-17; compare 4:1-5; 5:1-4; 12:1-7). In chapter 4 Ezekiel played toy soldiers; here he becomes a sign writer. Each stick may have been a wooden board coated with beeswax–a common medium in the ancient Near East for writing non-archivable formal messages. The prophet’s actions symbolize a promised reunification of the two nations in their own land (21,22). It is not difficult to extend the acted parable to the Christian church, which today is divided, not into two, but 45,000 denominational groupings (International Bulletin of Missionary Research). Surely such multiple division cannot be the will of God (John 17:20,21), yet sadly we accept it as normal and permanent.
We perpetuate disunity when we look at other Christians as inferior because of their worship style or traditions that have nothing to do with core biblical belief. Beyond this, there is much disunity that exists even within denominations or churches. All of this is out of line with all we are to stand for.
Ezekiel’s prophecy (22) was only partly fulfilled. Judah returned to the land in 538 B.C., but Israel didn’t. Perhaps Israel’s failure to return might parallel the interpretation of the land as a type of the new heavens and the new earth (Rom. 4:13; Heb. 11:9,10). In that case this passage may be suggesting indirectly that the full unity of the people of God will not be manifested until the new creation is completed. However, this reading of the text in no way excuses indifference to the fractured nature of today’s church. The church is the harbinger of the new creation (Phil. 3:20) and the followers of Jesus are called to relate to one another today as they will then.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Pray for the unity of the churches and within them, and ask God how you are called to promote it.
Lord, You have existed through eternity as a community of love. You have invited us to enter and to extend this reality. Make us one as You are one.
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