Witness to the World
Lord, illustrate for me what unity of the spirit means to You.
Read JOHN 17:20–26
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
What vision do you have for the future of the world? How will God’s purpose come about?
One day there will be an innumerable host of people gathered in the kingdom of God from every nation, people, language and tribe (Rev. 7:9). That is what Jesus was praying for in these verses. He was praying for us.
The burden of his prayer is simple: that all his people might be united as one body (21,23), a key factor in the kingdom, as they recognize the full wonder of Christianity. It’s a unity that is defined by the unity of Father and Son (21,22). The life we share as believers is nothing less than a sharing in the life of the Godhead—a participation in the very unity of God! It is brought about by Jesus giving us the glory that the Father had given to him (22). This unity is meant to make a deep impact on the world and cause it to believe (21). It is a unity that the world is meant to see. It is a unity that is meant to bring forth faith, to make the Gospel known (20).
What a challenge this is. Relationships between believers should demonstrate to the watching world that the Father “loves them even as you have loved me” (23; John 13:35). This is a unity based on truth concerning God’s revelation and intimate relationship with Jesus (25). In the midst of this challenge, there is the encouragement that it is Jesus who prayed for this unity and his prayers will always be answered! This doesn’t mean we should not work for specific expressions of that unity in the present, but it is an assurance that one day all believers will love each other as the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father (24,26).
Pray for a vision of true Christian unity and of what believers should do to make that vision a reality, demonstrating the wonder of the Gospel message.
Lord, cause us to love one another as fervently as the members of the Godhead love one another.