How many prayers does Jesus answer for us? For me I have lost count. I am sure you have too. But did you know that there is one prayer that Jesus has for us, that he would like us to answer? It is this…
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. – John 17:20-21
Jesus seems to suggest that there is a greater evangelistic impact on the world if we are all united as believers, instead of being divided.
This makes sense. We as Christians often seem to have a pretty negative reputation in the world’s eyes as being hypocritical, judgmental, and divisive. We cannot even seem to stay united within the Churches of Christ little on lead a movement of Restoration for all Christians around the world.
And yet I can’t help but daydream, what would happen if we were one? What impact would that have on the world around us?
See the flesh understands backbiting, double lifestyles, and division. The world lives by such principles. They get it. They see it all the time. They expect it.
But what would happen if the world looked at the one religious body on the face of the earth that was united despite various differences, where unity was based on a real deep seated love for one another in Christ, rather than identity markers that give us a reputation for what we do, instead of who we are? What if faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, and trust in his death, burial, and resurrection, and being saved in him was all that was needed for us to be saved, and any other question of Christianity, could be held in unity as a matter of spiritual freedom? Is it possible that if we spent more time following Christ and loving others that we would cease to have time to fight with each other? What would happen if we realized who the real Enemy was and stopped treating others who sincerely love Christ, but who believe differently than we do as the Devil himself? What would happen if we realized that real spirituality according to the Bible is seen in unity in diversity through love and serving others, the weak and poor and rejected of the world, and not “biting and devouring” one another on who is “of Paul, of Apollos, of Christ,” etc?
My guess is you would have a Church that would, in the world’s eyes, have to be supernatural. Because nothing like that exists in the natural. But that is who we are called to be as his church. We are called to be one.
How is it possible? It’s possible through his love. My guess is we as a church have yet to fully fathom the loves that He has for us. For if we would but receive His love, his radical, incredible, freely poured out love, we would not help but be able to love others and see them the way Christ sees them. Seems we have some work to do–rather some love to receive and give.
Jesus has one prayer for us Church. And in his heart he has tasked us with being the mirror image of what God’s love looks like to a dying world around us. It’s time we we took our pointing fingers and opened our hands to a loving embrace.