“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
“I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! –Jesus (John 17:20-24)
Did you catch that?! “Not only for these disciples (the twelve)” but for us who believe! This prayer is for us. Incredible!
So what is His prayer for us? That we, the Church, will be one as They are one. Sadly, we are not even close. We spend so much time huddling up in our “holy circles” that we begin to believe we know the truth better than other Christians who have varying beliefs. And so we divide the Church. It was as if Jesus’ prayer missed us. We have even resorted to name-calling and have even come up with categories to better help put people in their place. Cessationists, Contiuationists, Charasmatics, Arminians, Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, PCA, PCUSA, and on the list goes. Everyone thinks they are right, so we divide. Why do we need to do that?
Jesus is calling us to be one as He and the Father are one. Is that what the Church is showing?
We have been given glory. Did you miss that? We have been given the glory Jesus was given. I don’t even know what that fully means, but I’ll take it! One thing I do know for sure is that glory wasn’t meant to be hoarded or to divide us. It was meant to unite us not untie us.
I once heard it said that the Enemy divides, but the Lord unites. Well, it seems that the enemy, at some point, crept into the Church and divided it. It’s time to push back the enemy and unite the Church! Is there a better time than now for the Church to love each other so much that the world sees Jesus? The world needs the Church to be whole. What if we got rid of all the name-calling and just went back to one Church? What if we held to Jesus’ prayer and began to love each other despite our differences? What if we didn’t judge people for their beliefs, but we encouraged each other toward the love of Christ?
We’ve used our beliefs as a weapon, not against the enemy, but against ourselves–the Church.
Spend some time in prayer with the One who is one. Ask Him to reveal where you might be dividing the Church. Ask Him how you can be a part in uniting the Church.
What an unprecedented time that we can’t meet together in our individual churches for Easter Sunday. I wonder if the Lord is calling us to finally come together as one Church.
May the Church unite and show Christ for who He really is. Amen.