(Jesus final prayer and greatest desire…)
“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name- the name you gave me so that they (the disciples) may be one as we are one…”
“…I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 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. I have given them they glory that you gave me, may they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them, even as you have loved me.”
John 17:11b, 20b-23 (NIV)
The bread has been broken. The cup has been shared. The disciples’ feet have been washed. Jesus shares of the coming betrayal, abandonment and denial. He offers his disciples, his friends’ final words of comfort, advice and encouragement as He nears his final hours. He promises the same spirit that gave him wisdom and strength; power and peace would be with them. He told them the world will often hate them, and that many would persecute them and think they are doing God a favor. He told them in this world they will have troubles, but take heart, He has, will overcome the world.
After Jesus shares his final words of comfort, He looks up toward heaven and prays. He prays that he may bring His heavenly Father glory. He prays for his disciples. He prays the words they have accepted and followed will not keep them separated from the world but protected from the world they will immerse themselves in for His sake. He prays they may find joy in tribulation, triumph over tragedy, in peace in the adversity. He prays they may find purity in a putrid world.
Jesus prays above all that they may find strength and unity in one another. He prays that all who believe may be in unity and love with one another and that this unity and love may speak more powerfully than any words uttered.
Psalm 133 speaks of how pleasing it is to God when we are one in unity and love with one another. In the book of Acts, the early believers truly embraced this and became one. They focused on Christ and put God’s needs and others’ needs above their own.
Jesus taught us to love one another. The disciple John, in his first letter chapter four, says we cannot love God and hate another. We are called to love, family, friends, and enemies alike. O how we may go beyond tolerating at best but not loving all we are called to love.
As a church family, we are not called to be alike, to agree on all things or even to like one another. We are called to love one another. As the Rabbi who walked in the woods taught the monks, the messiah, Jesus is among you. As we treat the least, as we treat one another. So we have treated Jesus.
May the love and unity we show one another shine like a light and a beacon to all who are in darkness God’s marvelous light and love. May people watch and see our testimony and be drawn to the one who has shown his light and love toward us.
As we seek to become one, may our Sunday morning worship, our fellowship, our discipleship (learning and teaching) and our service toward one another and the community reflect this love and unity for all to see.