John 17:20-26 (NLT)
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me because of their testimony. 21 My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father–that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me. 22 I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are– 23 I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one. Then the world will know that you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me. 24 “Father, I want these whom you’ve given me to be with me, so they can see my glory. You gave me the glory because you loved me even before the world began! 25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 And I have revealed you to them and will keep on revealing you. I will do this so that your love for me may be in them and I in them.”
Lead Pastor, Hills Vineyard Christian Fellowship
Today’s scripture always grabs me because it is Jesus’ prayer for us – His people. It’s a prayer for your local church, for the Valley-wide church, for the global church, for the universal church. It’s a prayer for all churches in all times and in all places.
What was Jesus praying for His church? He was, and I believe still is, praying for unity in His church, that all its members would be one as he and his Father are one. This unity Jesus is praying for is not based on organizational or governmental unity. It is not a unity based on shared worship styles, liturgies, or rituals. It is not even a unity based on believing the exact same things. Rather it is a unity based on personal relationship with God and each other. The unity between Jesus and the Father was one of love and it is this unity of love for which Jesus prayed, a unity in which we love each other because God loves us. So Jesus prayed for our IN but He also prayed for our OUT!
Christians have often been divided because they loved their own organizations, creeds, or rituals more than they loved each other. Our disunity has hindered the cause of Christ and His kingdom. Jesus prays for our unity, knowing that the world will be convinced that He comes from God because of our love for one another. Our unity becomes a “supernatural fact which requires a supernatural explanation.” When people see this love we have from God that tears down the walls we have built between each other and between our churches, then they will know that Jesus and His love is for real. May this love fill our hearts and our churches today and everyday!
Father, Grant unity to your church so that the world will believe You sent Jesus.
Dialog discuss: Wrinkles not only come from time and the sun, but also from laughing at the absurdities of life … They come from looking surprised when your child hands you a woolly worm she found on the porch. They come from smiling when you see and old friend who is as wrinkled as you are. They are a road map of experiences that you alone have enjoyed. I’m learning to embrace the psalmist’s words about lines that fall in “pleasant places.” Even if they have fallen on my face, at least I can keep track of them there, knowing every single wrinkle was earned with time well spent. Liz Curtiz Higgs