Wednesday, September 12, 2012

John 17:20-23

There seems to be an urgency in this next precious section of Jesus’ prayer in which He prays for us. Note that of utmost importance to Christ is that those who would believe in Him would be one:

“My prayer is not for them alone. 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 the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:  I in them and you in 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 17:20-23)

I have always loved the fact that Jesus is looking forward here to the future believers, including you and me! What was it that He wanted most for us - so much so that it was the focus of this final prayer of anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane? He wanted us to be ONE! To be united in our love for Him and in our purpose to glorify Him. He specifically ties the need for our unity to our witness to the world. We must be one in heart and purpose in taking the gospel to the world so that the world may believe in Christ! Such unity would display the Father’s love to the world.

You can see why Satan does everything he can to cause division among believers, whether between husband and wife, co-workers, or even among and within denominations and congregations. Division absolutely undermines the credibility of our witness to the world. Within a marriage it destroys the witness of parents to children. Within a workplace, it nullifies the message of the gospel to co-workers. And within churches it destroys the witness to an entire community.

That’s why it is so important that we recognize division as spiritual warfare. The LORD has been dealing with me about this within my own workplace. and my part in working toward unity. The believers in a workplace need to come together for the sake of the gospel and pray for unity and work for unity. This means setting aside our personal agendas, because it’s NOT about us, and focusing on Christ. It means remembering that we have all been placed in our specific jobs to glorify Him as we do the very best job we can at all times.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

In this passage of John, when Jesus was about to be arrested and crucified for our sins, foremost in His mind was that we would be ONE. How are we working toward that? Are we praying for it? Are we consciously thinking about steps we can personally take to encourage unity? We need to remember that our contention with other believers stumbles others and keeps them from seeing Christ and the love of the Father. That doesn’t mean we compromise on the essentials of the gospel for unity’s sake. WHAT we believe matters. It’s why John wrote this gospel. But gossip and petty arguments among believers are killers of faith - and I’m preaching to myself here!

Father, may we be one - and may I be a peacemaker who works toward unity with my fellow believers.

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