Read John 17:20-26
What we need is Unity! Look at all the denominations; there is no unity in the Church. Unity is Strength. Together we can achieve!
Movements and organisations have tried to foster unity amongst churches. The World Council of Churches, the World Evangelical Alliance, nationally the National Council of Churches, Evangelical Fellowship or Love Singapore have succeeded in bringing about dialogue between churches and some concerted activities, but these are a far cry from the unity that Jesus meant in His prayer, especially since He had in mind an unity that is perfect (v.23).
Jesus did not pray only for the eleven remaining disciples, but His prayer includes all those who come to faith through their word. This means all believers through the ages – past, present and future. Jesus prayed for the whole community of believers – the Church. Jesus prayed that the Church may be one. Has this prayer been effective? Has it been fulfilled? It is the God the Son’s prayer to God the Father. Previously in v.11 He had already asked, “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one”. Here He repeated and elaborated on the “oneness” of the Church.
The foundation of this oneness is the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. This unity or oneness is effected by the mutual indwelling of the Father in the Son and the Son in the Father (v.21). In the same way, perfect unity is possible only when the believers are in the Father and in the Son.
This unity cannot be a human creation. It is a spiritual unity. But as a spiritual unity, it is already in existence. Every true follower of Jesus Christ is incorporated into His Church. Ephesians chapter 1 goes into great detail explaining our position in Christ, and we are told that the Holy Spirit is given to us (Rom. 5:5). Unity is a reality of the true Church as each member is incorporated into the body of Christ; he is a stone in God’s Temple; an adopted child; a citizen of the Kingdom of God. This is why Paul in Eph. 4:3 calls us not to create, but to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
This unity is exhibited “so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (v.21, 23). It is to be a witness to the Gospel. It is not meant to be a show of strength, but a demonstration of the redeemed community that is the Church. Elsewhere in scriptures there are instructions that guide our relationships within the community – to live peaceably with all (Rom. 12:18), to esteem others better than ourselves (Eph. 2:3), appropriately treating others (1 Tim. 5:1,2), and especially love for one another. Living and loving this way will show that we are disciples of Jesus Christ, united by the Holy Spirit whom enables us (John 13:35).
• Bad, unethical and immoral behaviour captures the attention of the media. Let us pray that by our lives, we will exhibit the spiritual unity that presents clearly that Jesus Christ was sent by God to accomplish His mission.
• Objectors to the faith may point to the many denominations as signifying disunity. Let us pray that they may, as they observe close-up our lives lived Biblically as members of God’s Church, will come to see the spiritual unity among the followers of Jesus Christ, and thus come to know and believe that He was sent by God to be the Saviour of the World.