Bible Reference: John 17:20-23
Translation: God’s Word Translation (GW)
Bible Text: 20 “I’m not praying only for them. I’m also praying for those who will believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that all of these people continue to have unity in the way that you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they may be united with us so that the world will believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me. I did this so that they are united in the same way we are. 23 I am in them, and you are in me. So they are completely united. In this way the world knows that you have sent me and that you have loved them in the same way you have loved me.
OBSERVATION: The world will look to the church in hopes of seeing Jesus. Will they see enough oneness to know that Jesus abides there, or will they tell from the division and backbiting that Jesus has no place there? Let’s consider how well our church is doing today in the light of the desire of Jesus in the Scripture today.
APPLICATION: In this chapter Jesus prayed to His Father for His disciples and the church at large. In these verses He prayed in all sincerity that those (Christians) who know Him would be in such unity, that the people to whom they speak (the unsaved world), would believe in Him and accept Him as the Savior of the world sent by God the Father. Friends, I often reflect on what the opposite effect must have, and also how that must have an impact on the unsaved as they fight the will of God. That leads me into considering what happens to the ministry of Jesus Christ when children of God can’t agree – when they fight and bicker among themselves so much that the unsaved world wants no part of the confused mess they see occurring in and among churches. Is it any wonder sometime why we stop and ponder why our ministries are ineffective? It seems like even among ‘friendly’ denominations, we go out to minister in Jesus’ name, and wind up putting down another denomination. Oh my, friend, that is not a sign of ‘oneness’. When our job description dictates that we spread the love of God, and our lives reflect the joy of the Lord living inside of us, doesn’t that mean that we should be so busy praising and bragging on our Lord that there will be very little time or desire to find fault with another believer who may not show their Christianity in exactly the same way that we do? In fact, when I reflect on this prayer of Jesus and really gain the breadth and depth of His heart as He prays to His father, I see where He really wants us to reflect the ‘oneness’ that He portrays with His Father. There is no where in scripture that Jesus puts down His Father or speaks evil against Him or disagrees with Him. Instead, it is just the very opposite, for He respects the role of the Father in ultimately making decisions (especially about the second coming of Jesus), and He speaks as one and the same when conveying the truth and love of the gospel. So where do we get off at in being His follower, imitating Him in every way, yet being critical of fellow disciples who are working towards the same goal of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ? This type behavior or ministry will not serve the ultimate wish of Jesus in verse 21 when He prayed that we will go out and minister in such unity that the world (the unsaved) would know that God truly sent the One in whom we believe, and the One we are spreading Good News about. ‘Oneness’ points to us truly representing Jesus, who was sent in the likeness of His Father. Anything else tears down the ministry of Jesus Christ and promotes the intent and heart of Satan. I believe we all know what we should be busy doing today and every day of our life. Let’s get to work – unified in the Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ!
PRAYER: Father, please forgive us for our weakness in allowing so much of this world to indwell us, and interfere in the ministry, that You have assigned to us. As these verses today reflect, You actually prayed for us to be one with You and You are with Your Father. Our lack of success in ministry is a direct result of our disobedience to You and Your Word, and caused by our selfish desire to tear down another while trying to promote our selfish goals. Reading these verses today causes me to seriously consider keeping these pinned in an obvious place for daily inflection, and as a guide towards my daily goal. Lord, I need Your power to overcome the desire to tear another down in order to promote self. May I ask that You grant me strength to overcome this weakness, but also to touch the heart of Your followers today and embed a deep desire within them to also do the same. Please strengthen and guide us towards ‘Oneness’ – the kind that You exampled before us in being ‘One’ with the Father. I ask this knowing that Your desire is that through our ‘Oneness’ the world will know that You were sent by the Father to save them. May this be accomplished today in and through your earthly representatives, for this is my pray that I ask in the name of Jesus, AMEN!