That They May be One
Jesus met with his disciples one last time before his arrest and crucifixion. He talked to them about loving one another as he has loved them. He pointed out that they did not choose him, but that he chose them. He promised that he would not leave them orphaned, but would send the Holy Spirit to be with them. Then, at the end of their time together, Jesus prayed for them. He interceded for them, asking that the Father might keep them in His name, that “they may be one,” just as he and the Father are one.
Looking around at the church today, it might look like this prayer went unanswered. There seem to be hundreds of denominations of Christians for every apostle! Christians seem more divided than united. Certainly, if we look at the church from the outside, what we see is disunity, not unity. But so many of God’s promises are like that. Throughout John’s Gospel Jesus talked about being “lifted up” for the salvation of the world. How tempting it must have been to think of that “lifting up” as being a glorious, beautiful thing! Yet what Jesus was talking about was his cross (John 12:33).
In the same way the church, looked at with the eyes of unbelief, is a mess. But through the eyes of faith it is a beautiful, time and space spanning, God-created nation of people from every tribe and language (Revelation 7:9). How often do we run into someone and, despite being in different denominations, or from different countries, or even speaking different languages, we know we’ve found a brother or sister in Christ? That’s what Jesus was talking about with the Father. Jesus’ prayer was heard – and answered.