John 17:20-23

[Jesus said:] “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 - so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."

Jesus now extends his focus beyond the disciples who are with him to all future believers. This includes you and me, and all who have come to faith in Christ through the message of the gospel.

The central theme of this prayer is unity. Jesus prays that all believers "may be one." But the unity he prays for is not simply human agreement or affection. It's a unity that is patterned after the unity of the Trinity. "Just as you are in me and I am in you," Jesus prays, "May they also be in us."

This is a profound mystery, that we as believers can share in the unity of the Godhead. It's a unity that goes beyond mere sentiment. It's a unity of purpose, a unity of love, a unity of being. When Jesus says, "I in them and you in me," he's speaking of an intimate, spiritual indwelling that makes us one with God and with each other.

But this unity is not just for our own benefit or enjoyment. It has a great purpose. Jesus prays for our unity "so that the world may believe that you have sent me." Our oneness is meant to be a testimony to the world of the truth of Christ. When the world sees believers from different backgrounds, cultures, and personalities loving each other and working together, it's a powerful witness to the reality of God's love.

Jesus also speaks of giving us the glory that the Father gave him. This glory is not worldly fame or prestige but the glory of sacrificial love, the glory of the cross. It’s the glory that unites us as we share in Christ’s sufferings and victory.

The ultimate goal of this unity is that we may be "brought to complete unity." This suggests a process, a journey that we are on together. We're not there yet, but we're growing into it day by day, as we allow the love of Christ to break down our barriers and bind us together.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are challenged to examine our own commitment to unity. Do we see other believers as competitors or as family? Do we allow petty differences to divide us, or do we strive for the kind of unity that Jesus prays for?

We are also encouraged by the reminder that our unity has a purpose. It's not just for our own comfort, but for the sake of the world. Every time we choose to love, to forgive, to work together despite our differences, we are bearing witness to the transforming power of Christ.

So let us ask ourselves: Am I actively pursuing unity with my brothers and sisters in Christ? Am I allowing the glory of Christ to be seen in my relationships with other believers? Am I contributing to the testimony of God's love in the world?

May we be one, as the Father and the Son are one, so that the world may know the love of God.

God bless you.

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