Jesus’ Prayer for Unity of Believers

One day a professor demonstrated to his class the power of an electromagnet. He placed 2 lbs. of nails on a table with the wires of an electromagnet under the table. When he flipped the switch, the nails came together and he was able to form the nails into various shapes as long … More

Unity

The Lord has already prayed about security and sanctity; now the burden of His prayer is unity. In this passage He prays for the whole church down through the centuries, that they all may be unified (vv. 20-26). He is concerned that His people experience a spiritual unity that is like the oneness of the Father and the Son. Jesus was not praying for the unity of a single, worldwide, ecumenical church that disregards doctrinal heresy. Instead:

  1. He was praying for a unity of love for fellow Christians.
  2. He was praying for a unity of obedience to God and His Word.

One of the things that impresses the unbelieving world is how Christians love each other and live together in harmony. The lost world does not see God, but they see Christians and what they see has a lot to do with what they will believe  about God.  If they see hatred and division, it will cause them to reject the message of the Gospel. The spirit of selfishness, hatred and disunity among born-again Christians and Bible believing churches today must break the Savior’s heart.

However, we must never sacrifice truth for the sake of unity. Truth and love must go together (Ephesians 4:15). Truth without love is brutality, but love without truth is hypocrisy. The mind  grows by taking in truth, but the heart grows by giving out love. Jesus makes it clear that truth and love must go together (Eph. 4:15).

Application

How united are the believers I know? Do they exhibit real love for one another or is it just an empty saying? How does this work in my family? How does it work in my life? What can I do this week to show forth genuine love to my neighbor. 

John 17:20-26 (English Standard Version)

""I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »