The Prayer of Jesus for Unity

Unity is precious in God’s sight. The Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed prayed that his disciples might be one, “even 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 sent Me” (John 17:21). Certainly, a fractured Christianity loses its power to influence the world.
Unity comes from a commitment of love toward God and to his Son Jesus Christ. Before Jesus prayed for unity, he recognized that he had given his disciples the words and commandments his Father had given him and that they had kept that word (17:6-8).
These words were important to Jesus, because they were the Truth. Jesus also prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth” (17:17-19).
Before there can be unity, there must be sanctification in the truth. Unity without truth is not unity; it is only the appearance of unity.
Postmodern thinking suggests that we dismiss the concept of truth altogether and find our unity in our respect for one another. They believe truth cannot be known, so we don’t have to fear opposing views. Jesus knew better. He knew that there are wolves who will tear apart the flock.
A wolf may appear in sheep’s clothing and join a flock, but he will always be a wolf. Paul warned about wolves who “will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:28-30). Allowing a wolf to come in among the flock unguarded will always result in loss.
This is why, as much as the Lord wants unity, faithful shepherds must mark and avoid those who cause dissension by their teaching and turn away from them (Romans 16:17,18). The Lord’s desire for unity must never become an opportunity for the wolf to get in the fold.

2 Replies to “The Prayer of Jesus for Unity”

  1. I agree completely Phil with your assessment of Unity. We must be united in true doctrine first. The liberal or progressive who wants to unite with those who are trying to abide by the pattern which does not include children’s church or ministry orientated programs which entertain rather than teach, needs to examine their own beliefs and ask if they are united with Jesus and His apostles teachings first.

  2. If you had a 100 pianos in a concert music hall and when they played the pandomonium of out of tune notes struck at every nerve decending down the back, you certainly would want to tune them to be unified. If then you attempted to tune pianos one to another you would still have the horrible sounds as they played together as piano A –> D may be in tune with another but not in tune with E–> F.
    The only way you can tune them all alike is with one piano or tuning fork as the standard having all the pianos tun to it. by doing that they all become tuned one to another so it is with unity in Christ. (1 John 1:7). Unless we all adapt the same standard it will be very difficult to reach unity.

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