JESUS’ PRAYER FOR UNITY

Scripture Reading:  John 17:20-23

“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 may be in us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”  (John 17:20-21)

This part of Jesus’ high priestly prayer is His specific prayer for us — “for those who will believe in Me.”  Earlier He had been praying primarily for HIs disciples; now He prays for future believers.  His prayer is for unity among us.  Such unity bears witness to the world  of the work of Jesus on our behalf.

The basis for this unity is found in our union with Christ:  “that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they may be in us.”  We are united with Christ in His death and resurrection:  “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).

All true believers are in union with Christ; we all share in the benefits of His death and resurrection.  We are in Him and He is in us:  “I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who LIVES IN ME.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).  Christ is living in me and therefore, I can have His mind, and His power is available to me.

Jesus is praying for Christians to be one.  We have His presence and power.  Why then is there so much conflict between believers?  Why is there so much division among us?  The reason is that we are operating out of the flesh and not yielding to the work of the Spirit of Christ who dwells within us.  Our own sinful desires and selfishness bring about conflict among us.  We fail to humble ourselves and we fail to yield to Christ’s presence in us.  We fail to make every effort possible to be at peace with others (Hebrews 12:14).

This conflict and division among believers damages our witness in the world and it grieves our Lord greatly.  We must be committed to resolve our differences and seek reconciliation, for this is Christ’s prayer for us.

Lord Jesus, forgive me when I operate out of my pride and selfishness.  Forgive me when I am at odds with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I know this is not Your will.  Remind me of my union with You — You live in me and I am in You.

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