“Holy Father… may they be one, even as we are one.” (Jesus – John 17:11)
Most Christians would nod their heads at the statement that we should all be unified together as the Body of Christ. It is a statement (and idea) that most of us readily accept.
But when it comes right down to it, the importance of Christian unity is, apparently, way down our list of important things to do.
We all have so many more important issues than whether or not we can actually get along with each other. Truth be told, most churches don’t give Christian unity a second thought. The feeling is: “There are much more important things than that!”
And that is the biggest part of our problem. We don’t realize just how important Christian unity is to God. We see it as a subtext. An optional ingredient.
But, according to Jesus, God sees it much differently.
If you really read Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer” (as it’s called; John 17) you notice just how prominently it appears. If we really understand it correctly… everything Jesus asks the Father to do for His disciples (through the generations) is based on the bond of unity (in love) that we have for each other – and with Him.
The real question is WHY this would be so important to God?
In our verse for the day, Jesus answers this question.
Jesus’ passion is for His people to ALL be one. Unified. Working together. Pulling in the same direction. All in the bond of unconditional love (God’s Own kind of love).
The Source (and Model) of Jesus’ passion for unity is… the GodHead. At the heart of Christian unity is the God Who Himself is unified. Three Persons = One God. In unity. Working together. Pulling in the same direction. All in the bond of unconditional love.
Unity is important because God’s people are ALL called to represent God. How we act, react, and interact matters… because it is our unspoken (but loud) testimony about God Himself.
Our disunity presents a picture that God is dis-unified. Disjointed. Chaotic.
That is what Jesus is saying. It is why He prayed what He prayed. It was one of the foremost thoughts on His Mind.
It was what He came and died to bring about…
We tend to think unity is impossible. We have too many differences. Too many points of contention. Too many problems that just can’t be overcome.
And our doubts (and resulting actions, or failures to act) tell the world that God must be incapable of unifying His people. What it really says is that God CAN’T do it. And if He isn’t capable of bringing solutions to the “messes” of individual churches… then He is most likely incapable of bringing solutions to the messes in their own lives.
What disunity really declares is that God’s love isn’t big enough. His power isn’t strong enough. His will is not influential enough to overcome our frail minds and hearts.
It is a distorted reflection of Him.
That’s why our commitment to unity is so important. There is no greater testimony than when love, indeed, conquers all. When love overcomes all our differences. When love bridges our considerable gaps.
Because God’s love, tested and proven in and through us, is an irrefutable testimony in the minds of those who desperately need Him in their lives.