It seems when talking to other campus leaders at Missouri State, unity is a word that means to work together on an event. However, Jesus teaches us something way different than working on events together. Let’s dive into John 17 specifically verses 20-26.
Jesus Prays for the Unity of the Church
Here we have Jesus in His final moments before His arrest. What could Jesus have prayed here? He could’ve prayed for the disciples to not flee after His death. He could have prayed for the strength of His disciples. Instead, His prayer is dominated by the unity of His disciples!
Jesus knew that the church could never make the impact it needed spiritually without the world seeing the oneness of the church, in unity. I would dare to say that the churches in this world have never taken on these words of Jesus with the seriousness they deserve. But Jesus didn’t stop with just the disciples, He prays for ALL generations to be as one.
Notice too that Jesus asked God to give us unity as a request. This means that unity is given and not achieved. Man can never fabricate the unity of God’s people; the Spirit of God must generate it. The church can never organize it; the Spirit of God must vitalize it.
Jesus Prays for the Impact of a Unified Church
The impact of a unified church is that the world believes God the Father sent Christ the Son “that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Can this infer then that only the sight of united disciples will convince the world of the truth of Jesus’ message and mission?
The size of our churches, the different denominations, or how one defines church will never compel the world to believe. Only the supernatural oneness found in the family of God will compel the world to believe!
Jesus Prays for the Glory of a Unified Church
Jesus prays that the present church on earth and the future church in heaven will see His glory. In verse 22 Jesus says, “I have given them the glory that you gave me.” We see in the divine manhood of Jesus Christ all the glory that our eyes are capable of seeing below. The purpose of showing us His glory was that “they may be one.”
My prayer as I seek unity in the campus ministries moving forward is that we will demonstrate a true unity that is found in the Bible. That lives would be transformed because the glory of God will be revealed to a dying world!
Chris Wilson is the director of the Baptist Student Union on the campus of Missouri State. After traveling in a traveling ministry called No Longer Quiet for 11 years, the Lord brought him back to his old alumni where he was first discipled. He has a passion for discipleship, missional living, and the church. More info at http://www.springfieldbsu.org