Thursday nights at MIT House of Prayer, we have been praying John 17, Jesus’ high priestly prayer for His church:
“…that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they may also 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.”
We know we want that kind of unity, and we know to ask for it, but we are still stuck on what that looks like. Often a question is the best answer.
“What does unity look like in the godhead? ” a student asked me one morning. My eyes grew wide. Why hadn’t I thought to wonder that question myself?! We searched the scriptures and found a common thread: submission.
Jesus Did Not Consider Equality with God Something to Be Grasped
Philipians 2:6 has to be one of my favorite verses of the Bible. I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that God did not consider Himself equal with… Himself, “but emptied Himself, taking on the form of a bondservant.” Furthermore, He says of Himself in John 5: “the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can only do what He sees His Father doing.”
Humility was not just a character trait of Jesus. It was so much a part of His being and personhood that it dictated the way He lived His life, even limiting the way He used His power and divinity. I think of His temptation in the desert, and am awestruck that God Himself would fast, and allow Himself to be humiliated and eventually crucified.
The Holy Spirit Speaks Only What He Hears
Similarly, the Holy Spirit, though His job is to guide us in truth, does not speak on His own, but only speaks what He hears, and does all to glorify the Son (John 16:13-14). To put this even more plainly, the Holy Spirit, who is God, who is wise and all-knowing and good, can only say what the Father tells Him to say. Why? To glorify Jesus.
As C.H. Spurgeon says in his sermon, The Holy Spirit Glorifying Christ, “see how the Father glorifies the Son, how the Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus, how both the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus glorify the Father!”
I asked God why I am so obsessed with unity. I recognize my biggest hindrance to intimacy with Jesus is pride and resistance to submission. Do I tout unity so often because I am supposed to be listening to the words that come out of my own mouth? Maybe I can’t expect to tell churches and pastors and ministries and students to be united if I, the one saying it, am not living out what unity looks like for an individual.
It seems illogical that one person laying down the guns and trumpets to become a bond-servant would strengthen the Church in unity. But I’m willing to give it a try. After all, Jesus was a revolutionary and a radically humble servant. Maybe it is time to start living out a message of radical humility to see the change I want to see on campus and in the Church.
Kelsey is a second year intern with Cru campus ministry in Boston, working mainly at MIT. This year she will be trailblazing a new internship in the northeast called Freedom58, a partnership between Cru and International Justice Mission, to bring Biblical Justice into Christian conversation at universities.