One of the unexpected challenges of losing a job is psychological. Even more than the loss of a paycheck, people struggle with losing their sense of purpose. One of the gifts that Jesus brought to us was the gift of purpose. He provided us with a mission and made us a part of something much bigger than ourselves. This mission has eternal significance!
Today’s reading is part of Jesus’ final prayer over His disciples before His crucifixion. This passage is remarkable because Jesus prayed not only for His disciples but also for “those who will believe in me through their message” (v. 20). That includes us! So, what was Jesus’ prayer for the future church? He prayed that “they may be brought to complete unity” (v. 23). The fact that Jesus prayed for unity in the church shows that He knew it would be a struggle. His prayer also teaches us that becoming a Christian is not just about our personal relationship with God. We are now a part of a community.
The unity of the church is to be modeled after the kind of unity Jesus has with the Father (v. 21). This deep connection is possible because every believer is in Christ (v. 23). Jesus is unified with the Father and so, as believers, we are unified with Jesus. Therefore, in Jesus, believers are united with the Father and with one another.
The unity of the church serves an important purpose. Jesus reminds us that we live in a fallen and sinful world where people do not know God (v. 25). The purpose of the church is to make Him known. When a divided world sees a church that enjoys peace and harmony with God and with each other, then “the world will know” the truth about Jesus (v. 23).
>> Pray for your local church today that they would demonstrate the unity that Jesus prayed for in today’s passage. It is one of the most powerful witnesses we have to a needy world. Creating this kind of community is one of the reasons Jesus came.
Father God, Your church needs You. Teach us how to live united by Your love. Give us patience with one another. May we treat one another with humility and kindness. Let us be a witness to the world of what true love looks like.