An impossible standard? Perhaps. But Jesus not only doubles down on it, He triple downs, and even quadruple downs. If repetition is emphasis, then the Spirit is shouting this morning.
“And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, which You have given me, that they may be one, even as We are one. . .
“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 also may 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, I in them and You in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent me and loved them even as You loved Me.”
(John 17:11, 20-23 ESV)
Christian unity a big deal? I’m thinkin’. So, this is why we are to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3)? Thinkin’ that too.
What is a done deal — that we are ARE ONE in the Spirit even as Father and Son are one — is also to be a lived into reality. Positional attainment doesn’t preclude practical out-working. So that the world may know that the good news we proclaim, that the Father has sent the Son, really is good news.
Heavy sigh when that which is meant to draw people to Christ is absent, or at best clouded, when contending for the things of Christ. When our concern for the work of the gospel creates a wedge in the gospel. When our desire to do the right thing results in relational destruction and, by extension, a reason for the world not to believe.
Many are the reasons to lament the absence of goodness and the lack of pleasantness when brothers and sisters fail to dwell together in unity (Ps. 133:1). But when lament leads to repent, then the gospel is ready to present.
. . . that they may be one even as We are one, I in them and You in me, that they may become perfectly one . . .
That they may become perfectly one . . .
We are one in Christ. We are becoming one through Christ. We are being perfected into one (YLT). We are being made completely one (CSB). We are maturing in this oneness (MSG).
In the midst of division, we gotta believe that the gospel is still able to work a unifying revision — in fact, reconciliation is what the gospel does best (Eph.2:14-16). At some point we come to our senses, repent of our divisiveness, and place ourselves under the blood of Jesus to restore our cleanliness. Knowing that while we ARE one even as Father and Son are one, we are also becoming perfectly one as we come together as one at the foot of the cross.
Four times Jesus prays the prayer . . . that they may be one. Sounds like shouting to me.
Only by His grace. Because He is worth of the glory.