Doesn’t Have To Be the Loneliest Number

One . . . One . . . One! So the bell peals as I read this morning. So the drum beats out the rhythm. The repetition unmistakable.

And the band of my youth had it wrong. One doesn’t have to be the loneliest number.

“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.”   ~ Jesus

(John 17:20-23 ESV)

On the night Jesus was betrayed, not only did He speak last words to His disciples, but He prayed a great prayer to His Father for His disciples. He prayed for those the Father had given Him “out of the world.” For those who kept His word. Those who Jesus called “mine.” Those the world would hate because they were no longer of the world. Those who Jesus would sanctify, and sanctify in the truth.

And what would be their greatest protection against the world? What would be the vehicle of their sanctification in truth? How would they make known to a lost world the reality of a living Savior? By being one.

Three times in my reading today, another time in John 17:11, Jesus, when praying to the Father for His own, prays that “they may be one even as We are one.”

So I’m chewing on the wonder of Christian unity this morning. Noodling on the fact that, of all the things Jesus could have asked His Father for to protect His own; to enable His own to go and make disciples; and to use His own to make His name known; what Jesus asks for repeatedly is that “they may become perfectly one.”

Three parties becoming one. The Father in the Son. The Son in the Father. His disciples in Them through the Spirit. Oh, that makes four parties. Father, Son, Spirit, and Saved.

How foreign, in so many ways, to our individualistic culture. A culture where one really is the loneliest number. A culture where the needs of the one are often paramount. Where the schedule of the one often takes priority. Causing the coming together of a bunch of ones to create tension and struggle as their solo focus competes rather than compliments. Community becoming secondary . . . or even tertiary . . . or even voluntary . . . to one’s calendar.

And so Jesus prayed for those who believe, let them be one. Perfectly one. Complete in unity. Trinity type unity.

And, how come? That the glory Jesus is ready to manifest through us, the same glory the Father gave Him, might be known. So that, in seeing something of that perfect glory through imperfect people who love one another, the world might know that the Father has sent the Son. Evidenced through His people. Seen in their one-ness.

One doesn’t’ have to be the loneliest number. One can be the holiest number. The holiest number, one.

Oh that God’s people would be moved to prioritizing God’s people. Not that we would be insular. Not to retreat into our own religious community centers. But to be one, as the Father and Son and Spirit are one, so that the glory of the one God in us would be manifest through us.

“By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~ Jesus

(John 13:35 ESV)

By His grace. For His glory.

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