That They May Be One
Pastor Shane Callicutt
Christ's High Priestly prayer is His longest recorded prayer. It is the entirety of John chapter 17. As I considered what to write concerning His prayer, verse eleven came to mind. It says:
"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."
Jesus was about to leave. His time with His disciples was short. Even during the forty days after His resurrection, He had relatively little time with them. Notice what He said in this verse.
- He was returning to the Father.
- They were remaining in the world.
- He asked the Father to keep them in His name.
- It was the name that the Father had given Him.
- So that they would be one as He and the Father are one.
What does it mean to be one as Jesus and the Father are one? In a broad sense, it means that we are unified concerning the Gospel and the core non-negotiable beliefs that make us Christians. But because of how Jesus describes it - being unified like He and the Father - it seems like there's more to it. I'm not sure I'm qualified to give you a comprehensive answer, but for a moment, let me remind you of what it isn't.
It doesn't mean we don't have differences. We don't have to march in locked step on all second tier doctrinal beliefs. We agree on the things that are essential to being a Christian, and we walk in charity with everything else as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
It doesn't mean that we tolerate sin in the body. As with anything that makes our physical bodies sick, we should be diligent to cleanse ourselves of impure things. We should hold each other accountable and encourage one another to walk in the light as He is in the light.
It also doesn't mean that we ignore the diligent pursuit of reconciliation with one another when we sin against others or are sinned against by someone. We cannot allow roots of bitterness to take hold and defile many. We cannot be ok with brothers and sisters who don't pursue reconciliation.
So much more can be said. So let me close with a few questions for contemplation this week.
- How is your unity with the Body of Christ?
- Are you allowing secondary doctrines to create division?
- Are you tolerating sin in the name of not rocking the boat?
- Are you pursuing reconciliation as much as it depends upon you?
This is one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible! What a great reminder and challenge to examine my own heart and motives, Bro. Shane. Thank you.