21 DAY CHALLENGE - Day 17
Day 17 – Unity
This is one of the coolest chapters in the Bible. We actually get to read one of Jesus’ prayers to His Father. Several prayers are recorded in Scripture from Jesus that are “in the moment” kind of prayers; prayers when He calls out to God in certain times of need or in certain situations. This prayer seems different…
In this prayer, Jesus prays for Himself. That’s encouraging isn’t it? Do you know it’s ok to pray for yourself? Jesus did. He then prayed a great prayer for His disciples. Imagine the feelings Jesus must have had knowing He was leaving them behind when He would return to His Father in glory; knowing they didn’t understand all that was about to happen. Lastly, Jesus prays for someone that grips my heart every time. Me… YOU and ME!
In today’s reading, specifically in verse 20, Jesus prays, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for ALL WHO WILL EVER BELIEVE IN ME through their (the disciple’s) message.” Jesus prayed for YOU and ME! That should be such a HUGE encouragement to us, knowing that around 2000 years ago, Jesus, the God of the universe, prayed for US. In my excitement I want to be sure that we don’t miss the core of Jesus’ prayer.
What did He pray for?
Jesus prayed that we (Christians) would be one. He prayed that we would have unity; that we would choose to unified. The only way unity is possible is if we surrender our ALL to the Holy Spirit in order that our love is first for God and then for other people. If I am self seeking, I cannot be one with anything or anyone beyond myself. The reason Jesus could say that He and the Father are one is because God is not self-seeking. He is the ULTIMATE example of surrender. Entirely God…stepping down the staircase of heaven and into this world through the gift of His Son, Jesus, the full embodiment of God, yet entirely man, in order that he would pay the ultimate price for our salvation, sanctification, and security. WOW! Just WOW!!
So then the question must be, “how can we have unity with all these other Christians?” Love! Jesus said, “The world will know you belong to me because you love one another.” Christians won’t always agree on how to worship or where we worship. Christians won’t always agree on specific doctrines or Bible passages. Heck, Christians won’t always agree on how long a worship service should be or what songs should be played or what color the paint on the wall should be. Why? I don’t have time to go into it here, but what I do know is that which Christians CAN and MUST come to agreement on. What Christians CAN and MUST agree on is that we will love and support each other through the power of the Holy Spirit. Love.
As you read John 17, ask yourself these questions…
1. What does unity look like? 2. Where in my life do I need to set aside my own agenda for the sake of unity? 3. How can both practice and share the principle of love and unity with others? 4. What questions do I have?
Holy Father, thank you for loving me. Thank you for making unity possible through Jesus. I pray that I will exercise the strength and courage within me to focus on matters of love and to seek unity with others. Help me to keep my eyes and desires on You. Amen.
You can e-mail Pastor Andrew with any questions about this study: firstname.lastname@example.org