One

MJOF-DevotionsDid you know that Jesus prayed for you before he was handed over to be crucified?

“I pray not only for these [disciples], but also for those who believe in Me through their message” (John 17: 20). 
Jesus prayed for future believers. That’s you. That’s me.
And what do you think he prayed for? That we would be filled with the Spirit? That we would do amazing works? That we would boldly proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth?
Jesus spent seven verses praying for us, and in those seven verses, he prayed the same prayer four times:
“May they all be one” (v. 21)
“May they also be one in Us” (v. 21)
“May they be one as We are one” (v. 22)
“May they be completely one” (v. 23)
Of all the things Jesus could have prayed for on our behalf, he prayed that we would be one. And he didn’t just pray it once. Four times in seven verses he prayed for it.
I’m thinking that His people being one is a pretty big deal to Him. Why? Well, he gives us three reasons in these verses:
1. to show the oneness between God and Jesus (v. 21)
2. so that the world will believe that God sent Jesus (v. 21)
3. so that the world will know that God loved them just as he loved Jesus (v. 23)
Isn’t that what we want as well? For the world to know that God sent Jesus and that they are one? For the world to know that God loves them?
I’m sure we can all name different things we attempt to do to tell the world about Jesus. From attractive programs to robust mission strategies, we’re working hard to bring Jesus to our world.
Yet Jesus prayed just one thing for us. That we would be one. That, he said would show the world He loves them and pursues them.
I am saddened at the divisions in the church today. From denominational differences to discord within churches, our enemy has had his way with us. Our enemy knows that if we are one, the message of Jesus is unstoppable.
I can’t fix the denominational differences and discord with churches. But I can choose to pursue unity in my church, in the church as a whole. I can choose not to criticize leaders or churches, both on a small or large scale. We can get so caught up in differences of opinion that we are totally missing the mission: to share the gospel with the world. If our eyes are on the mission, I believe our little tiffs will fade into obscurity. I think we’ll lead with love and that love will cover a multitude or sins.
That doesn’t mean that disagreements won’t occur. The book of Acts is full of them. But you see that they worked out the issues because the kingdom cause was greater than their divisions. They were one in mission, one in purpose.
May the decisions I choose to make today echo Jesus’ prayer for me. That I will make every effort to live in unity – to be one – with believers for whom Jesus died.

Jill McSheehy