Key verse: John 17:23
Big idea: We share in the unity of the Son of God.
Thanksgiving is coming up, and maybe your spouse is already telling you how to keep the peace. No one needs to be upset over pie, so certain subjects are off-limits. Stick to how fast the weather changes and hating the Yankees so everyone can get along. Is that what Jesus meant when He prayed that His people would be one in John 17? Perhaps we should just ignore our differences, focus on what we can agree on, and all live happily ever after. Hardly.
The prayer itself shows something deeper. Verse 21 is startling: "May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you." Somehow, believers are supposed to be one as the Father and the Son are one? But the Father and the Son really are one. There is one God, who is three persons, and so they are united in their very being. If that is the kind of unity Jesus was praying for, it is not something as simple as wallpapering over our differences. No, our unity must be in the very person of the God of holiness and truth. When we are saved, because Jesus died for us and rose again, we share in His glory. He lives within us, and we are "in Christ." If I am in Christ and Christ is in me, and you are in Christ and Christ is in you, we are brought together in a supernatural way that we simply cannot pretend to understand. Our unity is not an external convention, but a spiritual reality which we need to live out.
When we do live it out, not by meeting in the middle but by all drawing closer to the Son, it is the most powerful defense of the gospel (called an apologetic) that there can possibly be. If I tell someone that they can be reconciled to God while my life shows that I am reconciled to God's other children, then "the world may know [the Father has] sent [the Son] and [has] loved [us] as [He] has loved [Jesus]." God's love for us is revealed in our love for each other, because we have been invited to partake of the blessed harmony of God Himself. What a blessing! What a responsibility!
Discussion idea: How can we put our unifying love into action?
Prayer focus: Lord, make me what I already am. Help me to realize that since I am in You and am loved by You, that the others you love are worthy of my love as well. Help me to unify people around Your truth. Make us one, so others will see and join this sweet fellowship.