By Jeremy Duggins, Associate Pastor
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
- John 17:22- 23
Let me set the stage here. These are the final words of Jesus as He is sweating drops of blood while praying in the garden of Gethsemane. This is just moments before Jesus will be betrayed by his friends, beat lifeless, and eventually crucified. In His last conversation with the Father before His arrest Jesus prayed that the church would experience complete unity.
Let me be honest, I doubt very seriously that I would dedicate my last prayer to ask for unity between myself and the people that were about to betray me, and then ask God for unity among believers. What in the world was Jesus thinking?
The motive of Jesus prayer is revealed in verse 23, "Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." Wow! Jesus makes a connection between the church being completely unified and the world knowing how much He loves them. That is powerful!
When you think about it on a practical level it actually makes a lot of sense that one of the best ways the church can share the love of Jesus with the world is by being unified. One of the reasons the world is so turned off by the church is because statistically speaking nothing is different when it comes to unity. Churches fight with other churches like businesses fight with other businesses. The divorce rate is the same among believers as it is with non believers. And the list goes on.
What would it look like if Crossroads Vineyard Church was an example to our community of what it looked like to be believers in complete unity with one another? What if we made a commitment that we would not let a spirit of division invade our culture. What if Crossroads Vineyard Church was an answer to Jesus’ prayer?
I believe we would experience revival in our community. I believe that non believers would come into our church and feel such a sense of community and family that they would feel at home. I believe we could join forces with other local churches in Fredericksburg and see the Kingdom of God advanced in a mighty way!
I think Jesus was onto something when He made the connection between unity among believers and the world coming to know His love. Jesus wasn't just praying, He was making a prophetic declaration that when the church becomes unified the world will experience His love. If unity was that important to Jesus it should be that important to us.
Let’s cultivate a culture of unity and community at Crossroads so that we can reach the world with the love of Jesus!
Questions for Reflection: