Scripture: John 17:22 CEB
“I’ve given them the glory that you gave me so that they can be one just as we are one.”
It was a team building exercise with the purpose of getting a group of people to work together as one team. There were six people on a team and there were four teams in total. Every team was required to be united in their decisions and actions before they could move forward. All four teams were competing against each other to be the top finisher by the end of the exercise. It was only an exercise, but it got to be pretty intense. The first step was to agree within your team of six about what action would be taken. This was no easy task. Six people had six different opinions about what should be done. As the teams went through the exercise a multiplicity of dynamics arose. By the time the exercise was finished, the team that was able to become one in their decision making and actions won. Have you ever had this kind of experience in work? Or in life? If you have, you know it’s not always easy to get a group of people to become ONE.
This is what Jesus prayed for his disciples, and by extension that means you and me. Jesus longed for those who follow him to “… be one just as we are one.” You have heard it said that there is one God, one Savior, one faith, and one baptism. We are one in the sense of Who we follow. God the Father created us, Jesus Christ the Son redeemed us, and the Holy Spirit sustains us. Yet, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one. We know this as the Holy Trinity. In the Godhead we have the perfect example of what it means to be one. This is why Jesus prayed for all who follow him to be one. He did not pray for us to be one with each other. No, Jesus prayed for us to be one just as the Trinity is one. One in purpose, one in faith, one in love, one in faithfulness, one in obedience, one in God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus knew that there was power in being one.
I believe this was one of the most powerful aspects of Jesus’ public and private ministry. Jesus was a united people. Jesus brought people together around a common theme and a common hope. Jesus was consistently followed by large crowds. Some came to see what he was all about. Others came to see what he would do. As people came to see, they believed. Thousands of people followed him wherever he went. Even when he tried to get away they would find him. The one thing that Jesus united people around was the kingdom of God. God’s saving grace had been at work among the people of Israel for thousands of years before Jesus. Jesus reminded them of this truth. However, Jesus also taught them that the kingdom of God was being realized in their own time and in their presence. Jesus taught that he was the Son of God, sent by the Father to bring salvation to those who would believe. Jesus taught that anyone who would believe would be made right before God and would be one with Christ, one with the Father, and one with the Holy Spirit. Jesus brought hope. Jesus prayed with that same hope when he prayed, “I’ve given them the glory that you gave me so that they can be one just as we are one.” Jesus prayed that we would be one!
Will you be ONE today? Ask God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to fulfill the prayer of Jesus in your life today. As you live today as one, seek to be a person who unites. Stay away from causing division or entering activities that promote division. Instead, seek to unite people. Look for the things people have in common and focus on them. Most of all, seek to be one with God through Jesus Christ the Son. As you seek to be one you will be setting an example for others. The people around you will notice the difference. You may even be able to help them understand how they can be a part of the one!
Prayer: God, the Creator; Jesus, the Redeemer; Holy Spirit, the Sustainer, thank you for being one. I will seek to remain faithful to the teachings of Jesus. Holy Spirit give me the strength and wisdom to live as one today. I set aside all my own selfish ambitions and seek first the kingdom of God. In the name of Jesus. Amen.