The Witness of Our Oneness

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me." - John 17:20-21

Hey GCT family,

As we continue our study of Jesus' Prayer in John 17 this Sunday, we're going to look at the latter half of the chapter where Jesus prays for those who will believe in me through [the apostles'] word, which includes us today. At this precise moment in Jesus' life, He is moments away from stepping out of the Upper Room to begin making His way to the garden of Gethsemane where a series of events will unfold that will bring Him to the cross and the unfathomable agony He will experience as He bears the sins of the world. Knowing this was about to happen, He could've prayed for anything! But what He prays for gives us a glimpse into His heart for His people, a glimpse into His Father's heart for His people, and an understanding of why He had to come to earth and take on humanity in the first place.

Jesus prays for our oneness - our unity. Both in Himself and in the Father, and in and amongst ourselves as believers. What is this oneness? The idea of oneness is more than just two or more parts becoming unified into one part. The concept of this oneness with Christ means a wholeness together, or completeness even though we are comprised of many individual entities. Jesus has enjoyed perfect harmony and unity with the Father (John 10:30, 14:11) and the Spirit (John 15:26, 16:12-15) before time existed (John 1:1). And He now prays for all of those whom the Father has given Him to join into this oneness with Himself and with the Father that has existed since before time began. And our oneness with God is guaranteed because of Jesus' oneness with the Father (John 17:21), Jesus' oneness with us (John 17:23), and the Father's love for us (John 17:23,24).

This is all wonderful news and sounds super great for us as believers! But what exactly does it mean? And why are we given this truth? If you're anything like me, after reading the previous paragraph you may be left with more questions than answers.

One aspect of what this truth means is that our oneness with Christ is to be a witness to the world. "so that the world may believe" The invisible (meaning you can't see it) oneness we have with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit is to be so apparent in our lives that the world will be able to see it. The invisible made visible. The spiritual unity with Christ made into a here-and-now reality. The unseen change that God has completed in our hearts in uniting us to Him should have such an effect on how we live, how we behave, and how we interact with others here on this temporal planet that the world around us takes notice that we are not like them. We are otherwordly. We inhabit a different reality. A reality in which God invites us into intimate oneness with Himself for His glory, our deep joy, and to draw others into oneness with Himself through our witness.

It's a profound thought. And we will only scratch the surface as we contemplate these magnificent truths, and as we also discover what they mean for us living at this particular time and place in human history. I look forward to being together with you all again this Sunday as we gather to worship our God who is Himself perfect Oneness.

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