09 Oct 2018
On the evening before Jesus died he ended his teaching with a memorable prayer. We find this prayer recorded in the seventeenth chapter of the gospel of John. The prayer begins with Jesus steeling himself to undertake the task in front of him; to follow through until death. But the bulk of the prayer is dedicated to his followers both present and future. Jesus prayed for their strength and protection, but most of all he prayed that they might be one even as he and the Father were one.
If you look closely at the passage you will find that the concept of unity is found in a context belonging. The theme of belonging appears to run throughout the entire chapter. The disciples are described as in the world but not belonging to the world. They do not conform to the culture and values of the world precisely because they belong to someone else. They belong to Jesus and their identity and values are found in him. They follow his leading and design for their lives not that of the world around them.
To belong to Jesus is also to take part in his mission. In part that involves making visible his transforming power in the way we relate to others. It is this transformation that results in the unity that Jesus prayed for. Unity between believers cannot not be accomplished by human strength or ingenuity. Rather, it is derived from being in Christ.
How is belonging to Jesus manifest in your life today? Would those you come in contact with know you belong to Jesus by the way you love others? The more we live out the unity that only God can create, the more others will be drawn to him.