A Chinese couple, a South Korean couple, and my Mongolian friend and I had the privilege of praying together every morning for nearly an entire year. This experience brought us together in unity as brothers and sisters in Jesus, made us more aware of the glimpses of truth He had placed in each of our cultures, and gave us strength and boldness to be light to those around us. It was a sweet taste of the unity Jesus prayed for in John 17.
In His prayer, Jesus revealed His heart in a truly powerful and distinct way. He prayed for His disciples, as well as for all the believers. He said, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” (John 17:20-21). This means he prayed for all those who believe in Him today!
Jesus prayed that they would “experience such perfect unity that the world will know that [God the Father] sent me” (John 17:23). He was looking ahead to the time when people from every nation, tribe, social class, culture, and language would bow their knee and pledge allegiance in unity to the great I AM (Revelation 7:9-10). Jesus was implying that the unity of the believers would convince people the gospel is true.
Over the centuries, despite what Jesus prayed, believers have not always walked in unity. My experiences with my Chinese, South Korean, and Mongolian friends, however, give me hope that we can be united in Christ. May we live out a deep belief in what Jesus said to His Father: “Your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them” (John 17:26). Our unity presents the beautiful union of our triune God.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Isaiah 6:1-13
Read Ephesians 4:3 and think about how you can bind yourself in peace to other believers.
Why is unity among believers so important to Jesus? What steps can you take to live out His vision for unity in your faith community?