These last verses are all about our unity. First, our unity with the apostles (v. 20-21)-we stand in unity with the apostles when we believe their words, God’s message.
Second, we have a living unity with God the Father through faith in the work of God the Son (v. 22). Jesus will be in us, ″I in them and you in me″ (v. 23); ″I myself may be in them″ (v. 26). Therefore, if there is no apostolic message, there is no Jesus, and if there is no Jesus, there is no union with God.
Third, we share a family union with one another, ″that they may be one as we are one″ (v. 22). Jesus has revealed the glorious character of God to us today through the apostles’ message, and our common faith in Christ, as found in the message, gives us unity together. This means that wherever we go in the world, we have family.
Jesus’ prayer reminds us that we are to take our unity seriously. We cannot manufacture this unity ourselves, but Paul reminds us that we are to work hard at maintaining it (Ephesians 4:1-6). Humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance are conducive to keeping ″unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace″ (Ephesians 4:3).
The world will be impressed when it sees our deep unity in the midst of our vast diversity (vv. 21, 23). We live in a divided world; society, families, and relationships are destroyed by such division. The church of Jesus Christ is the place of substantial reconciliation. We are different in every way imaginable, but we are one in the apostolic gospel, one in Christ our Lord (Galatians 3:26-29).
It’s been said that ″the workers united will never be defeated″-how much more will the God-achieved, blood-bought unity we have in Christ strengthen us as we live for Him before the world? The prayer of Jesus, the righteous mediator, continues to sound in the hearing of God.
How important is Christian unity to you?
How do you contribute to your local fellowship of believers, and how do they nourish you?