The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
For weeks this particular scripture has infiltrated my thought process. To the magnitude that I have not even been able to “study” or spend really any more significant time with any other scriptures. Holy Spirit has quite literally brought my mind to a rather obsessive state over these few sentences breathed by my Savior in the last hours of His life. I have read through the Gospel of John more times than I even care to try to recall. I do not say that as some kind of grand accomplishment, because I let what is one of the most detailed portraits of Gods will for His Body slip straight through the cracks. I am thankful for a Father who is constantly nurturing and bringing greater clarity to simple truths by the Power of His Holy Spirit. I have to admit that I was, and still am, truly overrun with a flood of different emotions and feelings when Father began to bring light to the real gravity in these words. For the most part, especially on a larger scale, I can not recall a time I have ever seen the Church operating and living in the reality of these words. That does not settle well with me. What makes me even more uneasy is that Christ relates the World having means to believe that He is the Son of God in direct dependency on the Unity of the Body.
We can sugar coat it all day long but this scripture is a very abrupt wake up call, a stark realization, that forces us to come to some very undesirable conclusions. I do not believe that any thorough elaboration on how we have completely missed this mark is in order. It is very clearly seen that the institute that we label “church” is the furthest things from unified. There are reported of 40,000 various denominations or sects of so-called Christianity in the world to date. Need I say any more? Even some of the largest denominations are full of divisions. In my city alone, which population is less than two thousand people, there exist five churches of the same denomination. Does that sound right to you? Churches divide over “doctrine”, race, socio-economic stature, language, methodology, color of the carpet, and the list goes on for days. It is like that we find more delight in dividing than coming together in the Faith of Christ.
After Holy Spirit led me back to this scripture I responded with a very basic question, “Is this even possible?”. He replied with a very soft subtle reminder, “With me all things are possible”. Duh!? right? I honestly was a little dumbfounded that I let human ignorance deter me from believing what He spoke could be fulfilled, and even more so thankful for these instances where he breathes the most basic of truths back into my understanding. This questions generated a long dialogue about the purpose of the church, God’s heart, the nature of His unity, the Message of reconciliation, and the tragic state the body is currently in. Remember those unsettling conclusions that I mentioned? It was in this conversation with my Father that they were drawn, but not only drawn out but quickened as vibrant truth. One such conclusion is that for the most part, the wider scope of what we would refer to as Christendom, is not even remotely authentic. That the system by which we have built is full of people still totally bankrupt of grace, depraved of the love of God. People who are lost. It is mans interference that has lamed and mauled the Body and Name of our great Savior Jesus Christ. I think most people could concur with me to some measure that we have really dropped the ball. I differ than most in that I do not believe that methodology has is severely significant. Having “church” in a house is no different from a steeple topped building. Calling it one thing over another makes no difference. It is not so much that the church needs a reform in methodology so to speak as that the church needs a resurgence of the fundamental elements of the Faith. To see people truly resurrected with one focus, love God. It’s not our programs or color of the carpet that has made the power of God non effect. It is the fact that there is a serious lack of people who are truly after the heart of God, a lack of people who know the height, depth, and width of the love of God.
The crux of Jesus’ prayer is this “Father let them be as they were in the beginning, living as our image, built with a capacity to love as you have loved me and I have loved you” He was reinstating what had been spoken on the day that Adam was created “Let us make man in our image”. God designed us to dwell and thrive in the same unity that He himself does as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To be one as they are one and that by this God-birthed harmonious union the world would believe. Essentially Jesus is just praying that the Father, through Him, would bind the people together in an incomprehensible love that tethers the most radical of opposites into this beautiful mosaic that is the IMAGE of God unto the world. It is a prayer for rebirth to take place and creation to be restored. How can we ever expect the world to believe if they see nothing worth believing? Because of Christ the church is to be the image-bearers of God. Do we see that on a collective or corporate scale? Paul, by the Holy Spirit, speaks of the message of reconciliation in his second letter to the Corinthian church. He says that God has granted us this ministry. The ministry that is truly His heart. God longs for the world to be reconciled back to Him through Christ. This Ministry is, and never will be proclaimed in a greater magnitude than that which comes from a people who are unified by Christ as a true gospel centered family. The world should look at the church and have no other option than to cry, “Truly Jesus is the Son of God”. I am not saying I have all the answers or that I even know how to make this happen but what I am saying is that we need to take a good long look in the mirror, sober up from our religious stupor, and face the facts.
Through whom, to whom, and for whom all things exist