Having prayed to the Father first for his disciples that they may be one “as We are”, Jesus then prayed for “those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me (John 17:20-23). He therefore prays for you and me —we believers are included in His prayer and ongoing intercessions!
So what is He praying for us, we who have believed in Him through their word? The answer follows with some staggering ‘purpose clauses’. In this post, we look at the first of these.
That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You;
This is the same request he made for the original disciples: that they may be one “as we are”, the Father in Jesus and Jesus in the Father. This is undoubtedly the will of God for you and me, for all followers. Nothing has changed, though we have changed and not for the better.
We are thus connected to the original disciples in the Spirit by the same will of God in Christ! We are meant to be together with them, immersed in the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. No change! There is no change in covenantal privileges and responsibilities from them to us despite the passage of 2000 years. We live in the fellowship of the saints!
This awesome connection, oneness, S. Paul calls the Body of Christ. Jesus calls it My ekklesia.
This is of critical importance in how we understand our relationship with other believers, and how we look at ekklesia. That’s the original word used and badly translated into English as church, where it comes across as a religious concept. The word ekklesia in the original simply meant a gathering of people for a purpose. It had no religious connotation whatsoever. None.
The only ekklesia that is actually of God is the one Jesus is constructing—Matthew 16:18. Humans cannot build this. And we must not try. We are not commanded to do so. And yet we fail to do what we are instructed—to bring in the harvest, to teach others to be disciples, to love one another and to be ONE together as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You.
But we can be so busy trying to help Him build churches, we fail to experience the glory He wants to display in us. He, not us, is the Architect and the Builder of His ekklesia. We are together members of His glorious Body, the living stones in this spiritual building. Together in Him. ONE.
And in this glorious fellowship, this temple of God, we are to be one together. One not many.
Jesus’ prayer for you and me, all believers, constantly before the Father, is for our oneness. Do you see that excludes so much activity taken for granted in today’s religious organisations? Thus denominational exclusiveness is a grave error. Control of others is anathema. Selfishness, vainglory, hatred, self-righteousness, arguments, self-justifications, dogmatism causing splits, must all be thrown out.
When we are united together in actually doing what he has commanded—rather than what our precious theology or doctrines or opinions or religious organisations want—when we are abounding in the actual work of the Lord, filled with the Holy Spirit, bearing witness to Him, participating in the making of disciples, reminding, teaching, urging, persuading, encouraging others—in our joy and gladness in serving Him and one another, we leave behind those obstacles to oneness. We forget our own agendas in favour of His agenda—our ONENESS.
It’s not about you. It’s not about us. It’s all about the Father and His Christ. Right?
Right! (in every respect) – Thanks, Ian.
Thanks Cameron for your kind comment.