“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. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.John 17:20-23 NIV
The seventeenth chapter of John is a prayer. Jesus prayed for himself, for his disciples, and for the believers who would come after them. And that includes us. His words in the verses above are his prayer for his church today. And that prayer is that we would experience complete unity. A unity that is modeled after that of God the Father and God the Son. A unity that would be a sign to the unbelieving world, pointing them to Jesus and to the Father.
The World Will Know Us by Our Love
But it is hard to imagine a church that is less unified than what we find today. Conflict, rather than unity and love (John 13:34-35) seem to characterize the church today. Is it any wonder that, at least in the west, the church is in decline. And that the world around us, rather than seeing God glorified in us, mocks God because of us. Be willing to embrace all who call on the name of the Lord. We may disagree on some issues of faith and practice. But, if Jesus is our Lord, we are one body, regardless of those differences. Let the world see Jesus through us as a unified church, loving one another.