“May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
This is a part of Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer” on the night before He was crucified.
Jesus prays for all believers, not just the twelve with Him, but for the other disciples and or those who down the ages will follow Him.
His prayer is for unity, the sort of unity that Jesus has with His Father.
This unity will be a witness to the world that Jesus was sent by the Father.
When Jesus prays for His followers to be one, in the same way that He and the Father are one, He doesn’t specify how that should happen or what it looks like.
Some people think that unity means one church, and that all distinctives of worship and life style should be removed.
Other people look for a unification at the level of denominations.
Jesus is speaking here of something more organic. He sees love for one another, flowing from God’s love for us, as the important thing. We must love one another because God has loved us. It is love that makes us one.
This unity shows the world that God sent Jesus into the world. People can only understand what love is when they see it in action day by day. How can they know that God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son, when those who claim to know Jesus fight and act selfishly?
Jesus also sees unity as a sign of God’s love for us. If God really loves me then that will transform me so much that I will love other people whom God loves. This natural outflow of love will show people that we know His love and live in His love.
Lord may your love for your church be shown in all of our relationships with one another so that those who do not know you will be convinced of your love for them. Amen.