United as Christ's Bride

Scripture: John 17:20,22b,23a, ‘I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word …that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one…’


Observations: Jesus has prayed that God would protect his disciples and make them holy, but he also prays ‘for those who will believe in me through their word.’ Jesus isn’t just concerned about the first generation of Christians but about everyone who ‘believes in him,’ right down to you and me. And Jesus could’ve prayed for many different things, but his greatest concern is that we might ‘be one’ just as God the Father and Jesus ‘are one.’ Jesus is concerned about unity, about being ‘one.’ Firstly, we see this unity between the Father and the Son. Jesus talks about the two of them being ‘one.’ We call this idea the Trinity, because it’s not just God the Father and God the Son, but also God the Spirit, three who are united as one. Secondly, we see this unity in Jesus and his church. The church is united with Christ, we are ‘one.’ Later Paul says that Christ’s relationship with his church is like when a husband is united to his wife and they become one flesh (Eph 5:31-32). In the same way Jesus wants us as Christians to ‘be perfectly one.’ It’s only through our unity that the world will see that Jesus is indeed from God. It’s only in our unity that the world will see the power of God’s great love.


Application: How would you describe our unity as a Church? How much effort do you put into making our church united? How are you investing in making our church a reflection of a good marriage? Often we think it’s someone else’s responsibility, it’s their job to make me feel like I belong, or to help me fit in, but we don’t do that with our other relationships. I am responsible for letting other people in my church know that I love them, just like I am responsible for letting my wife know that I love her. The quality of our unity is my responsibility just like it is hers. Today I want to encourage you to find some way of growing our unity as a church, even if it’s something small like sending a text or making a phone call.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, the truth is perfect unity is only found in You, it is only perfectly expressed in how You relate as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And the amazing thing about the gospel is that You have invited us into that unity, that in Jesus Christ You have made us one with Yourself. And Lord the most terrible thing would be if we would bring disunity into that relationship, and yet we do it all the time, and yet in Your grace You forgive us, and You maintain our unity with You. Lord, I pray that I will work towards growing and building unity in our church and wherever Your people might be. Lord, forgive me when I do so little. Fill me with Your Spirit that I might love the church like You love it, as Your bride. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. 

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