This morning I was studying John 17:20-26 and I was struck by an interesting chain of logic in this section of Jesus’ prayer.
The logic runs like this:
Jesus and the Father are one- one heart, one mind, one purpose
His desire is that His followers will be one with Him in that same way
Then they will be one with each other- one heart, one mind, one purpose
Then the world will know Jesus and the Father
A similar thread runs around the word glory. In John’s gospel it is on the cross that Jesus is glorified, and this is happening right before the crucifixion.
The Father gave His glory to Jesus
Jesus has passed this glory to His followers
The result is that they will be one
Jesus then prays that they will see His glory
When christians argue and refuse to love one another it is a sign that they don’t love God enough and have not seen His glory. If you do a search on almost any well-known Christian leader you will quickly find a thousand or more pages about why that person is a heretic or not even saved.
Those pages betray a problem with their authors- they don’t love God enough.
The positive side of this is that if we pursue God with pure passion, then He will give us a greater love for His people. I have seen that in my own life. Each morning as I pray for the people in my church, the Lord gives me a deeper appreciation and love for each one. Lately He has directed me to pray for the other pastors in the town and I am finding the same process at work. I actually like these men and women!
If we want to see our town and our nation turn to Christ we first must learn to love one another more. But to do that we must love God more. The starting place has to be worship, both personal and corporate, reading the Scriptures and praying for our brothers and sisters in the Lord. As we do these things, He will show us people to pray for and give us the love to serve them.
In the midst of all these things, if I read John 17 correctly, we will start to see the glory of God released and flowing out from us to the world.