A dying man's last words are often his most important, and in the 17th chapter of the gospel of John we read the last recorded prayer of Jesus before going to the cross. Our Savior could have prayed for a lot of things here. He could have prayed for the overthrow of the Romans, or the spread of the gospel, or for... himself. But He didn't. In some of His final moments on this earth, Jesus prayed for us and for the unity of His Church. Not just a church, but the Church: all believers on the earth.Read the rest.
“... 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 17:20-23Did you notice the "if/then" statement that this passage clearly makes? The Church should be unified "so that the world may believe that you have sent me..."and "Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
Jesus says the unity of the Church causes people to believe in Him. Unity is evangelistic! It is so evangelistic that Jesus made it His final prayer. I guess this means He actually did pray for the spread of the gospel. And, tragically, we must assume that disunity in the Church has the opposite effect.
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