Jesus says farewell – Part Seventeen (John 17)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. 

The final part of Jesus’ farewell speech records Jesus’ prayer. It’s often called Jesus’ “high priestly prayer,” as he prays on behalf of his people: the disciples gathered around him, and also – quite specifically – for all who would believe in the future through their witness. Which includes us.  Take a look at verses 20-21:

John 17:20-21 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

Jesus prays for us. He prays for the future church that would be established. Specifically, he prays for its unity – that we would be one.

Which makes you ask – when you look at all of the different denominations and groupings of Christians in the world, not to mention the arguments and even wars that have been fought along those lines – it makes you ask: what went wrong?

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Jesus says farewell – part eighteen (John 17)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. 

Yesterday, we looked at Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-21 that we – his church – might be united, might be one. Let’s read part of that prayer again:

John 17:20-23 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 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. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 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.”

And, in the light of church history and the proliferation of different denominations today, asked: what went wrong?

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Jesus says farewell – part nineteen (John 17)

We’re continuing in our series through Jesus’ farewell speech in John 14-17. 

So far, we’ve looked at Jesus’ prayer that his church might be one (John 17:20-21) and asked what went wrong? Should we be pursuing unity at all costs – like many would encourage us to do? Before we get to answering that, yesterday we made two important points: that unity doesn’t have to be organisational unity; and that there is a fair amount of functional unity between like-minded Christian groups. Today, we ask an even more fundamental question: must the call to unity take priority over truth?

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