Unity May Be Simpler Than We Think (Letters to a Samuel Generation)

Very few of the prayers of Jesus are recorded in the Bible. The longest of them is found in John 17, and takes up all twenty-six verses of that chapter. It seems to me that this address from Son to Father ought to be of immense importance to us. As it was important enough for Jesus to say it and significant enough for John to record it, we really should give it some attention. This is especially true since the prayer is one of intercession, and we are the subject of it. Yet, surprisingly little is ever said about it these days.

Here is a portion of that prayer:

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” (John 17:20-23)

This may well have been one of the last prayers John ever heard Jesus pray, for in the very next chapter, the story of Judas’s betrayal begins. At the very end of Jesus’ ministry and life on earth, He found Himself concerned about our future—specifically, that we would be united.

I can’t help thinking that He must be heartbroken by the attitudes of His people these days, and throughout history. Driving down Main Street in Anytown, U.S.A., you will find a Presbyterian Church on one corner, a Baptist Church two blocks away (with a separate Hispanic congregation which meets in the building after the English service—two congregations, and ne’er the twain shall meet), and an Assembly of God to finish the collection.

The community around them is being torn apart by loneliness, suicide, drugs, etc.; but the church can’t do anything about it. Each congregation is too busy keeping their members away from the other denomination down the road. Each zealously guards its own territory, pouring their energy into putting up walls between church people. On the mission field, many of the same things happen.

Is it any wonder that the lost do not see in Christianity an answer to their needs? Jesus said that when Christians would unite with each other and God, then the world would believe. Through our unity, the glory and love of God operates. Without it, our light is darkened. The world will never change because they read our books, listen to our radio programs, or admire our personalities. Rather, it is the miracle of a people, one in heart and mind, caring for and loving each other, that will bring people to believe.

This unity of which I speak is not a mystical, mysterious experience. It is practical, hands-on. Christ loved people by healing them, feeding them, listening to them and discipling them. This kind of Spirit-inspired, down-to-earth love is that which binds together in unity. It’s what He wants for us.

And it’s not really that hard to achieve. In order to bring the scattered, splintered Body of Christ together again, you and I must roll up our sleeves and get to work. The question is, are you willing?

Are you willing to give of your finances to a brother who needs it?

To pray with the Charismatic, or the Mennonite, or the Anglican?

To call the lonely sister you don’t really enjoy talking to, because she needs the ear and her needs matter?

To vacate the judgment seat and love a brother you think is wrong?

To learn to say “Praise the Lord” in Spanish, dance with Jewish believers, or be the only white singer in an all-black choir?

If you are, prepare for a whole new outlook on life. There’s something about unity that brings love, joy, peace and glory flooding in in a whole new way.

The heart of Jesus grieves over our brokenness as a body. Will we lay aside our prejudice, our pride, and our hard-nosed inflexibility so that His heart may be blessed?


This is an excerpt from Letters to a Samuel Generation, a book about knowing the mind and heart of God. I will be posting from this work until I finish Seeds 2 and can get back to writing new Matthew commentary later this fall. I hope it’s a blessing to you!


Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash




3 responses to “Unity May Be Simpler Than We Think (Letters to a Samuel Generation)”

  1. jeff goodman Avatar
    jeff goodman

    We can feed, clothe and house the poor together. We can sing, dance and praise the lord together. But as soon as someone brings up the doctrine of salvation or asks “What do I need to do to be saved?” we’re all going to be fighting together. In his comment, William mentions the lukewarm Laodicean church. A wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked bunch who claim to be rich, increased with goods and having need of nothing. That’s got to be the very definition of delusional. Try reasoning with a group of people who think they’re saved when they’re not. Yet, they’re a part of the body of Christ right up until the time He spews them out of His mouth. God rejects the proud and gives grace to the humble. Stay humble and may the Lord continue to bless you.

    1. William Tuck Avatar

      Thank You Jeff! Very Clear!

  2. William Tuck Avatar

    Thank You Rachel! I’m a follower of The Apostle Paul. Especially Romans. Galatians, Philippines, Ephesians and Colossians. But I put John 17 right there with these must read epistles. Yes sadley the Church down here is deep in Laodicea Country. Your words aren’t welcome or wanted by most Modern Christians know a days. Rachael Thank You for Writing about and standing for The True Gospel of God and Leading His called ones to Him and His Kingdom!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *