John 17:20-26 Jesus' High Priestly Prayer, Part 3, His Prayer for the Church
Topic: Unity, Gifts, Growth, Ministry Scripture: John 17:20–17:26
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that this is some of the most extraordinary passages in all of Scripture.
Unity is a major theme in this section of our Lord’s prayer. He prays to the Father on behalf of the church universal and local that they might partake in the holy unity that can only be experienced through fellowship with the Triune God.
Many twist our Lord’s intentions to fit their own. We hear claims such as “teaching doctrine divides the church.” Such thinking only serves to dumb the Christians down to a level that “all can agree.”
Others rally around experiences rather than truth. We must be careful because our enemy is always at work to confuse us into accepting a false unity, knowing that the end result will, in fact, be the opposite of that for which we are striving.
For instance, ideologies and cultural agreements such as groupthink, methodology, fads, personality cults, intimidation, popularity, politics, and personal interests are often taught as a method to produce unity when in reality this is forcing conformity, and should never be mistaken for Spirit-given unity in the body. The Spirit gives unity as Christ as presented in Scripture is at the center of the body.
Instead of reading modern ideologies into Jesus’ words let us, as His people, hear His teaching with open hearts. Let’s humbly consider the nature and character of the unity that Jesus prays that His church would have.