In this holy week, I am thinking of Jesus and what must have been going on inside him as he moved towards the cross. In John 17, we find an intimate prayer between Jesus and his Father only moments before he was arrested.
In this prayer, these epic, last moments before he is killed, he prays for those of us who would believe in him in the future. Jesus. Praying for us in these final moments of what must have been tremendous fear and agony. This is pretty amazing. And what does he say?
20…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.
Unity. That’s what Jesus seemed to want for us more than anything else.
Unity under what? That we would all believe the exact same doctrines? That we would all have the same opinions about the afterlife?
Is the foundation of our faith Jesus AND our thoughts about the Bible and salvation and miracles and heaven and hell…etc Or is the foundation of our faith Jesus and Jesus alone?
Are we unified by Jesus and whether we speak in tongues or Jesus and our thoughts about the priesthood of believers? Are we unified by Jesus and our views on women in ministry and whether or not we believe earth is six thousand years old or six billion? Is our foundation both Jesus and our thoughts about whether hell is a literal place or not? Is the absolute bedrock of our faith both Jesus and our thoughts about transubstantiation, or human sexuality, or predestination or free will or whether clergy should wear robes in church rather than suits and ties? What is the absolute FOUNDATION of our faith that should hold us together whether we disagree about the finer points or not?
Is it not simply that Jesus is Lord? Is it not the Word that became flesh and walked among us and was crucified and rose again and shall come again? Is it not simply and always and only Him that unites us, and is that not enough?