“And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” - John 17:11-14
John 17 is known as the High Priestly Prayer. It is the last prayer of Jesus before his betrayal and arrest. After teaching his disciples about what was to come, Jesus petitioned his Father for himself, his disciples, and all those who would become disciples. Knowing that his time on earth was coming to an end, Jesus appealed to his Father to protect the disciples from the evil one. There is the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world. Where Jesus reigns in the Kingdom of God, Satan still holds the kingdom of this world. Until the second coming of Christ, Satan will seek to lead God’s people astray. He can’t take their salvation, but he can keep them from living into the fullness of God’s power, purpose, and joy.
One of the ways that Satan achieves great victory over the people of God is by dividing them. Thus, Satan is always seeking ways to do exactly that. We don’t need to look any further than our last election. Republicans versus Democrats; people divided over language, stances, and political figures. Beyond politics, we see division in the church over use of spiritual gifts, worship style, or same-sex marriages. With every division, Satan wins.
As the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit live in perfect unity, so are God’s children called to live in unity. At the foot of Christ’s cross, we acknowledge that we are all fallen and in need of a savior. We will continue to sin against God and each other, and we need his grace and forgiveness to make the way forward for reconciliation. God has provided everything we need to live as his reconciled people, but we must choose to walk the path. That means being humble and admitting when we are wrong. It means listening when others speak instead of asserting our thoughts and opinions. It means considering others as more important than ourselves. It means seeking the common good, as opposed to our agenda. It means forgiving the debts of others, knowing that vengeance belongs to the Lord and not to us.
Reconciliation is not easy, but Jesus speaks of a great reward for those who do this hard work: their joy will be fulfilled. When God’s people live in unity, it is for their good and it is a powerful witness to the world. The Gospel of Jesus Christ unites and heals the divisions of this world. Through Jesus, all people can come into this beloved community. His agenda becomes the main agenda; his love becomes our love; his forgiveness inspires us to forgive.
May we do the hard work of reconciling so that we are united like Jesus and the Father.
Reflect & Respond:
To whom do you need to be reconciled? What can you do today to bring reconciliation to your relationships and to your church community? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Resurrected Life: Making All Things New - The Bible promises that those who are in Christ are "new creatures." But how does that transformation take place? This unique Easter-season Bible study provides a space in which we can discover what it truly means to live a new life. As we listen, we'll learn how the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything - for us. Begin the journey to new life today!
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