Marked by Unity (John 17:20–23) - Radical

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Marked by Unity (John 17:20–23)

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word that they may all be one. Just as you Father are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me, I have given to them. That they may be one even as we are one, I and them and you in me. That they may become perfectly one so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
– John 17:20–23

Did you hear this prayer of Jesus for the church, for all those who would believe in Him, that we would be one?

John 17:20–23 Encourages Us to Seek Unity Among the People of God

Just as the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father, this Trinitarian unity. It’s the kind of unity Jesus praised for us as the church that we might be together in the Son and the Father, so that you’re the purpose clause in John 17:21, so that the world may believe that the Father has sent the Son.

Do you hear that? The world will not believe that the Father sent the Son? When the church does not experience the unity that Jesus calls us to experience in Him and in the Father, do you see what’s at stake? Our unity in the church and the spread of the gospel in the world, they go together. We want the world to know that God loves them. Then we work with an eagerness, Ephesians 4 to maintain the unity of the spirit of God in the church. So can we just pray for that? God, in each of our local churches, we pray for unity around you, around the Father and the Son and the Spirit.

John 17:20–23 Is a Reminder to Guard Against Division in the Church

We pray this unity that you have, oh God and your Trinitarian nature to mark us in our churches. God, help us to guard against division. Lord, remove division, we pray, in our local churches and God across our local churches, as we all hold tightly to the gospel that saves us and your word, that’s our authority. And as we have different convictions about things that are less clear in your word or preferences in our lives, God, we pray that you would help us to pursue unity with each other, that you would help us to love one another, care for one another, lift up one another, speak kindly, tenderly to one another, about one another in ways that build up one another.

Lord, help us to bear with one another. God, help us to be the body you’ve created us and called us, and you’ve prayed for us, us to be, Lord Jesus, so that the world might know and believe who you are.

Praying for the Kyrgyz People

God, we pray that you would give us love for the world and love for one another together in this way. God, do we want the nations to know you. We pray for the Kyrgyz people, so many of them Muslim, people groups spread throughout different countries, millions of them who need to know your love, God. We pray for a unity in the church on mission for the Kyrgyz people of the world. God help us, we pray, each of us individually, to play our part in cultivating and maintaining this unity that you prayed for Jesus. And we pray that it be reality in ever-increasing measure in and through our lives as your church, according to Jesus’ words that he prayed, we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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