Please note the following is an excerpt from the book, “Jesus’ Prayer from A to Z”, of which I’m Editor.
- O - One Obsessive Obligation, by
Oakes, Ronald L.
Oneness . . . it’s the one unmistakable, obvious sign of authentic relationship with
God and His people! Unfortunately, such evidence of unity is rarely seen even within
a single congregation. Why is it that Christian people find it so difficult to display the
authentic oneness for which Jesus prayed? Could it be that we have forgotten the
one obsessive obligation? Have we been so concerned about having Jesus “in us”
that we fail to remember exactly where we are supposed to be?
Obviously, the Bible teaches the necessity of having Jesus “in us.” Paul tells the
Colossians that the mystery of the Gospel is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
(1:27) Paul affirms that “Christ is in you” and “the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus
from the dead dwells in you.” (Romans 8:10-11)
Paul prays for the Ephesians that
God would strengthen them “with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so
that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” (3:16-17)
Obedience, therefore, to God’s plan of salvation in His Word is necessary to having
Jesus “in us” to provide the power to have an authentic relationship with Him and
His people. However, every Christian needs to understand that having Jesus “in us”
only considers a one-sided dimension of our relationship. Jesus prays in this prayer
that all who believe would “all be one” (John 17:21). But He also prays that all who
believe would “be in us” (i.e. in the Father and in Christ).
Observe this distinction for just a moment and consider this different perspective of
our being “in Christ.” If we are “in” a foreign country, everything we do is influenced
by our surroundings. The food we eat, the beds in which we sleep, the transportation
in which we move within the cities, the witnessing of our lives and our words all take
place within that country. In the same way, when we truly understand our spiritual
place as being “in Christ,” we are completely surrounded by Him, overwhelmed by
Him, bounded by Him, inundated with Him, and absorbed into Him. As Paul says,
“in Him we live, and move, and exist.” (Acts 17:28)
Obstruction often comes to Jesus’ prayer for oneness when we fail to consider this
one obsessive obligation and remember that we are, indeed, truly “in Him.” Jesus
put it this way, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in
him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) If all
we needed was to have Jesus “in us,” then why would He instruct us to abide “in
Him?” Could it be that Jesus wants us to be “in Him” as much He wants to be “in
us?” Does this imply that our strength and power to bear the fruit of oneness with
God’s people comes only when we share this symbiotic relationship with our Lord?
Optimum levels of unity in God’s Kingdom could arise if we lived each day from
this perspective of being “in Him.” Yes, Christ is “in us,” and it’s very easy to categorize
our relationship with Christ as spiritual and everything else around us as physical.
But by perceiving our rightful spiritual place as being “in Him” we can easily see - all
that we have, all that we do, and all that we are - must reflect our spiritual position. We
have nothing to prove, nothing to exalt over others, nothing to raise ourselves up and
place us on our throne. After all, when God sits on our throne, nothing else matters!
Obtain this oneness by understanding and living out this one obsessive obligation—
that we are most like what He wants us to be when we are “in Him,” when we are so
one with Christ that others see Him in us reigning supreme. When that level of
commitment and conviction humbles us to see our rightful place before Him and our
rightful place in Him, then the world may believe that Jesus truly is the life-changing,
destiny-changing God He is.
Our Father in heaven, too often we negate your power in our lives by
holding on to our thrones. We have grieved your heart by our unwillingness to
completely surrender to you. Lord, help us gain a new perspective of our spiritual
place and truly find “in you” the oneness for which Jesus prayed. Father, bear
through us the beautiful life and testimony of Jesus our Lord. In Jesus’ name
we pray, Amen.
Oakes, Dr. Ronald L. - Moberly, MO - President, Central Christian College
of the Bible. Educated at Kentucky Christian University (B.A.), Cincinnati
Christian University (M.A.; M.R.E.), Bethel Theological Seminary
(D.Min.). Besides ministries in local churches and para-church
organizations, he has served as Professor and Academic Dean at St. Louis
C. C. He and wife Patti have two daughters, four grandchildren.
O Christ, who for Your flock did pray
That all may be as one,
Unite us all e’er fades the day,
You one begotten Son;
The East, the West, together bind
In love’s unbroken chain;
Give each one hope, one heart, one mind,
One glory and one gain.
- John William Hewett (1824?-1886)
Has Jesus’ prayer for unity captured my heart?
If no, why not?
Pray Jesus’ prayer for:
Others/ Office workers
Pray Jesus’ prayer for:
Believers in Oman, Other Muslim countries where
open proclamation of the Gospel is forbidden
and converts to Christ may face the death sentence.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Tom (Jn.17:21) M.,
Fellowship of John 17:21
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