‘UNITY’ is ESSENTIAL for 'ALL' BELIEVERS: "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me." (John 17:20-23)
In John chapter 17, Jesus Christ our eternal High Priest prayed for Himself (vs. 1–5); for His current disciples (vs. 6–19); and for His entire future church and believers (vs. 20–26). We can boldly say, “Jesus prayed for me over 1900 years ago”! What specifically did Jesus pray that should happen among us?
Jesus prayed for unity among believers in fellowship for witness-bearing (vv. 20–23). He prayed that believers might be one in exhibiting the character of God. This is what would cause the world to believe that God had sent Jesus. This is the unity which makes the world say, “We see Christ in those Christians as God the Father was seen in Christ.” Through our unity, the world will not only realize that Jesus was God the Son, but that believers are loved by God just as Christ was loved by God. The loving relationship of believers to each other is the greatest witness to Jesus Christ!
Jesus also prayed for unity among believers in their future glory (vv. 24–26). The Father had manifested Himself through the Son, and now the Son manifests Himself through His followers. This looks forward to the time when believers will receive their glorified bodies. We do not have this glory yet and we will not receive it until our Savior returns to take us to heaven (Rev 1:12–18). It will be manifested to the world when Christ returns to set up His kingdom on earth!
Just as it was the prayer and intense desire of Jesus that all believers should be united, we should take the mantle of responsibility and actively strive to promote unity in the body of Christ. This will help the world to believe that God has sent His only begotten Son Jesus into this world. We should get along with other believers as we spread the sweet aroma of Christ's love to others. We should love and serve one another (John 13:34-35; Matt. 20:20-28), and never sow discord among believers as this is one of the seven things that God hates (Prov. 6:19).
"I (Paul), therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Eph 4:1-6)