The “Unity” Of John 17
“That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me. 22I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one: 23I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me.” John 17:21-23 Amplified Bible
What unity is Jesus speaking of when He says that in our unity the world may recognize that He is sent by the Father? We often focus on the unity of us as believers amongst ourselves. But there is another element that Jesus is speaking of here as He speaks of our unity together.
The unity of the body of believers on this earth is a great goal for us to strive for, but even if we achieve this elusive unity it is not of itself going to cause the world to see that Jesus was sent from the Father. To think that unity of the body is a goal within itself that will bring spiritual results is misplaced. It is a physical effort and we know that the results of the physical things can never produce spiritual results.
The oneness Jesus speaks of in verse 21 is our oneness with the Father, just as He had oneness in this physical body with the Father. Remember that Jesus at that time was still God but He was God in the flesh, the same flesh that hinders and binds us up. Even in that same flesh, Jesus was one with the Father and this is His prayer for each of us, to have the same oneness with the Father. Because Jesus in the flesh was one with the Father, and because Jesus did the work that He did in His victory, we can now have that same oneness with the Father!
Jesus says in His prayer that He was in the Father and the Father was in Him so that we might also be one in them. This is the oneness of each of us individually with the Father through Jesus! It is this oneness that will convince the world of Jesus. Why does this convince the world of who Jesus is? The answer is in verse 22 when Jesus says that all the glory and honor that the Father had given to Jesus and in turn, Jesus has given to us. We have all the power and authority that Jesus had as a man through the Father, invested in us. When we operate in the power of this oneness, we will experience spiritual results and the world will take notice.
Walk in the power of that unity with the Father and Son daily.
J Todd Hostetler