As a ninth grade student in the beginning of the 1960s, I could see that the world was headed for atomic destruction. The Cold War, between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., threatened to blow up the globe. International tensions became common knowledge with the advent of daily television news coverage.
Tragically, our world is still filled with conflict, hatred, and war-born suffering. Not only have things not changed in the past 60 years, now they’re worse. A short list of nations currently at war includes Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Mexico, Turkey (vs. the Kurds), Somalia, Republic of the Congo, Burkina Faso, Mali, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.
This list—which sanitizes the blood being spilled, families destroyed, and bitterness planted for future revenge—should bring tears to our eyes. Can we begin to imagine the sorrow of God’s heart to watch, as His earthly children torture and devour one another?
Answers in Yeshua’s Prayer
When I read Yeshua’s impassioned prayer in John 17, I hear the Father’s longing to bring His human family together. But surveying the globe—how in the world can that possibly happen?
The keys are “hiding in plain sight” within the verses of this phenomenal prayer. Yeshua is THE ultimate intercessor. “He ever lives to make intercession…” (Hebrews 7:25). So, what does the Messiah pray? What is “the Why” of His petition? And, how does He request the Father achieve this oneness of His followers?
The “Why” is stated in Ephesians 1:10 “…that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Messiah.” As any good father desires, the Father of mankind longs to bring His children together in loving, cooperative relationship. This heart is what drove Yeshua to a Roman cross—to reconcile us once and for all to God and to each other (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). No wonder Psalm 133 compares “dwelling together in unity” with the blessing of everlasting life.
The Key – His glory in you
Fine. A noble and lofty goal, you say. But how in the world can we overcome our petty differences, much less foster a kingdom of peace? In His prayer, Yeshua focuses on a radical truth as the key to true oneness. “And the glory which you gave me I have given them, that they may be one just as we are one.” (John 17:22) Before dealing with international strife, our Lord is beginning with His followers—with us.
Sadly, we are aware of countless shameful wasteful divisions among New Covenant believers—contention and disputation dishonoring to His name. The challenge is: Will I take the glory He’s extending to me, and be healed of the bitter poison of thinking my group is the best and pointing the finger?
There is an available impartation of His radiant, glorious, resplendent nature. He came, to transmit that nature to my heart and to yours—to make us one. And, ultimately, to unite all of mankind, when “the wolf and the lamb will feed together” (Isaiah 65:25).
He then sends us into a divided world, armed with His glory. “As you sent me into this world, I also have sent them into the world…that the world may know that you sent me” (John 17:18, 23). Yeshua, the Prince of Peace, has appointed us as His ambassadors of true reconciliation and of the unity that flows from the heart of God.
This article originally appeared in the Oasis newsletter, January 2021, and reposted with permission.