Paul emphasizes unity so much we have to wonder why it’s so important. What’s at risk? Is it really that big a deal? So what if we have some divisions in the Church – aren’t we all still preaching the Gospel, encouraging the saints, winning souls, and in the end, glorifying Christ? Why take so much time on this when there’s a world to be won?
Again, worthy questions. Let’s get our answer from the Lord Himself.
We Christians speak often of the passion of Christ. When we do we usually mean the entire experience of His humiliation, torture, death, burial, and resurrection. I would like to rewind a bit and focus in on the hours before He was betrayed. There’s a passion consuming the mind of Christ that burns itself onto the pages of Scripture. Embers kindled in that same fire glow in some of the passages we’ve cited and others we have yet to cite. This passion is recorded in John 17, a passage known to many as The High Priestly Prayer of Christ.
It was after Judas had departed the upper room table on his desperate errand and before Jesus and the disciples entered Gethsemane that Jesus stopped, most likely on the crest of the hill that descends into the Kidron valley, and prayed. His prayer is the outpouring of eternal desire and immeasurable affection. It is a window into the great heart of God. It is the crystallization of the intimate thoughts of the Godhead as they commune together on the night before the most horrific schism ever to occur. It is the craving of Christ in the hours before He would be separated from perfect Love and bear alone the sin of the world.
What would the Lord of Glory possibly be thinking at that hour? What burned so brightly in His mind and heart that it burst out for all eternity to read and experience? What were the last words of a Man soon to be murdered by those He had not many years previous fashioned with His own hands? Are they important? Are they powerful and life altering? Are they worthy of deep meditation? Some say a man’s final words are the most important he ever speaks. What about these closing words of the God-Man? Granted, they are not the final words of Christ on earth but they are the final words of Christ to the Father concerning the Church and spoken in the hearing of the Apostles.
Take a few moments to read John 17. Perhaps you have some time to truly meditate on the passage. What do you hear Jesus praying? What are His impassioned supplications? What is He asking the Father to do? More on this later...