Thursday, December 3, 2009

“That they all may be one.” (John 17.20)

New Testament Challenge, Day 19 – John 17-21
As we finish the Gospel of John, and therefore the four Gospels, it comes as both a pleasant reminder and a stern critique that God has a desire for unity in His Church. In the “High Priestly Prayer” of Chapter 17 Christ, in the fashion of the high priestly prayer of the Jewish sacrifice, offers prayers for up to the Father for the Church: “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 have sent Me.” (John 17.20-21) It is a strong possibility that the reason so many people do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Incarnate Word of God is because of the division of the Church of Christ. Some suggest there are over 25,000 denominations of Christianity in the world, each proclaiming themselves as the possessor of the truth. We know this cannot be possible, since truth is truth. Therefore SOMEONE must be correct…

For those searching for Christ and an authentic relationship with Him, they are scandalized when they witness division in the Church. Unfortunately too many people mask this division with so-called differences in interpretation, but truth is truth. This is why the ancient Church worked so diligently to maintain unity. This is one reason the Great Council of Orthodoxy has not yet been called. Some fear that if the Council is called before the issues are resolved, schism would result rather than resolution. Unity is to be preserved! (For information on the Great Council of Orthodoxy see:

So much for the stern critique…

There is also a pleasant reminder in this same call for unity, namely that we are united to God in His Divinity, “as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us.” This means that by God’s grace we mere human beings are granted the ability to be united with the divinity of God in the same fashion as Jesus Christ. In our Baptism and Chrismation we become members of the Body of Christ, and therefore mystically partake of the divine grace of God. There can be no other reading of this passage and that should be joy to our hearts. (2 Peter 1.4)

And that… Good News!

Tomorrow we begin the Acts of the Apostles and begin to see concretely how the ancient Church lived in response to the Gospel of Christ.

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