Summary: A sermon for the 7th Sunday of Easter Part of Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer
7th Sunday of Easter
John 17: 20-26
"We are One with the Spirit"
"I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me. I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."" John 17:20-26, RSV.
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, the risen Christ. Amen
There is a song that our young people sing that really fits the text for today. The text for today is part of Jesus’ farewell prayer where Jesus prays for his disciples before he leaves the, His prayer is about unity, about all of us being one in Christ.
So the song they young people sing goes like this:
"We are one in the Spirit, We are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, We are one in the Lord,
And we pray that ll unity may one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love."
He says in john 17: 21 "that they may all be one; even 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."
Jesus and the Father are one and the disciples and those who may believe may be one in us. Jesus plus the Father plus those who believe equal one. One!! We are all one in the body of Christ.
Just think, we are all one today in the body of Christ. One. One leader, one person in charge, Jesus Christ. Jesus knew something that we sometimes forget. We need someone in charge. We need to have someone that everyone can turn to.
We need more than a committee. Jesus knew that the 12 disciples needed someone to be in charge. Someone had to be the leader. And that leader was Him.
There could not be one chosen successor to Jesus. His message had to go forth. It had to go forth as a light in the darkness, as a gift in a world sorely lacking in love. It was the message of Jesus, told in his words, in the story of his life. A single successor might be deified, might become the focal point for all the love and faith people had for Jesus. And so, 12 disciples, 12 teachers, 12 messengers, 12 men who would be cowering, hiding behind locked doors, fearing for their lives, silenced.
A committee can never win the hearts of people.
A committee can never inspire passion.
A committee can never lead as a light shining in the darkness.
They needed to be one, they needed to support each other, they needed to remind each other of the story of faith. When one falters another is there to support. When one falls, another is there to stand in the breach and to pick up their fallen comrade.
Dietrick Bonhoeffer says in his book "Life Together":
" God has willed that we should seek and find His living Word in the witness of a brother/sister, in the mouth of a man/ woman. Therefore, the Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him/her. He/she needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself without belying their truth. He needs his brother man as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation. He needs his brother solely because of Jesus Christ. The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the word of his brother, his own heart is uncertain, his brother’s is sure."
This is a picture of what God wants people in the body of Christ to do for others as they grow in faith. In fact, all of us need more that a committee to strength our faith, we need the person sitting right next store. For in that person the love of Christ abides and then that person shares that faith.