By Scot Thigpen
The hour has come to learn UNITY
If you had only one more day to live, what would it look like? We probably have all had this question posed at some point and given it some consideration. It is a question that teases out the answer to what is most important in life. It reveals what you care about the most.
In the gospel of John, Jesus looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come…” The Last Supper discourse has always been very intriguing to me. These last hours that Jesus would spend with his disciples give us a wide-open look at the heart of God. He reveals these deep passions as he prays for three things.
First, that he would be glorified so that he could glorify the Father.
Next, he prays for his disciples. Jesus prays that they may be one as he and the Father are one. He prays for their protection. He prays for their sanctification by the truth, which is God’s word.
And lastly, he prays for those who would believe in Jesus through the message from the disciples. You know who he is praying for there? Believers. Followers of Christ. Christians. In short, he is praying for his church. He prays that “all of them may be one.”
There was obviously a purpose for this desired complete unity. And we see it in John 17: 23, “Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” If a poll was taken which asked if you thought the church had reached this desired unity that Jesus so earnestly prayed for, how would you vote? The words to a favorite song, often taught in Vacation Bible Schools, remind us that all believers are all part of the church and are called to unity.
I am the church! You are the church!
We are the church together!
All who follow Jesus,
all around the world!
Yes, we’re the church together!
We’re many kinds of people,
with many kinds of faces,
all colors and all ages, too,
from all times and places.
Sometimes the church is marching,
sometimes it’s bravely burning,
sometimes it’s riding, sometimes hiding;
always it’s learning.
Are we really still learning? I certainly hope so because it can be a scary place when people think they have all the answers.
That verse of the song that says the church is always learning really catches my attention as I reflect on Jesus prayer for the church. He prays for sanctification for believers. That is a continual process of learning and obeying the Father’s will. I just wonder what would change if there was complete unity.
Do you see places where this desired unity does not seem to exist? Think for a moment why that is. I am curious if every instance is because something is out of whack with the Father’s will. We know God’s will. It has been revealed in His holy Word and in Jesus’. Ask the questions. Am I seeking first and only the will of God? Am I open to learning new revelations from the Word? Am I surrendering anything that opposes the will of God in my life? Has Jesus’ prayer been answered in your local church?
If not, maybe the hour has come.
Scot Thigpen is president of The Thigpen Group, a Wealth Advisory Firm in Jackson, MS. He is married to the former Kimberly Inkster and they are parents of two sons and attend Christ United Methodist Church. Contact Scot at firstname.lastname@example.org.