Christ’s High Priestly Prayer
When people look at the Church worldwide I often wonder what they really see. I wonder, is the unity Christ died to achieve truly being displayed? Through the ages the Church has failed to demonstrate unity effectively, making the mistake of cloning one another into a ‘cookie-cutter’ type fashion by demanding sameness. It has never worked. We have been notoriously divided by denomination, race and national origin, to name a few. These divisions have both hindered and prevented the Body of Christ from fulfilling the perfect will of God on earth as it is in heaven. Many have been wounded. And yes, many have been lost, being turned away from the Gospel. Division was never God’s design, and because of this, the Body of Christ has not reached its optimal divine potential. If we are to demonstrate the love of Christ to the world as He commanded and intended, unity must be represented within that love. In fact, unity is at its very center. It defines it. The command to love one another cannot be fulfilled apart from unity (see John 15 & 17). Without discounting the many triumphs of the Church, sadly, history gives us a glaring picture of division and strife which is contrary to the loving unity Christ commanded.
Thankfully, that is rapidly changing. God is moving powerfully across the globe in these last days across all denominational, racial and national lines, breaking down man-made barriers and creating a unified Body that is powerful, which will accomplish His will in the earth as it is in heaven. When each member of His Body embraces the other members in their inherent diversity, unity is achieved as God designed, and the Body becomes whole. Each of us are free to become who God created us to be, fulfilling our ordained purpose and completing our assigned tasks.
Of all the things I could talk with you about, I want to talk about unity, otherwise known as ‘yachad’, which is one of the foundational principles in this ministry. God is prophetically fulfilling biblical yachad in His Church before His return as outlined in Ephesians 2:11-22 in accordance with Christ’s prayer in John 17.
Unity in Christ’s Body is absolutely paramount. It ranks incredibly high on God’s list. It’s right up there with faith, hope and love. Among all God’s principles, you will find that Christ Jesus is emboldened and passionate about unity, and for very good reasons. And it has nothing to do with sameness. Unity is about oneness.
Let’s talk about how that oneness was accomplished. The unity Christ died to achieve was perfected in His work on the cross, wherein there is no longer Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female (see Ephesians 2:11-22 & Galatians 3:28). As individual believers we must respect that work He achieved, endeavoring to preserve and cultivate it. It is imperative as Gentile believers that we understand what Christ accomplished for us: we are now ingrafted branches with Israel (see Romans 9-11), being partakers of the same covenant promises, rights, and blessings they have. There is no longer a division. In Christ we are all marvelously integrated. Therefore, the truth of God’s word must be embraced as absolute with a proper understanding of our Hebraic roots, which originate in Judaism, and with an understanding of our true identity conceived in heaven: We are the Father’s children and we are Christ’s bride. Indeed, salvation is of the Jews, just as Christ declared.
Unity is at the very center of Christ’s heart for His Body (His Bride). It is precisely what allows the Body to function properly and perform God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. As Psalm 133 states, unity is prerequisite for the blessing and anointing of God to be fully released. In Christ’s high priestly prayer in John 17, which He prayed just prior to His death, we see the passionate heart-cry of our Bridegroom revealed. His transparent desire for the oneness and unity born out of pure love reflects the perfect will of God. This prayer also reveals the ultimate achieved end of His work on the cross, which He was about to perform: a beautiful oneness and unity among an incredible diversity of believers worldwide. The Body of Christ will only be effective to the degree that it is unified. Each member is a unique and necessary part and performs a specific, strategic role. Anything that hinders that unity, such as offense, unforgiveness, bitterness, dissension and the like , Christ strictly commands us to overcome through repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation.
The Covenant of Marriage
To achieve this unity, Christ has established a marriage covenant with His people through His sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension. He has paid the bride price by purchasing us with His own blood, is currently preparing a place for us in heaven, and He will come again to take us home where we will dwell with Him for all eternity. At that time the marriage supper of the Lamb will be celebrated, and the marriage covenant will be fully consummated. In this consummation Christ will again drink the fruit of the vine with His bride as He did at the last supper.
Marriage is designed by God to achieve oneness. This distinction alone sets marriage apart from every other human relationship. It has an inherent power no other has been given, evidenced by the ability to create new life wherein two shall become one flesh. With this being said, unity and intimacy are the hallmarks of marriage. Marriage is a covenant relationship ordained and established by God that is sacred, holy, beautiful, and extraordinarily powerful. Marriage is the most intimate relationship God has created, being superior to all other human relationships, and therefore God calls us to revere and esteem it in the highest honor. It is the only relationship which God does not permit us to leave. The marriage relationship succinctly reveals the mystery of Christ and His Bride (see Ephesians 5:32) which is eternal. With this being said, the marriage covenant Christ has with His Body offers a unity and intimacy that are unparalleled through the miraculous indwelling and baptism of His Holy Spirit. A mature Christian will both seek and graduate toward deeper things. Nominal Christianity will no longer satisfy, and it’s not supposed to. And so we are called not only to a powerful and intimate unity with Christ, but with one another. We were created for a deep, satisfying, fulfilling relationship with Jesus Christ and the members of His Body. The unified Body of Christ will produce exponential fruit. It will birth and multiply, creating new life in Him through the seed of His everlasting word. Souls will be born again into the kingdom. This proliferation of new life can only happen through intimacy with Christ and unity among the brethren. When we begin to walk in Christ with an understanding of these truths, our vision becomes clear, our walk with God is transformed, and we are enabled to go deeper and be more effective within the Body of Christ at large which is comprised of every nation, tribe and tongue. We are all joined by the covenant of His blood through His Spirit. There is one LORD, one Body, one Spirit, and one baptism (see Romans 12:4, 5 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
This glorious bride Christ is preparing for Himself is one without spot or wrinkle, being completely unified with the distinctions of culture, race, national origin, and ethnicity being preserved. We can no longer tolerate division. If there is one word to describe it, it’s yachad. Yachad is Hebrew for ‘unitedness’ or ‘togetherness’. That is the vision the Lord has for His bride. We must begin to embrace the incredible beauty of our differences and our diversities, making them our strengths instead of our weaknesses, allowing God to purify us as vessels of honor.
The Divine Purpose of Diversity
In no way does unity mean sameness. God specializes in diversity throughout creation. Every fingerprint, snowflake, and DNA strand is wholly unique. Every one of us bring something to the kingdom of God that no one else can duplicate. Each individual is absolutely necessary for the function of the Body, and every member of the Body is precious, being fearfully and wonderfully made. Part of that fear and wonder in each individual is that they absolutely cannot be replicated in body, soul or spirit. It is an impossibility. It is imperative that we appreciate and celebrate our brothers and sisters worldwide, giving them the grace to be who they are in Christ, allowing them room to grow and develop, nurturing them and encouraging them in their individual walk. We all have something very special to contribute. We all have a perspective and vantage point no one else has. We all have individual assignments and gifts; spheres and platforms. We cannot survive alone. We’re all at different places in the Lord. And that’s okay. We’re supposed to be. We’re on the same journey, and we desperately need each other – in ways we don’t even realize until God painfully reveals to us our own deficits.
We look for miracles, and while God is ready and able to perform them, He often chooses to meet many of our needs through His Body. This is strategic, bringing unity and interdependence. The inherent diversity in His Body allows for incredible potential. It’s precisely through this diversity that He fills in all the gaps, and we as His Body become whole.
We each have a hand God has dealt us with specific gifts and unmet needs. None of us are playing with a full deck. We each have our hand in the pot. God has strategically created and placed each believer. We need each other. Interdependence is something Christ demonstrated, taught, and cultivated. When we are closed to this marvelous integrated unity we cut off God’s circuit of supply to us. The proverbial blood-flow of Christ is lost to that precious member. As a result there is needless suffering and loss that can be detrimental. When we are open to that diversity, we thrive, and become the powerful force Christ has purposed us to be.
The Key to Wholeness
Unity begins with love. Walking in love in the very least means respect and acceptance. No one is insignificant. We’re doing this kingdom thing together. None are exempt. That is the key. If we’re going to make it to the end, and be found standing firm, that key is one we must cherish at our very center. It unlocks the mysteries of the kingdom (see Ephesians 5:32). Christ not only prayed for that unity – He demands it. He died for it. It’s our covenant blessing.
A unified Bride was the joy set before Him. We are His inheritance, even as He is our Reward.
Cheers & Shalom,