In His high priestly prayer, Jesus prays that His church would be a community where love rules all relationships. A community that would guard its unity by loving others well (17:21,23, 26). The church is to be a unified community where love is lived out purposefully in relationships. The church should be made up of people who are so filled with the love of Jesus that they are empowered to love others well.
John 17:26 says, “I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” This should encourage us greatly in this endeavor. He says that the loe that the Father has for Him will also be in us. Thus, love will rule our relationships to the degree that we personally experience the love of Christ for us. “God… loved us even as He loved His Son.”
What naturally tends to rule our relationships? Our pride, our selfishness and our own desires. What does it look like when love rules our relationships?
When love rules our marriage… men do whatever it takes to have eyes for only one woman – your wife. Wives, you do everything you can to honor and encourage your husband… not control and manipulate him.
If Jesus desires that his church to become a community where love rules all relationships, it is imperative that we assess two things:
Do I have significant relationships with others in the body of Christ? Christianity is not a solitary faith. Our faith cannot be lived in solitude.
Secondly, are these relationships characterized by the love of Christ? Our marriages, our relationship with our kids, our extended family, our friendships. Are we sacrificially serving the interests and needs of others and not just looking out for our own?
John Milne: “Every time we gather together we either strengthen or weaken the evangelistic appeal of our church by the quality of our relationships with our fellow church members.”
The result of love ruling our relationships will be unity (John 17:20–23) Four times Jesus prays that his followers may be one. He was clearly concerned that they be united. Why do you think Jesus is so concerned with unity in the portion of His prayer? What is the difference between unity and uniformity? How do you balance God‘s stated desire for unity and truth? What examples of unity among God’s people come to mind when you hear Jesus’ words for us today?
What is the purpose of unity in the church? Evangelistic… That the world may know that the Father sent the Son… believe…