Focus Verse: “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name yoou gave me—so they may be one as we are one.”
John 17:11 (NIV)
This is a passage full of Jesus’ deep thoughts about His disciples.
Jesus prays that He knows God gave Him these men and that they obeyed the Father’s word. The Master prays for them because they belong to God. All things belong to God and to Jesus.
The Master prays they not be taken out of the world but they be protected from the enemy. William Barclay states, “He never prayed they find escape; he prays they find victory.” 1
Jesus prays for their protection and their unity. “so they may be one as we are one.” (Verse 11c) Barclay states, “Where there are divisions, where there is exclusiveness, where there is competition between churches, the cause of Christ is harmed and the prayer of Jesus frustrated.” 2
I once heard a pastor tell a group at a prayer meeting there would be no people of his denomination in heaven. I was confused. Then some of the people in the groups responded, “Just believers.” I learned a lot in hearing that one reply.
Some friends we worshiped with several years later sang a song with their two sons. In the song, it said something like “there aren’t corners labeled with (denominational names).”
I wonder what God thinks when He looks down at earth and sees so many denominations and then groups that claim to have no ties to any denomination. In addition, what does God think when He sees so many theological practices?
Please do not get me wrong, we have relatives and who attend churches of other denominations. Some very close friends have family members who belong to another denomination than the rest of them. These friends belong to different faith groups than the one to which I belong. However, we do not talk about our differences in our beliefs. I am thankful that we all worship the one true God.
1. Daily Study Bible, the Gospel of John vol.2 p.215 © 1975 Westminster Press, Philadelphia.
2. Ibid p.215