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 you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.
(John 17:11 NIV)

When I grew up, denominations were a BIG thing.  This group didn’t talk to that group.  I suppose that was “better,” since during the reformation, they were killing one another.  Oneness and unity were pipe dreams.  The only time we really thought of a unified church was during the end times when there would be the “One World Church” that was so watered down that it completely denied the truth of the gospel.

The other day I was thumbing through some old journals from back in the 70’s and 80’s.  In there, I found a prophetic word given at a convention in which the Lord was calling His church to repentance.  Here is a short section of that prophecy.

“My people, because I love you, I want to reveal My mind to you, and give you My understanding.  I want to make a new brotherhood among you.  I want to knit you together and form you together in bonds of deep love and commitment to one another…  I want to weave you together in a way that you are not together now.”

We know that this is in the heart of Jesus and Father God, but how is this possible?  Holy Spirit has revealed truths to His people, but not all accept them in the same way.

For example, Martin Luther “discovered” the scripture in Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

We can never be “good enough” to deserve heaven.  Salvation is through faith in the saving work of Jesus on the cross.

The Calvinists “discovered” the truth that God chose us first.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (Ephesians 1:4-6)

Not understanding that BOTH are true, this became two different, conflicting sides.  The same is true of all the other denominations.  Each one believes they are the most right.

So how can we all be one, as Jesus prayed?  It sounds like an impossible task.  It reminds me of a question I heard a long time ago.  “If God is all-powerful, can He make a round square?”  Kind of a silly question, but is a unified Jesus-centered church even imaginable?

Let’s look at the story of the man with the withered hand who Jesus healed, on the Sabbath, in the synagogue, purposely where the Jewish leaders could see Him.  Do you think He was trying to tell them something?

On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there.

Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”

He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.  (Luke 6:6-11)

As I have been praying to anoint the Body of Christ, as Jesus has asked, this story of Him healing the withered hand has really spoken to me about our being one in Christ.

When Jesus healed the man’s hand, he healed it all – the muscles, the nerves, the sinews, the bones – all of it.  For the man to stretch out his hand, some muscles had to contract.  Others had to relax.  The man had to hear Jesus, and understand Him.  This happens in the head – the ears and the brain.  The nerves in the hand were also healed so they could respond to the instructions from the brain – the head.

We, the Body of Christ, are all different parts.  Here is what Paul tells us in I Corinthians.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

When Jesus healed the man’s hand, THE HAND FUNCTIONED AS ONE UNIT!  Different parts working together as one!

“Holy Father, I am about to leave this world
to return and be with you,
but my disciples will remain here.
Holy Father, each one that you have given me,
keep them in your name so that they will be united
as one, even as we are one.

John 17:11 (TPT)

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