Of all the flowers that God created, the Sunflower is probably the most fascinating. Did you know that when they are growing and developing, they literally follow the sun? Even after it has set, for all 360 degrees of the sun’s path around the earth, a sunflower stays oriented to the sun. The video above illustrates this phenomena. Can you imagine the unity of a whole field of sunflowers, all oriented to the sun? As believers, we can show this same kind of unity by our orientation to “the Son”.
The third chunk of Jesus’ prayer for His disciples, is specifically first for His Church, as he states in v 20 ““I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word…” and also for the world.
He asks that:
- His disciples be one (unity), as He is one with the Father
- the world (seeing the unity of the church) may believe that the Father has sent the Son
- His disciples would be with Him where He is
- His disciples would see His glory
- the world would know Him and experience His love
I don’t know about you, but this part of Jesus’ prayer is humbling and encouraging, and overwhelming all rolled up into one emotion. If my connection with fellow believers testifies to the unbelieving world that God sent Jesus, I feel a certain amount of self-expectation and pressure to be faithful. I want to imitate and please the Lord, but there is a conflict in my spirit at times, because I don’t always feel “one” with my brothers and sisters; not only do we fail to be on the same page, but often it feels like we aren’t even in the same library…and to be honest, some days I don’t even want to. There are some in my spiritual family that challenge me greatly in this area (sometimes, they even share my living space with me). It is especially convicting to be reminded that how I react to them is a witness to an unbelieving world of my oneness with Christ, and His oneness with the Father.
We have the opportunity…and the responsibility to participate in the answer to this part of Jesus’ prayer. Jesus said that the world would know we are followers of Him by the love that we have for one another, and here He says that by seeing our oneness, the world can experience God’s love. Does the world see our love for one another? Does the world see a difference in the way we treat others? Do our lives as believers orient to the Son:
- In purpose?
- In fellowship?
- In bearing one another’s burdens?
- In love?
What about in areas of disagreements, personality conflicts, or doctrinal differences? How does the world see us when things are not easy? If my unbelieving neighbor or unsaved friend doesn’t see love in my life, or if they see me in habitual conflict with those around me, I have failed in my personal responsibility as a disciple of Christ to seize the opportunity to introduce and orient them to God, and fulfill the Great Commission of His Son.
Like that field of sunflowers, we experience unity only if we are all focused on the same external point of reference. We can accomplish this by joining in prayer with Jesus prayer for us, as we pray for one another in agreement with His will for His body on earth.
Being a “Son follower” not only will be a testimony of God’s love to a world looking for authenticity and truth, but also allows us to catch a glimpse of His glory, as Jesus prayed we would.