“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them.” (John 17:6-9a)
During these past few years, there has been an increasing rise in the predominance of the media, fueled in large part by the restrictions imposed on us by the pandemic. We have been deluged with messages and slogans by the government, activists, celebrities, journalists, and various corporate entities to stand together in unity so we can fight racism, climate change, COVID and take up the cause of the rights of individuals to be whoever they want to be. The idea is that only as we stand together can we defeat the evils of this world.
While we should be aware of how our behavior affects others and should tend to the needs of those who are vulnerable and hurting, the unity that many people seek promote through the media, academia, and the public arena, is an elusive dream. Due to conflicting opinions, political ideologies, religions and lifestyles, Americans are not united. True unity exists only among those who have faith in Jesus.
On the night Jesus before Jesus was crucified, He prayed for this unity. He had finished His teaching to His disciples. He had exhorted them to remain faithful. Then Jesus presented His final words as a prayer which is often called His High Priestly prayer, for here He acted as intercessor with the Father. He asked for strength for Himself that He glorify the Father by carrying out the onerous task of redeeming mankind by dying on the cross. He asked for courage and faith for the disciples that none of them would fall away though they would be sorely tested. He prayed also for all who would believe in Him because of the message of the disciples. That means you and me. He prayed that we might share the unity He has with the Father.
The prayer Jesus prayed is answered and accomplished by the Holy Spirit working in and through the Church. Thus the true unity which many seek but cannot find is found not in national identity, shared ethnicity, language, or culture, but only in those who are one in Christ. Because we are one with Him, we are one with each other. Therefore, rather than fall under the lure of media persuasion, we should walk in the unity we already possess by faith in Christ. Then we will truly share the love of Jesus with everyone for His glory.