When Jesus was in the Upper Room, He left His disciples with critical lessons to take with them on their individual journeys to make disciples, planting and pastoring churches, etc. Jesus knew their temptation and fleshly desire would be to run off on their own whim and do their own thing. Jesus knew they would be tempted to do things in their own power and without support and accountability of the church.
So, Jesus prayed for His disciples (and us) in this manner –
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:20-26).
Jesus desired unity for His disciples and for the church today.
Unity is possible. In the name of Christ, as we have learned, unity can happen in a church. Christ would pray for something that is not possible.
Unity is never automatic. Sin will disrupt it every chance it gets. Thus, unity is going to take effort. It is going to take patience. It is going to take forgiveness. It is going to take putting aside your own agenda(s).
Unity comes with maturity. The example of unity should be set by the leaders of the church but it can and should be followed by the people. God establishes high standards for leaders so he can give the people to aspire to become … especially in their unity.
If we are divided we will fall; if united, we will represent Christ to the world and win people into His kingdom.