“Dear woman, here is your son; here is your mother.” –John 19:26–27
“All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:10–11 ESV)
The picture Jesus paints in His prayer to the Father is one of the unification of the saints under one banner, the name of the Most High God. One way to describe this oneness is as a unity of vision and purpose. The best example of this is seen in Acts 2 and again in Acts 4, where all of the believers were united and shared everything they had with one another so that none would go without. They worshipped together and grew in number as the apostles preached the radical truth of Jesus resurrected. Yet it only took until Acts 5 for the first visible signs of the fallen nature of man to be manifest among them.
Ananias and Sapphira were members of the fellowship who saw that others were selling property to provide for those in need and decided to do the same, but rather than give all of the money to the apostles for them to distribute, they kept some for themselves, yet claimed they gave it all away. They wanted to be unified with the rest of the church but weren’t willing to make the full sacrifice. It can be easy to look at the failure of the people who made up the first church and despair at our hope for today. The intervening years between then and now seems to have only added to the dissonance. Yet, when we look forward to the age to come, we see a vision of “a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb,” worshiping God together as one (Revelation 7:9).
If we are to pray as Jesus instructed—“on earth, as it is in heaven”—we should be seeking the unity of the saints in the here and now and not simply wait for the age to come. Spend time in prayer asking God to reveal to you if there is a segment of your life where your fallen nature is being manifest rather than the Holy Spirit; allow God to show you if there is anything in your heart that is preventing you from being fully united with your brothers and sisters in Christ.