“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”
King James Version (KJV)
17:21 As thou art in me - This also is to be understood in a way of similitude, and not of sameness or equality. That the world may believe - Here Christ prays for the world. Observe the sum of his whole prayer, Receive me into thy own and my glory; Let my apostles share therein; And all other believers: And let all the world believe.
Joh 17:21 That they all may be one; . . . that they also may be one in us. This is a prayer for the unity of the saints. The Lord all through this discourse has shown the intimate union between the Father and himself. The Father is in him and he in the Father, all that is the Father's is his, and his is the Father's. They have no separate will, kingdom, or interests. Such a union is demanded among the disciples of Christ. Such union is impossible while they are divided into various denominations, with separate work, property and interests, separate churches, colleges, papers and missions. Denominationalism is utterly opposed to this prayer, and every apologist for it is disloyal to the spirit of the prayer. Nor is it fulfilled in any church where there are factions, where "all are not perfectly joined together, of the same mind and the same judgment" (1Co 1:10). If Christ abides in the heart, the one life will draw all who have Christ formed within them into the family. This unity is needful, and for it the Lord prays, That the world may believe that thou hast sent me. It must be a union that the world can see and recognize. It is therefore an organic union, one Body as there is one Lord. There is no other source of skepticism so fruitful as church quarrels and sectarian divisions.