17:21 says, "That they all may be one..."
Today I would like to take
up another aspect of the Lord’s Supper.
There are two fundamental
needs in the life of every person. One is the need to be an
individual; to learn to stand on one's own feet. We can never be
responsible member of a community until we are first of all an
Our Need to be a Member of a Family
But there is another need
equally as important. It is to learn to be a member of a family or
community. This is very important for each one of us for we belong
to a very close family, that is, the family of God.
Jesus Himself was very much
an individual yet He was a member of a family also, and that is the
kind of relationship He must have had with the disciples.
The burden of Jesus' prayer
following the Last Supper with the disciples was "that they all may
be one." That is why He had come; without it His kingdom would fail.
He sought to bring men together into a brotherhood they had never
known before; into a close family relationship men had never dreamed
It is very important that we
should understand that Jesus had not come to save men by snatching
one up from here, another from there.
The Kingdom of God is not
made up of individuals but a family of God; a congregation of people
who are bound to God by the closest tie, and who are just as closely
bound to Christ.
Just as an individual does
not lose his individuality in the family so it is with those who
become one with God and Christ.
Jesus recognized in the
lives of men and women there is a deep hunger and thirst to know and
to be known, to love and be loved, to feel oneself to be a part of
A well known doctor made a
study of a thousand people who and committed or attempted suicide.
He listed some facts about each one and put these facts together.
One thing that stood out and that was that those who did not have
any strong ties to other persons or group of person were most likely
to commit suicide.
He also discovered that a
Protestant is more likely to commit suicide than a Catholic or Jew,
since Protestants do not have the same sense of “belonging," or
being members of a larger community of faith, as do Catholics and
A Need for Friendship or Fellowship
One of the deep hungers in
every human being is for fellowship, or friendship and friendly
During the Christmas
holidays we spent a week in Hobart camping in a caravan park and
traveling on day trips to various places. One of those trips was to
Port Arthur, and we joined a conducted tour of the ruins. The guide
told us of the floggings the convicts were given, but far worse was
the solitary confinement, for in pitch darkness the man had to stand
alone. Few of us would be able to stand that for very long.
A Desire to Live Happily Together
Deep in our souls we desire
to live together happily. False pride, stubbornness, resentment, an
unforgiving spirit, often builds up a barrier that separates us from
not only our own flesh and blood family but our heavenly family.
"Keep together!" said Jesus,
and He prayed, "Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom
thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are."
How sad that because of our
waywardness this prayer has not been fulfilled as Jesus would have
wished it to be.
Hundreds, yes thousands have
lost that togetherness, that heavenly family relationship. That is
why it is so important that on this solemn occasion as we celebrate
together the Lord's Supper we should consider this aspect of
Difficulties in Achieving Togetherness
Almost the first words that
a small child learns to say "I," “me,” “mine.” Many people are never
able to learn to say “us” or “our” with any sincerity or conviction.
They never get beyond “me”, “my job,” “my house,” “my wife,” “my
children,” “my town.”
This reveals that that
person has failed in the task of becoming individuals and can never
achieve real membership in a community.
It often shows up in our
church relationship, for you will find church members who become
very parochial. Their church, wherever that church may be becomes
"my church," and they lose sight of the fact that they are members
of the universal church of God. (The Catholic Church means World
One of the biggest problems
the missionaries face is to get the people to recognize this family
relationship. For instance, Fiji, where the Fijians dislike the
Indians so intensely.
It was not intentional that
Jesus when asked to teach His disciples to pray should have told
them, "When you pray, say, Our Father…our daily bread…our debts.”
Unless we can live together
right here in our church at …. (a town in Tasmania) there is no use
of us trying to live together in Heaven.
I read an interesting
statement in a book. A barefoot man makes a poor shoe salesman.
That We All May Be One
"I pray," said Jesus, "that
they all may be one." We must be one. It is only as we see the
implications of this statement of Jesus and make it a reality in our
lives that we can become part of God's great family.
One of the supreme tragedies
of the world, a kind of miscarriage of the truth, that the Gospel of
Jesus Christ should be a source of division instead of union.
(Ireland Protestant/Catholic) Often the case is that instead of
uniting men it divides them.
Because the Hebrews missed
and obscured the truth that we were meant to be a community, a
family of God; they forfeited the right to be the apostles of
salvation to the entire world.
"Have we not all one father?
cried the prophet. "Hath not one God created us? Why do we deal
treacherously every man against his brother?" But he cried in vain,
even as did another prophet and Saviour centuries later when He said
weeping, "0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem ... how often would I have gathered
thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under
her wings, and ye would not.”
Getting Right With Our Fellow Men
We have often thought of
salvation as man getting right with God but Jesus said that it is
also a man getting right with his fellow man.
Not only the thief on the
cross, but also the prodigal son returning home; is the complete
picture of Salvation as Jesus taught it.
So when Zaccheus saw God
through Christ he said, "Lord the half of my goods I give to the
poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false
accusation, I restore him fourfold."
How often have we missed the
truth that we are saved only as we are saved in relation to others.
Church Meant to be the Family of God
The church, the fellowship
of those who know God through Christ, was never meant to be a
collection of individuals only lightly held together in an
It was meant to be a
congregation of souls who know themselves to be the family of God.
“A colony of heaven,” as Paul put it. The measuring rod of
discipleship is "that we love one another, as I have loved you."
"That they all may be one."
Let us take the Supper
together today with this prayer of the Lord ringing in our hearts.
Let us be conscious of the
spiritual presence with us of our brothers and sisters in Christ who
love the same Lord in sincerity and truth.