Care to take a guess at what the most visited object is among the 8 million artifacts belonging to the world famous British Museum? It’s a stone: 45 inches high, 28 inches wide, and 11 inches thick. It was named after the region in which it was discovered, and we know it today as the Rosetta Stone. It records a decree of Ptolemy V, pharaoh of Egypt in 196 BC, written in three languages: hieroglyphics, known as the language of the gods; an ancient Egyptian script known as the language of documents; and the language of the Greeks (who conquered the Egyptians) that was used for official information.
Centuries later, when Napoleon’s army discovered this stone, it quickly became apparent that our knowledge of the Greek language could be the key to deciphering the previously untranslatable ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. This unlocked their mystery forever. Ever since, the phrase “Rosetta Stone” has become a metaphor for an important clue that helps us understand something difficult or complex.
Unity in Understanding
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. (John 17:20–21)
The Scriptures tell us that God took on flesh in the person of Jesus and revealed the great love of the Father for us through his perfect life, substitutionary death, and resurrection to everlasting life. His life flawlessly demonstrated the holy, powerful, merciful, and compassionate heart of the Father. Jesus, if you will, was the Rosetta Stone of God the Father, explaining who he was and his great love for us, his enemies.
Now in John 17, as Jesus prepares to finish his work of salvation and return to the Father, he prays that our lives would become living Rosetta Stones so that people would see the unmistakable evidences of the life of Christ in us, drawing them to belief in the gospel. Jesus prays that our lives, transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, would shout loudly that the Father sent the Son to win our salvation and now Jesus has come to live in us who believe.
But make no mistake, the unity that the glory of God produces isn’t a kind of warm fuzzy ‘Kumbaya’ moment around a campfire. Rather, God’s glory produces passion in us to live our lives on his mission to establish his kingdom.
Unity in Passion
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. (John 17:22–23)
Jesus prays for us that the manifestation of God’s glory in him and all who believe would begin to heal the division, fracture, and separation that were produced in the world by sin. As God’s glory comes to rule and reign in our hearts, his kingdom is established and the restoration of all things takes hold more and more.
But make no mistake, the unity that the glory of God produces isn’t a kind of warm fuzzy “Kumbaya” moment around a campfire. Rather, God’s glory produces passion in us to live our lives on his mission to establish his kingdom. Living, loving, and sharing the good news that God has sent his Son to die for our sin in our place is what establishes and advances God’s kingdom and rule as a blessing to all peoples and nations.
Why settle for living in the comfort of familiarity and uniformity, when Jesus invites you to live out of his glory?
Unity in Salvation
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 17:24–26)
In his book Band of Brothers , Stephen Ambrose tells the story of a company of soldiers during World War II who came from different places and walks of life. Initially joined only by their common cause, they faced life and death together which forged them into a band of brothers.
As Christians, it isn’t our own experience of deadly peril that creates our unity, but Christ’s. It is the great love of the Father seen in the sacrifice of his Son for our sin that binds our hearts and lives together for the sake of his glory. King Jesus leads the charge to reclaim the lost, to rescue the captives, and to renew what was ruined. He invites us up into his great mission, forging our hearts together in the power of his love for the lost and deep desire to bring glory to God.
The success of this mission ultimately lies in the hands of Jesus. That’s good news! Because he has invited and enabled us by his Holy Spirit to join his mission, nothing can stand in the way.
Unity in Christ
Sadly though, we often prefer the comfort of familiarity and uniformity to the unity produced by the glory of God. His unity expresses itself in lives lived on his mission, which is often filled with many dangers, toils, and snares. The glory of God shouts that Jesus came, died, and is risen from death. It proclaims the forgiveness of sins, and substantiates the presence and power of God’s new life in us. It continually transforms us into the image of Christ.
Why settle for living in the comfort of familiarity and uniformity, when Jesus invites you to live out of his glory, in unity and mission with the Trinity, together will all your believing brothers and sisters in Christ? This is where the glory of God is made visible. This is the answer to Jesus’ prayer.