The last few moments of a loved one are so precious. During such moments, unless they are unconscious, they will always try to share one last important message to us.
My dad was nearing the end of his struggle with brain cancer. He had miraculously recovered from his initial surgery, and was given the opportunity to set his life in order. But now, three years later, he lay on his deathbed, and he could hardly speak. Nevertheless, seeded deep within was the desire to share one last message. My mother, who was the one fortunate enough to be the recipient of this message, told me that he weakly raised his hand and held up three feeble fingers. He then lowered two of the fingers, but continued to point into the air with one. This was his last message just before he died. I understood his message immediately. You see, once he was gone, our family unit would consist of just three: Myself, my brother, and our mother. He wanted to encourage us to stand united, as one!
Moments before His arrest, Jesus, too, shared what was on His heart. His message? “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name – the name you gave me – so that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:11 NIV)
Jesus’ message was also one of unity, and He knew what unity was all about. In fact, He was part of the most perfect unity of three that will ever be: The Godhead, three in one, each perfectly attuned with the other, always working together in peaceful harmony. Sadly however, the message of unity seems to have become a foreign concept, even in the Christian world!
But is it really all that important?
It was important enough that Jesus repeated it three times in His last prayer for His disciples!
“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21) NIV
“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:22-23 NIV)
That unity was not only important for the community of believers, but even more so for the world. How can the world believe if the followers of the Risen One are constantly bickering with one another?
But then, unless we look to Jesus as our example, we will never truly understand what unity means! Even marriage, which is a sacred commitment, has been disregarded since its inception, now even more than ever.
“This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” (Gen 2:24 New Living Translation)
May we join Jesus in his ardent prayer and obey His deepest desire.
Three in one! I still remember my dad’s last message, and even more importantly, Jesus’ deepest longing.
How will we respond to His prayer?
(To access the entire “Jesus’ Deepest Desires” devotional series, please click here.)