John 15 & 17
“Radical equality”, as we talked about last time, is not truly possible without “divine mutuality”. This is what Jesus talks about in John 15 with Vine and branch imagery–to be so very intertwined…with God.
In His prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus prays for Himself, His disciples, and for those who will become His disciples (us!), and this is all held together by unity.
But not just any unity.
The unity of Divine Mutuality.
This is unity at its deepest level because it is based in God. Jesus prays that we will be able to reach that oneness, the oneness that He has with the Father. Many preach that John 17 is advocating unity with one another, but a more careful reading reveals that Jesus is speaking of union with the Father, which yields unity with one another, if it is Christ, as He really is, whom we are truly seeking. Branches on the same Vine are inescapably unified.
This kind of cosmic, radical unity, this oneness, is as Logos and Father are one [John 1:1-18]. Again, this is not just any ol’ run of the mill unity here. Unity doesn’t really come to fruition through our striving to be unified with one another, for that gets chaotic and breaks down very quickly. As A. W. Tozer so wisely said, “Don’t you know that a hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically in tune with each other?” It is in tuning our hearts in all sincerity, honesty, humility, receptivity, and openness to the Christ, the Son of God, that we will then be unified with others who are seeking the same. The Spirit in us will recognize the Spirit in them, and we will be one, aligned with each another at the soul-level of connection…without much striving.
This is how we can disagree, and yet be in unity. I have dear Christian brothers and sisters with whom we do not see eye to eye on several issues, but we are at the same time unified because of our pursuit of oneness with God through Jesus of Nazareth.
It’s connection beyond words, because it’s better than words.