When Jesus prayed in John 17:20-23, He was seeking to encourage His followers to live as a united community, maintaining a culture of peace. Recently, all Kuyper staff completed PeaceWise training with a view to rolling out an ongoing learning program across the school that fosters peace in relationships.
We are not doing this because we have noticed any extraordinary unrest or disharmony, but rather because we want to further a faithful response to the biblical mandate of peace with God and peace with each other.
My prayer is not for them alone. 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. 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—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.John 17:20-23
Building and maintaining a culture of peace is important and worthy of our time and energy. There are reasons why Jesus made this a focus of His prayer.
Jesus knew that the community of people would be made up of natural enemies. Jesus prays for unity because he knows that one of the greatest threats to the community is that people take their eyes off the gospel that unites, and look back to ethnic and cultural differences. Or in our case differences in; non-core belief, baptism, vaccination, perceived understanding, interests, financial wellbeing, where we live… By being unified, we show the power and priority of the gospel in our lives.
Jesus prays for unity, because in unity, we reflect the nature of God. Through our relationship with each other we reflect the nature of who God is: three in one.
Through unity we make Christ known.D.A. Carson (paraphrased)
For these excellent reasons we will continue to foster peace in our community. We plan to embark on a PeaceWise learning journey throughout the coming year. My prayer at the first School Assembly for the year went like this:
Our gracious Father. Thank you for sustaining us over the past 40 years as a school. Thank you for what you have done in students’ lives who have come to Kuyper. We ask you to bless the people of this community this year with understanding and wisdom. Lord may we understand more deeply your grace and mercy and your sovereign rule over the universe. May it help us respond to each other with kindness, respect and peace. We ask for protection over coming weeks especially confronting COVID. We know that nothing surprises You. Lord we put our trust in You again this year. We pray these things in the mighty name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.
I trust you will pray with us this year, seeking to put Jesus in His rightful place as King. He is the One who can make true peace possible between God and mankind and peace among all people.