THE ONENESS FOR WHICH THE LORD PRAYED
Now let us look at the oneness for which the Lord Jesus prayed in John 17. The most important thing is the nature of this oneness. When one buys a suit or an appliance, the most important thing to consider is the substance, for the value depends first on the substance. This chapter is the Lord Jesus’ prayer to the Father, but what is covered concerns His believers. If we study this prayer carefully, it is easy to see that it speaks mainly of glory and also of oneness. But what is glory? What is oneness? Should glory come first, or should oneness come first. This is difficult to determine. I want to explain to you what I comprehend in simple terms so that you may understand.
Verse 1 says, “These things Jesus spoke, and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You.” This is the main subject of the Lord Jesus’ prayer. According to what follows, this glory is the oneness. Where there is glory, there is oneness. On the other hand, where there is oneness, there is glory. Without glory, there is no oneness. In order to have glory, there must be the oneness. Glory and oneness are consequences of each other. The subject of the prayer is glory, but its real content is oneness. In this chapter of the Lord Jesus’ prayer, oneness is mentioned three times. In other words, there are three levels of oneness, and each of these levels is related to the Father.
The first time oneness was mentioned, it is related to the Father’s name and the Father’s life—the eternal life (John 17:2, 6, 11b). Hence, this oneness is in the Father’s name and in His life. This is the first level. When oneness is mentioned the second time, it is related to the Father’s word (John 17:14-21). When the Father’s word with the Father’s reality is applied to us, it produces an effect, which is to sanctify us from the Satan-ensnared world and to separate us unto God. This is the second level of the oneness, the oneness in the Father’s word, that is, in the Father’s reality. When oneness is mentioned the third time, it is related to the Father’s glory (John 17:22-23). In the Father’s glory, we are one. This is the third level of the oneness. When these three levels of oneness are fulfilled, the Lord Jesus’ prayer for the oneness of the believers is accomplished.
THE THREE LEVELS OF THE ONENESS OF THE BELIEVERS
One in the Father’s Name and the Father’s Life
Now we need to properly consider these three levels of oneness. The first level of oneness is the oneness of all the believers in the Father’s name and life. What is the meaning of the Father’s name? The Father’s name denotes the person of the Father, who is the Father Himself. The Father is the source of life. The oneness of the believers originates from the Father Himself (the person), who is the source of life. Since the first level of the oneness which the Lord desires originates from the Father as the source, there is no need for our own person. We are not the source. Only the Father is the source. Hence, we should not live by our human life. We should live by the Father’s divine life. Only the Father’s life is the source. Hence, basically speaking, we have to see that the oneness of the believers for which the Lord Jesus prays is with the Father as the source rather than with man as the source.
Furthermore, this oneness is in the Father’s life. The Father denotes the source, and the Father’s life denotes the element. The Father’s life is the element for oneness. Hence, the oneness that we pursue after is the oneness of life, which is of the Father as the source. This oneness has the Father as the source and His life as the element. This sounds simple, but its requirements are stringent. Everything of what we are and do must be terminated. In this way, regardless how many thousands and millions of saints there are, if there is only one source with only one inward essence, there will surely be oneness. Hence, this oneness is not according to what most Christians would consider. It is not a oneness of people clustering together and convinced by one another to have the same thought and opinion. This is a muddy oneness. It is not a golden oneness. The oneness the Lord wants is one in which we have the same source and the same life, taking the Father as the source and living by His life. When the Father’s life with His nature becomes the element of oneness in us, we will spontaneously be one.
(The Oneness and the One Accord according to the Lord's Aspiration and the Body Life and Service according to His Pleasure, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)