And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
What John 17: 22-23 says is part of Jesus’ last prayer before being arrested and crucified. In the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), it is mentioned that this prayer was carried out on the Mount of Olives, also called Gethsemane; but it is John who gives details of what Jesus asked of His Father for His disciples. This request included that they were perfect in unity, just as the Father and the Son were one. The Lord specifically asked the following, I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one. The perfect unity is only obtained when God is included.
Achieving unity is an almost impossible task at the human level. Even unity in the basic entity of society is not achieved. I remember, for example, what was happening in my own family, where we were just my mother, my brother and me. Each of us had a different political thought. While my mother was conservative, my brother was a Social Democrat and I was a centrist. In this way, we never agreed on the time to choose those who were to direct the destinies of our country.
Many conflicts could be resolved if there were unity. Sometimes the parties have common goals; but if they have different methods of attaining them, they will not agree. Unity does not mean uniformity or be identical, but advance together in the same direction. I think we saw a good example of unity in World War II. Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union fought on the same side in order to defeat Nazi Germany and liberate France, its ally, from Hitler’s yoke. The three countries were totally different: a monarchy, a democracy and a communist country; but they agreed and won.
This example does not constitute a perfect unity, of course. That perfect unity can only be seen in the deity, as John 10:30 says: I and the Father are one. And also in 1 John 5:7: For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. That mystery of a unique and pluripersonal God is very difficult to understand in natural terms. A formal one to explain is the presence of water in the earth in solid form (polar ice and snow), liquid (seas, rivers and lakes) and gaseous (clouds); but it’s the same chemical, H2O.
Paul also expresses himself around the longing of God’s heart for His church to attain perfect unity. Ephesians 4:13 says: till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Perfect unity is not a work of men, but a divine work. That unity is achieved when we die our humanity and we perfect ourselves in Christ, the perfect man. The perfect unity is not achieved through ecumenism, nor is it achieved by convening a meeting between leaders of different religions in order to create a single world religion. The perfect unity is achieved when Jesus, the fullness of the deity, is in us as Colossians 2:9 says: For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. God bless you.