If you follow any team sports, you recognize that team chemistry is very important to success. General managers and coaches spend a lot of time finding the right mix of players and working with them to play as a team. Being ‘one’, or functioning as a cohesive unit, yields greater results than a collection of individuals. As Jesus prays over all people who believe in Him and will believe in Him, His first focal point is that we would be one (v21). He prays for unity first. Not peace, or success, but unity. He goes on to suggest that unity will be one of the marks by which the world will know that we are His disciples, the other being ‘love’ which is closely connected. The way we function as a unified team will be in such a contrast to the selfish, individualistic nature of the world, that the conclusions will be that something is drastically different with these people, and will be a factor in leading people to Jesus.
“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 themeven as you have loved me.
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”