The Church is One

John 10:16 " I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must lead them too, and they shall hear my voice. There shall be one flock, One shepherd."

John 17:11 "I am in the world no more, but these are in the world as I come to you. O Father most holy, protect them with your name which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one."

Peters Denial Foretold

Matthew 26:31-35 31 Jesus then said to them, "Tonight your faith in me will be shaken, for Scripture has it: ‘I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will Go to Galilee ahead of you." 33 Peter responded, "Though all
may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be shaken!" 34 Jesus said to him, "I give you my word, before the cock crows tonight you will deny me three times." 35 Peter replied, "Even though I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the other disciples
said the same.

Luke 22:31-34 31"Simon, Simon! Remember that Satan has asked for you, to sift you all like wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you that your faith may never fail. you in turn must strengthen your brothers," 33 "Lord," he said to him, "at your side I am prepared to face imprisonment
and death itself." 34 Jesus replied, "I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow today until you have three times denied that you know me."

Mark 14:27-31 27 Jesus then said to them: "Your faith in me shall be shaken, for Scripture has it. ‘I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be dispersed.’ 28 But after I am raised up, I will go to Galilee ahead of you." 29 Peter said to him, "Even though all are shaken in faith, it will not be that way with me." 30 Jesus answered, "I give you my assurance, this very night before the cock crows twice, you will deny my three times." 31 But Peter kept reasserting vehemently, "Even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you." They all said the same.

It is clear that Jesus is the shepherd referred to in the old testament prophesy, and yet Peters vehement denial immediately after Jesus’ quoting the old testament passage is odd. Why would Peter feel such a strong need to defend himself? Why would he, of all the apostles, be so disturbed by Jesus comment?

Earlier in John 1:40-42 40 One of the two who had followed him after hearing John was Simon Peter’s brother Andrew. 41 The first thing he did was seek out his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah!" (This term means the Anointed.) 42 He brought him to Jesus,
who looked at him and said, "You are Simon, son of John; your name shall be Cephas (Which is rendered Peter)."

Later, after Peter proclaims Jesus to be the Son of the living God, Jesus calls him a rock and commissions him with the authority of His church. Matthew 16:13-19 13 When Jesus came to the neighborhood of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples this question: "Who do people
say that the Son of Man is?" 14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptizer, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." 15 "And you," he said to them, "who do you say that I am?" 16 "You are the Messiah," Simon Peter answered, "the Son of the Living God!"
17 Jesus replied, "Blest are you, Simon son of Jonah! No mere man has revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father, 18 I for my part declare to you, you are ‘Rock," and on this rock I will build my church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it. 19 I will entrust to you
the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you declare bound on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatever you declare loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

If we look at the text in Luke 31, Jesus tells Peter that he is praying for him and that Peter is in turn to pray for his brethren. This would imply some superiority conferred upon Peter. Why does Jesus specifically pray for Peter to strengthen him. Why does Jesus ask Peter to, in turn, strengthen his brethren? Who is the shepherd? Jesus or Peter?

John 21:15-17 15 When they had eaten their meal, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord, " he said, "you know that I love you." At which Jesus said " Feed my lambs." 16 A second time he put his question, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" "Yes, Lord." Peter said, "you know that I love you." Jesus replied, "Tend my sheep." 17 A third time Jesus asked him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because he had asked a third time, "Do you love me? So he said to him: "Lord, you know everything. You know well that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep."

Here, Jesus clearly confers on Peter, the responsibility of taking care of his flock.

I Peter 2:24-25 In his own body he brought your sins to the cross, so that all of us, dead to sin, could live in accord with God’s will. By his wounds you were healed. 25 At one time you were straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd, the Guardian of your

Here Peter speaks of the Shepherd and Guardian and is referring to Jesus.

Again, the question: Who is the Shepherd, Jesus or Peter?

Matthew 28:16-20 16 The eleven disciples made their way to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had summoned them. 17 At the sight of him, those who had entertained doubts fell down in homage. 18 Jesus came forward and addressed them in these words: "Full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth; 19 go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." 20 Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you
always, until the end of the world!"

Jesus is our true Shepherd, but he also tells us that He will be with us until the end of time. How can He do this? As the Shepherd, Jesus clearly has the authority to pass that authority on to another. And he did pass on that authority to Peter, our first Pope.

As part of the one body of Christ, we can look at reason also. In the Old Testament, the law was interpreted by whom? Every man for himself? No. The authoritative persons, chosen by God, led the people of God: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David etc. The laws of God were taught by the leaders of the Old Testament Church.

In the New Testament, we still see this. As we read the letters that were written by the Apostles, we can see that they are writing these letters to the different leaders of the newly formed church. For example Paul writes to the Romans in Rome, the Hebrews, the Corinthians in Corinth, to Titus, the administrator of the Christian community in Crete. After Acts, all of the letters of the New Testament are literally letters written to strengthen, correct and admonish the fledgling church. In no way can it be determined that the New Testament
was meant to be the only thing we need to get to heaven. In fact the Bible itself says the exact opposite.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brothers, stand firm. Hold fast to the traditions you received from us, either by our word or by letter.

I Timothy 3:15 "So that if I should be delayed you will know what kind of conduct befits a member of God’s household, the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark (foundation) of truth."

Look at the world now. How many different Christian churches are there? Hundreds, maybe even thousands. You can go into any one of these different denominations and hear a different interpretation of scripture at any one of them. Is this the way that Christ meant it to be?

John 17:9-19
Prayer for the Disciples
"For these I pray- not for the world but for these you have given me, for they are really yours.
(Just as all that belongs to me is yours, so all that belongs to you is mine.) It is in them that I have been glorified. I am in the world no more, but these are in the world as I come to you.
O Father most holy, protect them with your name which you have given me that they may be one, even as we are one. As long as I was with them, I guarded them with your name which you gave me. I kept careful watch, and not one of them was lost, none but him who was destined to be lost- in fulfillment of Scripture. Now, however, I come to you; I say all this while I am still in the world that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word,
and the world has hated them for it; they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask you to take them out of the world. But to guard them for the evil one.
They are not of the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them by means of truth- As you have sent me into to world, so I have sent them into the world; I consecrate myself for their sakes now, that they may be consecrated in truth.

John 17:20-26
Prayer for all believers
"I do not pray for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their word,
that all may be one as you, Father, are in me, and I in you; I pray that they may be one in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me that they may be one, as we are one- I living in them, you living in me- that their unity may be complete. So shall the world know that you sent me, and that you loved them as you loved me. Father, all those you gave me I would have in my company where I am, to see this glory of mine which is your gift to me, because of the love you bore me before the world began.

Just Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you; and these men have known that you sent me. To them I have revealed your name and I will continue to reveal it so that your love for me may live in them, and I may live in them.