Thursday, April 01, 2010
One (John 17)
As if Jesus hadn't done enough for the disciples already that evening (washing their feet, feeding them, sharing what the future held for them), as the meal ended Jesus prayed for his disciples - a beautiful, passionate, heartfelt prayer.
In fact, if you only have a few minutes to read today - go read John 17 and skip the rest of this post.
Jesus told God the Father that we belong to Him. Jesus asked God to protect us and sanctify us. And then, Jesus prayed that we would be one so that the whole world would have an opportunity to know Him.
Do you think Jesus knew in that moment that we were going to have a bazillion denominations, schisms within denominations, in-fighting in our own churches? Do you think Jesus knew there would be blog posts and newspaper articles from pastors bad-mouthing other pastors? Do you think Jesus knew we were going to look at each other and say, "You're not as good a Christian as I am b/c you fall short in a particular area of sin (you know, the one that doesn't get to me even though I probably fall short in an area that doesn't get to you)?"
I'm guessing he had a pretty good idea, b/c of all the things Jesus could have prayed, he chose to pray for our unity. Jesus knew that the world would look to the church as an indicator of who He is and what faith is all about. And so, Jesus' prayer for future believers was that Christians (people like me and you) wouldn't mess them up.
In this world, there will always be differences of opinion, style preferences, and doctrinal debates, but this week of all weeks, let's agree to agree on what all of us can agree on - JESUS.
Jesus is the one who gave EVERYTHING for you and me. And not just you and me, he did it for the world, and if the world is going to hear and know that Jesus is Lord than we have to pull together and let that be the message we send.
What messages are we sending to the world that get in the way of others seeing Jesus? What messages are you sending with your own life that keep people from wanting to know Jesus?
There's good news - Jesus died for all of those imperfections in us and in the church. Now we need to move forward together, with one voice, shouting the name of Jesus from city to city and house to house.