Monday, October 19, 2015

that the world may believe

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
John 17:20-21

Two things have always grabbed my attention from this passage, which is Jesus' prayer for His disciples before His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. Jesus knew well what was facing Him, yet He had the church squarely in His thoughts as He prepared to redeem a people to Himself. The first thing that grabs me is that Jesus had the current generation of believers in mind as He faced the cross. He prayed for me... really. It's right here in this passage. His prayer was not only for those 12 disciples in the upper room with Him, but also for those who "will believe in me through their word." The apostles were faithful to generations that followed them. The New Testament is a clear record of their words and actions with the gospel. I believed through their word, so Jesus prayed for me before dying for me. That truth shakes me even now as I realize it.

The second compelling observation from this passage is that Jesus prayed for strong unity for all believers across the ages. He knew that sinful human selfish actions would fragment His church. But we CAN be unified... if we center our faith on Jesus, and the Father, we can know the unbreakable unity of the Godhead. But it means embracing the gospel biblically and staying close to Jesus. When we are close to Jesus the church stays together. Stay faithful to the gospel, and the church is unified. Stay Christ-centered and we will be a powerful witness, with a powerful gospel that Jesus says will let the world know and believe His gospel. Do we want the world to know Jesus? Do we want people to come to faith in Him? Then let's stay close to Him, together let's proclaim the gospel that the Father has sent Jesus, and let's be one around our Lord!

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