That the World May Know
During our Lord Jesus’ last night with His disciples, before His crucifixion He prayed three times that His followers would know and display a unity among themselves, like the unity between Him and His Father. He went so far as to say that this visible unity would be evidence to the watching world that He indeed was its Messiah/Savior (John 17).
Earlier in the evening, Jesus had given a new commandment to His disciples, that they would love one another even as Jesus had loved them. He followed that with these words, “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
To us, His followers, Jesus said, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged” (Matthew 7:1). Yet, in the passages that I have just quoted, Jesus gave the world outside of the Church the permission to judge, to judge us, those who claim to be His followers.
He said, in essence, unity among Christians is visible evidence to the watching world that He is indeed who He claimed to be, the world’s Messiah/Savior. He then went on to say that the world will know that we are truly His followers by the love we display for one another, a love that resembles the love that Jesus has displayed towards us.
So, when we, the followers of Jesus refuse to walk in unity with one another, the world has every right to conclude that Jesus is not who He claimed to be. And, if we fail to love one another as Jesus has loved us, the world has every right to conclude that we are not true followers of Him.
Therefore, if I fail to walk in unity and love with my brothers and sisters in Christ, it does not prove that I am not a Chrisitan. What Jesus was saying, however, is that, if I do not walk in unity and love with my fellow believers, the world has the right to make the judgment that I am not a Christian.
This is sobering to say the least. Without words, merely by our actions, we send signals to the world that is watching the ones who claim to be children of God in Christ. None of us is going to do this perfectly but might we all become more aware of the world that is watching us and remember that it was Jesus who gave them the right to judge us in regard to the unity and love that they see displayed among us. Are these two qualities visible in the display window of your life? For the world’s sake, I pray that they are.