Last week I invited you to take a look at what Jesus prayed in John 17 for his followers in his last days on earth. Most assuredly, Jesus’ words are for us today as well. He is petitioning the Father for a depth and degree of unity which the world is unfamiliar with. A unity as precious as the one the Trinity has enjoyed throughout eternity. There is something foundational about this “oneness,” this unity Jesus desires for us to possess that has a significant impact on the willingness for those outside our faith to take an interest in faith in God. That’s what Jesus is getting at in v. 20 saying “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through theirword.”
Whether we care to admit it or not, the watching world does closely observe how we love and regard one another as well as how we respect and give dignity to those people not yet of the faith. Some watch hoping to find inspiration and some look for our flaws and hypocrisies. I admit to having done both. Jesus makes the point again in John 13:35 saying “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” It appears that Jesus is implying that if and as the world witnesses from our example an unbelievable quality of love, a God-like love which is characterized by mercy, grace and without conditions, they just might believe that there is a God who sent His Son to speak of God’s love to the world . . . . to them.
Jesus speaks in verse 22 about bestowing the glory that God has apportioned Him over to his own followers. What is this glory? Have you seen it? Experienced it? Do you demonstrate it? This glory is the radiant beauty of God manifested in and through the lives of those who are called His church. It is undeniably recognizable and stunning in its magnificence. It is not a creation of man but surely a manifestation of God’s presence. It is attractive to say the very least. Not repelling. It has a “wow” factor to it. It is truly the essence of God within us and we all possess that essence by virtue of salvation and being indwelt by the Spirit of God. We have the tools!
How do you see yourself regarding and treating the family of God? Are you concerned for their welfare? Is their ample room for grace? Can you achieve and physically demonstrate unity without necessarily being uniform? Are you aware that people are potentially drawn to or distracted from an interest in God by how you love your brothers and sisters? This is no joke. Those were Jesus’ words. In this age of polarity where the world seems to have lost a middle position, our witness is even more imperative. Are you supplying living water to the “tree” which produces the fruit of the Spirit in you? Think About It.