This is a guest blog from Jared White of Finite Calls Infinite. Jared is a musician, a Web developer, a photographer, and a Charismatic Christian who believes that the Spirit of God is moving dramatically across the world today and impacting entire nations with the Gospel of the Kingdom.
20 I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
21 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.
22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
Commentary by John Wesley on this passage:
“That the world may believe” — Here Christ prays for the world. Observe the sum of his whole prayer, 1. Receive me into thy own and my glory; 2. Let my apostles share therein; 3. And all other believers: 4. And let all the world believe.
“The glory which thou hast given me, I have given them” — The glory of the only begotten shines in all the sons of God. How great is the majesty of Christians.
I’m honored to be able to guest blog for my friend Andrew Conard. We have only corresponded through blogging and e-mail to date, but I’ve greatly appreciated reading his thoughts and his viewpoint as a Methodist seeking renewal in his denomination. I felt it would be apropos to include John Wesley’s take on the verses I shared above, though I’m sorry to say I have not studied the life or writings of John Wesley as well as I should.
This series is titled Does the world know? with the subheading Christian unity in a fractured age. Before I delve into such a weighty topic, let me give you a little background on my perspective. I was raised Christian and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior from around five years of age (I am now 25). However, I never really loved or appreciated the Church as a whole until only a few years ago. My experience growing up was of dead churches, church hopping, and home churches isolated from a wider community. By the time I reached my mid-teen years, I was convinced that the Church was a dying entity and I had no particular reason to get involved with a local congregation. God was up there, I was down here, I would try to make the best of it, and someday it would all get sorted out in the Great Beyond.
I don’t have time to go into into the backstory of how God brought me out of that bleak mindset. You can read a facet of my life’s testimony (http://www.callsinfinite.com/blog/2008/03/27/god-is-the-ultimate-travel-agent-3-direction/) at my blog Finite Calls Infinite for further insight. Suffice it to say, along with finding a local church which is one of the most beautiful things I have ever found, I grew to understand what it means to be a part of the Body of Christ worldwide and the Christian Church which Jesus Christ calls His Bride. Even more than that, I grew to have a deep desire, a holy longing, to see the animosity and the “sideways” energy expended between different sects, denominations, and churches dissipate as Christians come to realize the glorious purpose for which God has created them.
A crystal clear moment in my life that launched me into this calling of praying for and seeking Christian unity was a dream I had in late 2006. In this dream there was a beautiful pure white curtain that had been torn, but I laid my hands on it and in a flash of light it became whole. The Lord revealed to me through this dream that the white cloth represented the Church and I would be a catalyst for unity as a function of my ministry.
I don’t feel that I’ve been able to perform this role yet to a great extent, but when I was considering what I’d blog about for Thoughts of Resurrection, this subject came to mind, and I knew instantly that it would be the right thing to address. And so I will, but in the interests of time, I must continue my train of thought in next installment in this series. To whet your appetite, however, I want to leave you with the following question:
Does the world know?
In John 17 verse 23, we see Jesus praying to His Father for His disciples before the time of His betrayal, and His prayer is “that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” As we read previously in verse 20, Jesus’ prayer isn’t just for those who followed Him 2,000 years ago, it’s for us here today. And so again I ask: does the world know? Does the world know that God sent Jesus to us? Does the world know that God loves His people just as He loves His Son? Has Jesus’ prayer been answered? Has the vision that He laid out in this prayer come to pass? If not, why not?
Could it be that in order for the world to know Jesus, we need to become perfectly one? Could it be that in order for the world to know God’s love, Christians need to love one another? Could to be that in order for the world to know that Jesus was sent by God to do a mighty work, that He was vindicated in glory and given authority over all things under heaven and earth, the glory of Christ must shine “in all the sons of God” as John Wesley puts it?
Come back next week for a deep dive into these profound questions!