Yesterday we explored the heavenly picture of diverse people worshiping King Jesus. That is our destiny as followers of Jesus.
Often the church acknowledges that as a beautiful picture of the future without realizing how it matters in the present.
John 17 records Jesus' "High Priestly Prayer". It is a record of his last words of sorts, his poignant and powerful prayer for his disciples, both present and future.
In verses 20-23, Jesus prays,
“I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me." (CSB)
Jesus prays for a visible oneness among the diversity of believers. But he prays something profound as he prays for our unity. He says that the world's ability to comprehend who he is as the Messiah is directly related to our display of unity.
In other words, its not just the diversity that matters, but the unity of diverse of people who are followers of Jesus. This is why our vision statement isn't just "we envision diverse people gathering together", but "we envision A BLENDED FAMILY of diverse people...". The diversity doesn't matter without the unity and love.
The goal is not just to have a mosaic of people who are different colors, speak different languages, and come from different cultures in the same room together. Jesus' pray is that his diverse body of followers would actually love each other as family! And when this happens, the world takes notice. The world will see the love, and wonder "why are these people, so different from each other, together and loving on one another?"
And the answer is this: Because Jesus is the Messiah, sent by God the Father, and He has rescued us from our sins and gathered us together as a new family.
Theologian Francis Schaeffer said it this way:
Let's take our diversity and our love seriously, remembering that these are the things Jesus prayed for right before he went to the cross.
Prayer: Father, may we strive to be together in unity in our diversity. May you bring many different people together, not as tokens, but as fellow followers of Jesus for us to love.