John 17:20-21 "I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may 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 that you have sent me."
What do people think of us? Seems like a reasonable question, we could ask, ... but sometimes I don’t think we want to know. So we wish we could read minds, that way we wouldn’t embarrass others, and we wouldn’t feel embarrassed for asking, for thinking, for wondering, what do you think about us?
And if we’d listen, we might hear a conversation that went like this: He’s a little different. I’ll say! Makes me feel uncomfortable. No, no uncomfortable, uneasy. Why can’t he just fit in? There are some people who just keep rocking the boat, I think he’s one. If he’d just let things alone. The way he lives, makes me uncomfortable. Makes me feel guilty. I don’t know why, he’s a helpful person. Well, he never tells me I have to change, but something just keeps nagging inside. Yeah, I have the same feeling. Its unsettling, like an upset stomach that won’t go away. And he only makes it worse, every time I see him, he seems so much a peace, peace, bah. The only way he could be that way is if he didn’t care. It’s his problem all right. Yeah!
And on hearing the conversation, we wouldn’t feel any better. A little more the outsider, a little more alone. A little guilty because we make such people feel badly. And left on our own, we’d try to fit in, to make things more comfortable. . . And fortunately we are not left on our own. I say fortunately, because it is fortunate, that we are not left on our own, otherwise we’d be tempted to go the way of the world, and the world is going to Hell. Its not just that things aren’t working well, but it is actually and literally on the road to Hell. And if we’d join it, that’s exactly where we’d end up.
You see, it really doesn’t matter what people think of us. Their judgment has no lasting importance. The one thing that matters is what God thinks of us. And it is God who has called us, from the ways of the world, to the way of life, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. God’s judgment is the only judgment with everlasting consequences. And so it is that we gather together, we whom God has called, by grace through faith, in whom, by water and the Word, God has made a new creation. You see, we are no longer slaves to the world, to work, to sin or to death. In Christ we have been set free, and not just free, but we have been made a royal nation; for by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, we are the children of God. And the Lord reigns, Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
But there’s more, for not only are we a royal nation, but we are a holy priesthood. Our calling in life is to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to those who are perishing. We come together as one, because God has made us one. We who are many become one, just as God in 3 persons is one God. God brings this thing to pass. Jesus prayer for us is that we might be one, and that this oneness might be a magnet to draw people to the cross and salvation.
Sometimes, this means that we will make people uncomfortable, for the Word we bring brings to light both sin and grace. Sin makes people uncomfortable, for the wages of sin is death, and before death, there is always guilt. And guilt by itself is not a bad thing, not if it leads to repentance. So the law shows us our sin [and the sins of the world] so that the Gospel may show us our savior. This is God’s plan for our life.
We may be a little different, we may not fit in. But God has called us to be in the world, not of the world. God has called us to be a royal nation, and a holy priesthood,. Bringing with us, where ever we go, the Word of God, law that shows sin, and gospel that shows the savior. And our prayer is that the world may repent, and hear the Good news and be saved. God has brought us together, God has made us one, let us then spread this kingdom of God to the world which is perishing, that they too may be saved. That they may be one with us, in Christ, in Life and in salvation.