Let me ask you a question … Can you count to one?
Of course, I’m not speaking about math skills here. I’m actually referring to something so important that Jesus prayed about it on the night of the Last Supper.
Let me introduce our verse for the day, and then give it an application that I believe is truly important but often overlooked.
Today’s verse says CHRIST SUFFERED FOR OUR SINS ONCE FOR ALL TIME.
The first question that comes to mind when you hear that is “WHY?” There’s no shortage of answers, and we talk about them in our mornings together often.
He paid a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay.
He loved us enough to want every barrier between us and Him removed, so that we could enjoy the relationship we were created to have.
He chose to demonstrate the ultimate example of committed love.
The list could go on and on, and each one could be the topic of one of our discussions. But there is an element to Christ’s motivation that is far too often ignored; or worse, given lip service but not taken to heart. And that is the aspect of Christ’s desire that we who have claimed that He is our Lord be in unity with one another.
I get it. The topic is deep and complex. There have been several books written sharing strategies designed to move closer to the lofty goal of unity. I wrote one of them because, well, because God made me! (It’s called COUNT TO ONE, God’s Plan for Christian Unity. If you want a copy, just email me at BishopRobert (at) CEEC (dot) CHURCH and I’ll send you one.)
And while it is true that one of the reasons CHRIST SUFFERED FOR OUR SINS ONCE FOR ALL TIME was because He loved us enough to want every barrier between us and Him removed, it WASN’T just so that we could enjoy the relationship we were created to have. It was also because He loved us enough to want to remove every barrier we have erected between ourselves — the ones who call Him their Lord — so that the world would have evidence of His work in our lives. And that’s a quote … from Jesus.
On that last night before He went to the cross, after He had prayed for the twelve guys in the room sharing the meal with Him, He prayed for you and me. Here is what He prayed …
“I am not asking on behalf of them alone.” (That’s where He was referring to His earlier prayer for the Twelve.) “But also on behalf of those who will believe in Me through their message.” (That’s where He begins talking about what He wants FOR us and expects FROM us.) “That all of them may 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 sent Me. I have given them the glory You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one— I in them and You in Me—that they may be perfectly united, so that the world may know that You sent Me.”
Reading that ought to make your liver quiver and your heart race. I remember the first time I read that. I couldn’t get over two things. First of all, a prayer that Jesus prayed FOR ME is written in the bible. When I found that out I was dumbstruck. Then, when I got past that first shock and looked at WHAT He had prayed … Whew! Speechless!
When you think about the 400 bagillion different Christian groups, sects, denominations, communions, etc, in the world and consider how we get along … Well, let’s just say that the inseparable unity between Jesus Christ and His Father isn’t the first comparison that comes to mind. BUT IT SHOULD BE !!! That is, after all, specifically and precisely what Jesus prayed for.
And more to the point was the “so that” Jesus made reference to. He said that the reason He wanted us to be united was “so that the world may know that You sent Me.”
Our love for one another as people who know Jesus and follow Him is supposed to be a global witness for everyone who doesn’t know Him. When their world is falling apart, or being bombed to smitherines, we are supposed to be the first solution that comes to their mind. The way we love one another and stand together is supposed to be like a huge flashing neon sign saying — “HEY PEOPLE – HERE’S PROOF JESUS IS THE ANSWER. LOOK AT HOW CHRISTIANS LOVE EACH OTHER.”
I’ve given close to forty gallons of blood in my lifetime. The group I gave blood with here near my home is called ONE BLOOD. One of the thank you gifts they gave me as a donor was a nice thermal travel mug with their name and their motto. So sitting upon my desk is a large white travel mug that says, “ONE BLOOD … Share Your Power.”
We who are in Jesus share one blood … HIS. It saved us. It cleansed us. It makes us holy. How about if we deliberately join our prayers to His, and ask the Father to let the blood of Jesus make us ONE, so that the world will FINALLY know that the Father sent Jesus, and why.
There’s power in the blood.
Can you count to one?
CHRIST SUFFERED FOR OUR SINS ONCE FOR ALL TIME