"Let them be ONE...So the World Will BELIEVE!"
Have you ever seen the movie Ice Age? My son and his friends were just watching that movie and I remembered how much I love it! This is a movie about a Mammoth, a Saber Tooth Tiger, and a Sloth all banning together to bring a little human baby back to his family. Now they have a lot of trust issues at the beginning of the movie, as you can imagine, but there is a scene where that begins to change. They are trying to cross an area that is being melted by a volcano and at a certain point the Tiger is about to fall to his death. The Mammoth heroically saves him by risking his own life! When they are all back to safety the Tiger asks the Mammoth, “Why did you do that, you could have been killed?” The Mammoth replies, “That’s what you do in a herd, you take care of each other!” They all begin to walk away and the Sloth says, “I don’t know about you guys, but we are the strangest herd I’ve ever seen!” I have always loved that because it reminds me so much of what the body of Christ should be like. Honestly, if someone on the outside were looking at us they should see a herd of people that take care of each other, and it would be very appropriate for them to say, “That is the Strangest Herd I have ever seen!” Think about it! Nothing but the power of Jesus can bring so many vastly different types of people all together as a family! I was thinking about this and remembering a time when I was in Israel. It was like experiencing a little piece of Heaven while still on Earth. I was on the Sea of Galilee, in a boat with people from Africa, and we were worshiping our Lord all together with a little bit of American worship songs and a lot of African dancing!! For those of you who know me, that is the best day I can think of! We had a wonderful time together, talking and praying, and I was yet again amazed by how total strangers can be instantly bound together in genuine love all because of Jesus!! I had this same experience with people from Asia and Egypt, and other countries while I was there, but I remember thinking when I left my friends from Africa that I would probably not see them again this side of heaven. Several days later I had left Galilee and was near the temple in Jerusalem, walking through the crowded streets, when out of nowhere I heard people shouting my name. I began to look around in surprise, thinking that no one here should know my name, and as I looked down the street my friends from Africa were shouting and running towards me, calling out "Ashley," with so much joy and excitement! We all embraced like long lost relatives even though we had just met a few days before, and hadn’t seen each other since. We were truly overjoyed to see each other and they began to ask me when I could come visit them in Africa. It was such a beautiful gift for me and I was captured again by how the love we have for Christ can bind us together as ONE! You know, that is exactly what Christ Prayed for us in John 17. He was praying, not only for His disciples but for “All those who would believe because of them.” He said this in John 17:21, “I pray that they will ALL be ONE, just as YOU and I are ONE…so that the world will believe you sent me!” Can we just think on His prayer for a moment? He prayed that His people would be ONE, JUST LIKE He and the Father are ONE! We can, in no way, fully mine the depths of intimacy between the Father and the Son because they truly are ONE, and yet THAT is the level of intimacy He desires for His people! Do we desire the same? Do we pray for others in a similar way, not just asking that we would love or like them, (although that is great) but do we pray that we would be ONE with them? I want to encourage you to try praying that way. When you go to pray for a specific person, by face and name, ask that you would be ONE with them, just like Jesus and our Father are ONE. It changes the love and intimacy we have for one another! In fact, I LOVE that phrase ONE ANOTHER and so does our Savior! After the church was formed, following the resurrection of Jesus, God began giving us what is known as the “ONE ANOTHER” commands of the New Testament. There are about 94 verses in the New Testament that carry this phrase. Jesus SO desired us to be ONE that He told the church that we are to “ONE ANOTHER” One Another!! We CANNOT fulfill the ONE ANOTHER commands by ourselves!!! I want to challenge you this week to really take a look at these commands that God has given us and maybe choose to focus on one or two, asking God to help you apply them this week. Some of them are, “Love One another, as I have Loved you,” “Accept One another,” “Be at PEACE with One another,” “Serve One another,” “Speak Truth to One another,” ect. In fact, you can go to our resource page and take a look at the list of “ONE ANOTHER” passages we have compiled for you! I want to leave you today with this beautiful truth. In our English language this phrase, that I’ve been talking about, has been translated into two words, ONE ANOTHER, however, in the original Greek this phrase was only ONE word and it was the Greek word “Allelon.” I share this because this Greek word is pronounced “All Lay Lone.” Is that not precious!! I love it because here is the truth of the matter, God calls us to live “ALL LAY LONE” so that we will Never be All Alone!!! We have been created to need each other, Jesus desires for us to be ONE, and God has shown us through His word how to do just that. We are born again into the strangest herd the world has ever seen and yet as we join this herd, and become ONE with each other, the Word of God tells us that the world will BELIEVE! Being ONE is not only for our Well being, it is our WITNESS!!
Scripture: John 17