Make Us One
There is major division in our world today. We have bitter division between the races, classes of people, and even men and women are divided. In a divided world, what unites us? On the night Jesus was arrested and taken to the cross, He prayed for you and me that we would be united. Here’s what He prayed:
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
“I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” John 17:20-23
If our world can ever hope to get this right and find peace, it’s got to start with us. We can be the answer to Jesus’ prayer for unity.
In the early church, all kinds of people from different backgrounds got together to worship God. How can you get all those different groups with all of their prejudices together in unity?
In Ephesians 2, Paul wrote:
But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to Him through the blood of Christ. For Christ Himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in His own body on the cross, He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in Himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of His death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. Ephesians 2:13-16
Jesus is the answer to every kind of division in our world. Our unity comes from Jesus. In the Bible, God shows us three “ones” that it takes to bring unity in the body of Christ.
Three Sources of Unity
The cross built a bridge to God and took a sledgehammer to every wall that separates us from each other.
Think about the shape of the cross. It has both a vertical beam that points the way to God, and it has a horizontal beam that connects us with each other.
There was a time that Berlin, Germany was divided into two parts, East and West Berlin. And in between the two was a wall known as the Berlin Wall. It was built in 1961 and it separated neighbors and divided families. And then, in 1989, the Berlin Wall was torn down. I still remember Ronald Reagan saying, “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!” It was a historic moment when that wall fell down. The world celebrated the unity!
On the cross, Jesus tore down the wall that separated people from each other! Jesus built a bridge that connects us to each other.
The cross does more than just bond us together. The cross blends us together so that we are no longer separate, but we are one! Early Christians called themselves a “third race” or a “new race.” Early Christians didn’t see themselves as Jews or Gentiles, but as one new race that included everyone who followed Jesus!
It’s no longer black, or brown, or white blood, but it’s the red blood of Jesus. The ground is red at the foot of the cross, stained red with the blood of Jesus. Without the cross of Christ, we will never have real unity.
You see “us versus them” this all over our culture. That’s what it’s like without the cross. But because of the cross, it’s no longer us versus them. It’s all of us together as one. There will never be true justice until there’s Just Us standing together as one.
The cross humbles those who thought they were better than others the cross of Jesus lifts up those who lived under the oppression of feeling less than others.
There is power in the Blood of Jesus that is the only cure for the virus called racism. We have One Cross that unites us. The second power that unites is…
“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”Martin Luther King Jr., sermon from 1957
The answer to the divisions in our world comes from the love of God. The love of God changes the way we relate to each other. In Christ, we are now blood brothers and sisters. What if we saw ourselves as we really are, brothers and sisters in Jesus? Then, when people outside of the church look at us, they will say, “They have something I need and want to be a part of.” How will they know we really love Jesus? There’s only one way. They will know it by our love. In fact, John wrote, “This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.” 1 John 3:11
Jesus declared our purpose. In Matthew 28:19, He said, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus said go and make disciples. It’s that clear and simple. That’s should be the mission of every church and every follower of Jesus.
Recently, churches in our community got together to pray for unity. As I stood before them, I asked everyone gathered there from all denominations and races to shout out the name of their church on the count of 3. “1, 2, 3!” And here’s what I heard: “Blah-Blah!” It was unclear and confused! And then I asked them on the count of three to shout out the name of Jesus! “1-2-3!” And with one voice, everyone shouted together, “Jesus!” It was clear! And it was beautiful! When we come together under one name and one banner, the name of Jesus, despite our differences, the world will finally hear, and they will finally see!
Unity comes from Jesus. They don’t need to just hear the name of Jesus, but they actually need to see Jesus and His power at work in us. Then, people will be drawn to Him!
Our mission to share the cross and the love of Jesus with our world is clear. There is this great vision in the book of Revelation of what heaven will look like.
After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. Revelation 7:9
There will be more people than you can count in heaven. And they are made up of every nation from around the world throughout history, every tribe, people group, skin color, race, language. There will be no more division between us.
The battle cry of the early church was, “Unity in Christ!” They opened their doors for people from all nations and from all walks of life. They were all one in Christ.
The Christian vision of unity in Christ gives us hope in our broken world today. The solution to the problem of racism didn’t come from the government or from the culture. It came from the Church.
The church is the hope of the world lifting up the cross of Christ and showing them the love of God through our mission to a world that is bitterly divided and in so much pain.
It’s time, for the Church to rise up and be the hands and feet and heart of Jesus to the world around us! Will you answer the call to lay down your pride and prejudice and embrace the cross!