In Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer” recorded in John 17, our Lord prays that His disciples and those would follow after them be “sanctified by the truth” (John 17:17). Jesus prays that His followers be made holy and set apart in a world that will hate them just as it hated Him. One of the reasons Jesus gives for desiring that His followers be sanctified is “that the world may believe” – in verse 23: “that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
The world is watching us. They have a keen eye on the church, because they want to see if this thing is for real. They want to see if this Jesus is all He’s cracked up to be. They want to see if God can really change a life that is in shambles and make it worth living. The world is looking to us. What are they seeing?
There’s a saying that goes, “It’s easier to preach a dozen sermons than to live one.” There are people all around us who will never darken the door of a church. They will never hear a sermon preached. But they will be watching the sermons that are our lives very closely. Thomas Chalmers, a church leader in 19th-century Scotland, said, “Every man is a missionary, now and forever, for good or for evil, whether he intends or designs it or not. He may be a blot radiating his dark influence outward to the very circumference of society, or he may be a blessing spreading benediction over the length and breadth of the world.”
The world is watching. Jesus prayed that we be sanctified so that they may know – that they may know that He is who He says He is, that they may know that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Jesus says that if the world looks at us, and we have been sanctified by the truth, they will see that Jesus is who He says He is. You see, you and I are the proof of what Jesus can do in a life. We are living testimonies to the power of the blood of Jesus Christ. But if the world looks at us and sees something that is NOT in congruence with the nature of Jesus Christ, then they say, “See, this Jesus isn’t what he claimed to be. If he can’t make these Christians something better than they were, then what’s the point?”
Jesus also says that if the world looks at us, and we have been sanctified by the truth, they will see that God loves them. If we are loving our neighbor as we love ourselves, then we are reflecting the love of God to those around us. Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
What does the world see when they look at you and me? Do they see a life and a love that would make them believe?~ Matt Kinnell NHIM Board Chairman