I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:23
Leading up to his death, Jesus prays for all who will believe and follow him. He asks the Father that his followers would be marked by oneness just as Jesus and the Father are one. He then links oneness among his followers as a way the world will know him. The way believers treat each other and live in oneness makes Jesus believable. It’s not that all of Jesus’s followers think or vote the same way or align on every issue in life. Instead, it involves a oneness of heart, mind and purpose with Jesus as Lord and his mission as a priority. We remember that we all have the same story of being radically lost and radically rescued by Jesus. Peter hears Jesus’s prayer and adds oneness to the traits the Jesus-community should live out (1 Peter 3:8). The oneness Jesus’s followers display in a fractured world stands out and makes people ask what’s different.
Sympathy is another trait that attracts the attention of our world. Sympathy involves sharing with another individual in their experiences. We stand with someone in joy or misery. The Apostle Paul describes this as rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). We feel with them, but it’s more than feeling. Sympathy is like a bonding agent and builds oneness. As we stand with them, our hearts move toward them. As we display sympathy for those we may not understand, like or think differently than we do—we show the world what Jesus is like. Sympathy builds relationships and makes Jesus more believable.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
A great way to grow in and practice oneness and sympathy is within a small group. Groups provide opportunities to grow in God’s Word and develop community with people we may not otherwise know and who come from different backgrounds and experiences. Sign up to join a group at adabible.org/joinagroup.
2023 SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
Join us all of 2023 developing a different spiritual practice each month. SPIRITUAL PRACTICES are intentional regular activities to deepen our relationship with God and mold us to be more like Jesus.
January is BIBLE READING. Keep track of our spiritual practices at beyondtheweekend.org/spiritualpractices.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.