“…that all of them may be one,
Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.
May they also be in us
so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
John 17:21 (NIV)
Apologetics is the academic discipline of seeking to make something credible through reasonable arguments. There is considerable evidence for the truthfulness of Christianity and, in part, it has come through the efforts of dedicated believers who have heard the objections to our faith and made appropriate responses.
However, according to Jesus, one of the greatest proofs of the truthfulness of our Christian faith is seen in the united witness of believers. John 13:35 quotes our Lord saying,
“By this everyone will know
that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.” (NIV)
Taking our Lord’s statement in John 13:35 and putting it alongside His words in John 17:21 it is clear that the loving unity of Christians is what does most to make Christ credible to a watching world. If we wish to be noticed, we must be doing good to all people and especially to those who believe in Jesus (Galatians 6:10).
So do not worry if you are unable to argue people into believing the Gospel. No one has truly believed in Jesus by losing an argument with a Christian. Apologetics have some value in our witness, but what is irrefutable evidence to the Christian faith is what Jesus tells us in these verses in John’s Gospel.
Therefore, the most humble follower of Jesus can have a powerful influence in society as he or she lives in the self-sacrificing manner of Jesus. The more each of us reflect the character of our Saviour—the greater our influence on those around us.
This unity of character we are to have as Christians does not mean we are identical to each other. A husband and wife have very different characteristics from temperament to the physical. However, they may be united in purpose and work together for the good of their relationship and other family members.
We do not need to be the same in order to show we are all part of the family of God. Some are teachers, some have gifts of mercy, others have other gifts to use in loving and serving the needs of the church and community.
Today ask the Lord to help you answer the prayer of Jesus for unity among His people and engage your gifts to the benefit of those around you and around the world. As God’s people encourage each other to live as followers of Jesus, we will make Him credible.