Was Jesus a post-modern evangelist at heart? Let me explain what I mean by that. I have been studying for this weekend’s message that I am teaching on John 17. I am so excited because the passage is just absolutely jam packed full of applicable truth for the church today. However, one of the things that Jesus said in this prayer really got my attention.
Jesus says,”May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:23) The “they” in this verse is talking about followers of Christ; the church. So, Jesus’ point is that the way that the world is going to know that Jesus is the Son of God (see also v. 21) is through the unity that the church exhibits. It’s not through well crafted arguments, its not through diagrams or pamphlets, and its not through evangelistic crusades. Not that any of those are necessarily bad, but they are not the way that Jesus said people would know that he was the Son of God. Simply, he stated, people will know that he is the Son of God by the way that the people who claim to be his followers love each other and the world around them. So, one of the great evangelistic methods that Jesus taught was a unified body!
That sounds very post-modern. It sounds very experiential. It’s almost like Jesus was saying that people have to have an experience with the truth before they are going to really, truly believe it. I wonder if the church has more to say to the post-modern mind than we have originally thought. I also have to wonder if we could make a bigger impact if we were more unified.