“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
I looked over the group in attendance one Saturday morning at the Fremont Correctional Center where there were men in the chapel from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. I learned there were men from Baptist, Catholic, Nazarene, Presbyterian, Messianic Jew, Reformed, Lutheran, and non-denominational traditions all gathered together. It was like a beautiful painting of the Father’s diverse family.
What on earth could unite a group of such radically different men in a powerful bond of love? One word: Jesus! In John 17 Jesus prays for the future church and that they would be brought together in “complete unity.” This united family would let the world know that the Father sent the Son on a mission of love to take our pride and prejudices and nail them to the cross, restoring His family.
Our simple prison gathering shouted out loud and clear to me, to the men there, to other inmates, and to prison guards that Jesus Christ is alive. And His diverse family is loved by a Heavenly Father, united through the blood of the Lamb.
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)