Jesus goes even further in his prayer to reveal the great mystery that through the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, which is actively at work in the hearts of all who believe, we, too, can be "in" or united with God in purpose and spirit. By being united with God in the diverse and universal body of Christ, which is the church, all the world may see and testify that Jesus is Lord.
This is the only reason that unity in the body matters at all. Our living as reconciled people—first reconnecting the broken relationship with God our Creator, and then redeeming the broken relationships with other humans—is a testimony to the world that we are a new creation and a new family because Christ has come.
Diverse Community Prepares Us to Reach Out
It matters that Christ has come and that the world sees us relate to each other differently as a result. It also matters that we intentionally relate to the world differently. When we intentionally commune with "others" from different tribes, languages, people groups, and nations, we are better able to empathize with the plight of the diverse people groups who are in the world and outside of the church. Our proximity and unity with one another inside the body opens our eyes to transform the way that we relate to those outside the body of Christ.
The gospel comes alive in our daily lives when we remember that in the middle of this same prayer, Jesus said to his Father, "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one… . Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world" (John 17:15, 17-18).
Multicultural groups that pray, share the Word of God, embrace their differences, and value the uniqueness of "the other" in the body of Christ are then launched into the world as transformed and sanctified people to the glory of God. Together we stand as one in him in the world.
—Natasha Sistrunk Robinson is the Assistant Director of the Center for the Development of Evangelical Leadership at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, an inspirational speaker, freelance writer, and anti-human trafficking advocate. Connect with Natasha through her website.