Jesus Brings People Together
Isn’t it weird how, when something is on your mind a lot, the topic seems to come up more than usual? Maybe it’s just that we are more aware of it; I’m not really sure why it seems to happen that way. But it has been happening to me quite a bit recently.
The thing that has been on my mind lately is how Jesus brings people together. For just one example, look at the 12 disciples. This was a group of men who had no reason to be together. They all came from such diverse backgrounds. Among them were fishermen, a tax collector, and a zealot. Some of these men were young and some were old. They had little in common…except, they were followers of Jesus. That is what brought them together.
Just this morning I preached on a text from Philippians 1:27-2:11. The dominant theme in these verses is church unity that comes through humility. Paul knows that there is some division and quarrelling in the Philippian church (see Phil. 4:2), and his prescription is unity (2:3-4) that comes from humility (2:5-11). When people make Jesus King, all of our differences can be put aside and we can be brought together in Christ. I love that.
With thoughts like these floating around in my mind, I spent some time this afternoon reading a copy of Just As I Am, the autobiography of Billy Graham. This book has been a very interesting read so far. It’s a beast of a book (over 700 pages), and I have no clue how Billy could have remembered so many details and stories about his life without having a personal scribe follow him around, but there was a story in the section I read today that was pretty cool.
It is 1952, and Billy is visiting Korea in the middle of World War 2. Among a dozen very interesting stories, he recounts one that really stood out to me:
One highlight was preaching to 2,500 a night in the unheated but huge and beautiful Young Nak Presbyterian Church in Seoul, pastored by Han Kyung Chik. Many GI’s got special leave to come from the front lines. I can never forget the sight of American soldiers alongside Koreans at the front of the church, responding to the Invitation. Korean pastors would grip my hand in their humble, gracious way and in tears thank us for coming to encourage them. (pg. 197)
How amazing is that? American soldiers sitting next to civilians of the enemy in church, both people groups responding to the invitation to make Christ their Saviour. I can’t think of a more hostile environment where people should have division between them. Yet Jesus shows just how transcendent he really is by bringing these two groups together.
If Jesus is the Lord my life, then I should be able to set aside any difference with another person who also has Jesus as their Lord. Sure, there will be disputes and disagreements. But in the end, Jesus is the King of the Universe, and anyone who follows him lives life under his banner. Even being enemies in a world war is considered secondary to being fellow citizens of God’s Kingdom. Allegiance to Christ comes before allegiance to country. Truly astounding when you think about it.