COLUMN: Walk worthy of Christ

Published 6:06 pm Sunday, April 14, 2024

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By David Edmondston
Guest Columnist

If you had a choice, what would you want your last words on earth to be? Jesus actually got that opportunity twice! Before both His death and ascension. Chapters 13-17 of John’s gospel record Jesus’ last hours with His disciples before His arrest. Jesus wasn’t one to waste words, so obviously, especially in those last hours, what He had to say was of utmost importance. Chapter 17 is called “the high priestly prayer”. What did He pray for? Three primary things: for He and the Father to be glorified; the disciples to be blessed and protected in carrying out their mission; and for the future church to be unified for ministry.

God being glorified involves two aspects: one is by people praising and worshiping Him and the other is through His character, nature, and acts being revealed to the world. Jesus accomplished that through His life and ministry. As for the disciples, He prayed in John 17:15, 17 and 18, “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one…Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” To be sanctified means to be set apart and purified. As Jesus’s representatives, it was vital that the disciples were Christlike in their character and conduct. The same is true for us.

Jesus prayed that His future followers “…may all be one…so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:21) and that “they may be perfected in unity… so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:23) Twice He prayed for unity so that the world would believe and know that the Father sent Jesus. The world comes to know that as the church, we Christians, carry out the work of ministry; loving God and our neighbors as ourselves. As with the Disciples, we must also be Christlike in our character and conduct. Paul wrote in Eph. 4:1, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called”. Implore!! Very strong word. He made similar statements in Phil. 1:27 and 1 Thes. 2:12.

Brennan Manning, a now deceased author and Franciscan Priest, once said, “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” Jesus knew He was to be tried and crucified within hours. His prayer clearly shows His desire for His people to represent Him well as they, and we, carry out our mission of love and truth to the world that still desperately needs it. He gave His life for it. Are you and I walking worthy of Him?

DAVID EDMONDSTON, is the pastor of Trinity Church in Prospect. He can be reached at