Are You a Bridge?

John 17:20-26 (NLT)

20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. 24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!

25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”
When I was growing up, my Great Aunt Sue lived across the Kanawha River from Glen Falls. Below the falls was the creaky old bridge we would cross to drive to her house.

At the far end of the bridge was a small trailer where a man sat to collect toll. This was not a toll bridge, but he didn’t care. To cross the bridge, you had to pay him money. He was an unnecessary and unauthorized obstruction to reaching the other side.

What is the purpose of a bridge? According to the Googler’s friend, Wikipedia, a bridge is “constructed for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle, which is usually something that is otherwise difficult or impossible to cross.”

A bridge provides a way for us to reach something otherwise unattainable.
In today’s scripture from John 17, we are overhearing Jesus’s conversation with God. Jesus is praying not only for his disciples, but also for those who will believe in Christ because of them. If you think about it, Jesus, in this passage, is praying for us.

I think it is more than amazing that Christ prayed for you and for me, for each of us and for all of us over 2000 years ago. He prayed that we would be evidence to the world that God sent Christ to us and loved us in the same way God has loved Christ. Did you catch that? He prayed that we would be evidence that God loves us the same way God loves Christ.

We are called to be the bridge so that other people can reach the unattainable conclusion that they are loved by God – beyond measure.

What kind of bridge will you be? Will you be a bridge like Christ – opening the way for others to come to new life? Or will you be the obstacle like the man who collected tolls on the way to my Aunt Sue’s house?

Prayer: Loving God, open the way for us to be bridges to the knowledge of your love instead of obstacles. In your son’s name, Amen.
Kim Matthews, Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church, Huntington, WV,, Vice President of Foundation, Certified Lay Minister, Associate Conference Lay Leader
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