May they all be one, Father, as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be one in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me.”
John 17:21

Christ in Gethsemane (1873) by Carl Heinrich Bloch

I was in my thirties when my calling to filmmaking became increasingly clear. I knew that I wanted to do things the right way… I wanted less of me and more of the Lord (John 3:30). Thus, I spent many, many hours in prayer, fasting, and Bible study to make sure I understood the whys and wherefores of what I hoped to do.

When all was said and done, I arrived at three scriptural underpinnings for the Messenger Films ministry. The first was 1 Chronicles 16:24: Declare God’s glory among the nations… The second was Matthew 28:19: Go and make disciples… And the third was John 17:21, which I might paraphrase (in my context) as: Make films fostering unity in the body of Christ in order for the world to believe in Jesus.

Why was John 17:21 so important to me? I think the key is found in that little phrase … so that the world will believe… If you’re going to do something in life, you might as well go for a worldwide impact, right?

Living in Belize, Central America

Friends, I’ve been a Christian almost forty years now… I’ve traveled to fifty-five countries and lived in four of them. And if I’ve learned anything at all during this time it would be this: True Christians love God and love one other. Time and time again in my travels, I’ve had the beautiful experience of meeting a fellow believer for the first time and feeling as though I’d known that person all my life (even though we had just met). How do you explain it? It’s rather supernatural I’d say. More to the point, it’s a testimony that Christians are different. Their Spirit-led love for God and each other sets them apart. And when people “outside the camp” see our unity and love, they will be suitably impressed; some, we trust, will even come to faith.

Yet here we are at the end of 2020 with deep divisions marking the Christian community, divisions even among Christians living in the same country and speaking the same language! What has gone wrong? Did Jesus pray in vain that night in the Garden of Gethsemane? I can’t believe he did. So, what’s the problem? Could it be willful disobedience on our part?

In Bosnia and Herzegovina

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples,” said Jesus (John 13:35). That’s so simple, a child could understand it. And children do understand it. The problem is with the grown-ups. Which leads me to say that if you’re not willing to love your brother and sister, please don’t call yourself a Christian. You’re giving the rest of us a bad name.

Take a look at what happened in the early days of the church when the believers “broke bread together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people… The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47).

On location in Istanbul

Beloved, when we love one another, God dwells in us and speaks through us to a very lost and hurting world. There is no place for hatred and division in the Body of Christ. If you hate, or hold others in contempt, you do not know God for God is love. You are shortcutting God’s grace and putting a stumbling block in front of those who may be seeking the truth.

Jesus prayed that we would be one. No one is saying we all have to think alike. That ain’t gonna happen. And it shouldn’t happen. God loves diversity! But as the New Year dawns, can I ask that we make it our goal to love and respect one another? In so doing, we will help the world believe that Jesus is the Messiah—the anointed one of God.

Production Crew for Undaunted

And be on the lookout for more movies from Messenger Films fostering love and unity among Christians worldwide. That’s part of who we are.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

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Cristóbal Krusen is a filmmaker and author. He founded Messenger Films in 1988.

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