I don’t know why this has been impressed upon me, but for the last several months, weeks, and days, off and on, this stuff has been floating around in my mind. I have had thoughts of home, family and friends, couched in the life of Jesus. I have come up with the following, though not complete, as with any seeking of knowledge or thought, is this process ever complete? So, with this scripture as a jumping off point, let the journey begin. Grab those “Seven League Boots” and let’s start trekking.
John 14:1-3 (NASB)
Jesus Comforts His Disciples
1“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
I am totally struck by the love that Jesus showed to those around him, close friends/family and fresh acquaintances. Here he is talking to his disciples. He’s coming back to get His friends. I’ve told several of my friends and family that I would love to have millions of dollars and be able to build houses for all those that would like to live in close proximity to each other. A community made up of friends and family. I understand where Jesus is coming from and why he said this.
And he didn’t pick and choose people. He took them all, these people who at one time or another failed to live up to their potential and let him down. If we are truthful, we all know we are not perfect. We aren’t sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. That’s our imperfect state. Try as we might, we will never ever quit. Knowing this, God went ahead and created us, God sent his son to die for the whole lot of us, and Jesus is coming to get us . . . that blows me away. But, as this could go off in many tangents, I want to focus on the love here and how much we should care, just as he did.
John 14:12-15 (NASB)
12“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. 15If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
A couple things about these few verses. First, Christ says that we will do the same works that he did, because we believe in Him and because He goes to his father. Second, he says whatever we ask in His name, He’ll do them, but includes a caveat, the Father must be glorified in the thing asked for. Big caveat there, he didn’t promise anything we want. Lastly, He reiterates, He will do it. Third, we are told to keep His commandments. If we love Christ we will do these things and keep his commandments. My question then, what are those commandments?
Romans 13:8-10 (NASB)
8“Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Elsewhere in the Old and New Testament, this command and idea is stated. And if God has inspired this to be written this much, then it bears looking at. These verses also lump in “love the Lord God with all your heart and strength,” with the loving your neighbor as yourself. You can check this our on your own.
Mark 12:30 (NASB)
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
We all love ourselves and take very good care of ourselves. We make sure we feed ourselves, dress ourselves, keep ourselves healthy, etc. So why don’t we make sure that we do that for our neighbors? To often this love comes with strings attached. We are good at loving people when it doesn’t put an undo burden on us, or if it fits into our schedule. People ask for help or we know they need a hand, and if it doesn’t tie us up for too long, then we’ll do it . . . sometimes grudgingly.
I challenge myself and to all reading, to become aware of this tendency, and pray about it and really think about our purpose in life. To me it is quite simple, first we love God with everything we have and then second, love our neighbors, friends and family. Do I think we’ll do this 100%? Nope, not that deluded, sinners remember. Can we improve and make this a point to pray about and try to change? Absolutely.
Love is the answer. We as a body of Christ, whatever the denomination better start acting like family instead of businesses in competition, and at the worst enemies. As the body of Christ we should be able to walk into any church and be greeted like a brother or sister. We should enjoy visiting other churches and great them like family that we only get to see once in a while.
That’s what I think anyway, and if God said that is the way it should be, then that’s the way I’ll look at it. Who are we to go against the wishes of our God? Part of Faith is looking at the way things are, and saying, “Forget the reality, God said this.” Faith is action, based on the belief, hanging yourself on God’s word, and then having the confidence that if God and Jesus said it, then that’s the truth. I’ll go with what God has said should be true and not the reality I see.
Parting shot: We know that while we were/are yet sinners Christ died for us, and He loved us that much, then we had better start trying to love each other with that level of love and compassion.
Grace and Peace to all my brothers and sisters!