Thursday, 20 September 2012

John 13: Love

In John 13 we discover the importance of love between believers and Jesus shows us how it's done.
  • How do you demonstrate love to others?
  • Have you heard of the 5 love languages? What do you think of them? What are yours (take the test to find out)?
  • What is the tale-tell sign of a Christian? What makes us different?
 Last chapter we saw Mary wash Jesus' feet. This was an act of worship that recognised who Jesus was: the Lord and Saviour of all. In John 13, Jesus turns this act on its head by washing the feet of his disciples. Somewhat understandably, they are reluctant to let him do it. Why should God's own son stoop down and clean the detritus off the feet of his followers?

Although the disciples were right in thinking that Jesus was teacher and Lord, Jesus had come to humble himself and to serve others. Philippians 2:6-8 explains this perfectly:
Though he was God,
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
    he took the humble position of a slave
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
    he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
How amazing that Jesus, who was God, came to die for us. Jesus was teaching his disciples humility and telling them to do the same. But, again, it comes down to recognising who Jesus is and what he did. Surely if God of the universe could do this then who are we to put ourselves first? Who do we think we are if we are not willing to stoop to clean the feet of others? Others that Jesus was willing to die for? The cross was the most humbling act of humanity.

Verse 34 is the beginning of a repeated theme in the next few chapters. Jesus gives us a new commandment: to love one another. He also tells us that this is what will make us distinct and let people know that we follow him. Loving your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ may be hard, but it's got to be done.

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