34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)
Love. Over-talked and under-lived. That is the theme that we live this time of year. I believe everyone enjoys feeling doted on and treasured. But how many of us enjoy being the doters?
When I read the life of Christ, I never fail to be humbled by the deep, abiding, and sincere love that he embodied for all of mankind. He was love from the moment he was born in humility in a lowly stable until He died a death of scorn on a cross reserved for the lowest of the low. He deserved none of it… but love caused Him to identify with our shame.
As He hung upon the cruel cross, He made provision for His beloved mother, telling her to behold her son and for John to behold his mother. He wanted her to be loved and cared for so much that it was on His mind as he hung in agony. There was something about the love that the beloved disciple lived out that made Jesus assign him the role that should have gone to one of his brothers. Such love.
But before that moment, He also made provision for His treasured friends to be loved and provided for after He left this earthly dwelling. The caretaker? Each other! The disciples were assigned the momentous duty, on the night He was betrayed, to show love one for another- “As I have loved you.”
How did Christ love? He loved by example, living out the will of the Father before these chosen men. Gently guiding and teaching them, He made their day to day existence a laboratory of love. When they were hungry, He multiplied the fishes and the loaves. When they were fighting, He was the peace maker. When they were afraid, He was the calmer of the storm. When they had sick family, He healed them. When they failed, He stepped in the gap and performed what they could not. When they needed discipline or rebuke, He administered it with both authority and love.
But now He was leaving. How would men know these were the guys He had chosen to continue His legacy? They would look like Him. Live like Him! How? But walking a love journey that was over and above the usual. By sacrificing for each other. Covering for each other. By serving one another.
You say you love Jesus? That is proven not in the way you read your Bible, but in the way you treat your church family. You whisper words of worship and undying love? Live it out sacrificially so that you can send money to the persecuted church throughout the world. Is Jesus the center of your life? Forgive your brother his shortcomings.
Loving your brother is too important to cut corners. It must cost us time. Energy. Resources. Emotional investment. But when we live love, Christ is honored. His Name is uplifted, and He is granted the glory due His Name.
Oh Lord, forgive me when I walk in selfishness rather than love. Forgive me when I am the weak link in the body of Christ rather than an unbreakable part that that lives to maintain the cords of love and unity. Help us to be lovers more than talkers. Let it be genuine and eye-catching to a world searching for meaning. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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