Thursday, September 29th John 13:33-35

Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13:33-35

 

Yesterday we heard the Great Commission; today we hear the Great Commandment.  “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another…by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

Often we misunderstand the intentions behind these two commands from Jesus.  We think that the Great Commission is about “out-reach”, about mission outside the church, and the Great Commandment is about “in-reach”, about ministry inside the church.  Actually, both commands are about both mission and ministry.  The problem with our misunderstanding is that we end up doing neither.

 

Far too often we get so busy with all that goes into the in-reach side of the Great Commission (all the effort and apparatus it takes for weekly worship, baptizing babies of the congregation, Christian education) that we never really get around to mission, to reaching new people, making new disciples, or even supporting missionaries who do.

 

Far too often, our best attempts at church fellowship, the in-reach side of the Great Commandment, leaves the majority of our people untouched.  We do church life in a manner that ends up with fellow members being, at best, acquaintances.  Truly loving one another requires a depth of commitment and investment that is much closer to brother and sister than friends.  It takes time together.  Talking about things that matter.  Disclosing things that we would rather not say.  Working side by side to make a difference in the world.

 

Yet…

 

We ought never forget the promises attached to both of these commands.  In the Great Commission, Jesus promises to always with be us, in us, around us.  Jesus will never leave us.  And in the Great Commandment, his call to love is preceded by the love he has always shown, and continues to show, to us.  We love because God first loved us.

 

As we remember these promises, a new light shines on the path before us.  We can begin to realize that “church” and all we associate with a building and what happens inside it is not Jesus’ point.  Jesus’ concern is for the world.  For those living disconnected from Christian community, for those who will see new hope for their own lives when they see Christian people acting with love in the world.

 

We each have a role to play in that.  We each have a part that no one else can play.  Both the Great Commission and the Great Commandment have been entrusted to us.  It’s time for us to show up, suit up and get in the game.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, thank you again for those who have reached out to us and taught us about you.  Thank you for the living signs of your love we see when we see ordinary Christians love in extraordinary ways through their service, concern and generosity.  Help us do our part in your plan to redeem the world.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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One Response to “Thursday, September 29th John 13:33-35”

  1. Sharon Longnecker Says:

    Thank you so much. You have addressed so well these two critical directives from our Lord Jesus and given a new perspective. As usual, they have been shared with lots of folks dear to me.
    Sharon Longnecker

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