To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
January/February 2015 Issue – ‘Prepared’
The text set for today’s reading and meditation:
John 13:1-17 (NIVUK): “It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel round his waist.
After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped round him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus replied, ‘You do not realise now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘No,’ said Peter, ‘you shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’
Jesus answered, ‘Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.’ For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them. ‘You call me “Teacher” and “Lord”, and rightly so, for that is what I am.
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
Selwyn starts today’s study with: “Earlier we said that to be ‘a people prepared’ we need to marry both the conservative – conserving the gains of the past – and radical.”
He then says later on: “What are some of the area in which we need to be more radical? First, in the way we love (as Jesus does). We talk a good deal about love in the Church, but how effective are we at actually demonstrating it every day? …
As Christians we need to learn to be a lot more loving if we are to demonstrate to people that Jesus is the One they need. It is time to show the world the full extent of Jesus’ love. ‘By this all men and women will know that you are my disciples,’ said Jesus (John 13:35). Not ‘If you fill stadiums with a hundred thousand people,’ but ‘If you love one another’.”
One of the main stumbling blocks, I feel, is that people have different views, as to what ‘love’ actually is, and the first thing we should be clear about: the standard is NOT human love. In John 13:34, we hear Jesus say: “A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
The point God is making, I think, by calling this old commandment, ‘new’, is that the old way of interpreting this commandment was based on how we (in our fallen, error-prone state) expect to be loved by another; where as, God’s requirement is that we love in accordance with His way, as He has demonstrated in many areas of Scripture, with an excellent example being found in the reading for today (above).
How can we love, in the same way as Jesus loves us? Only through the power of the Holy Spirit, who resides in us. It’s as simple as that, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, it is only ‘natural’ for us to demonstrate God’s love. Do you agree?
In summary, God’s love is radical.
What did you think about Selwyn’s statement; ‘Not if you fill stadiums with a hundred thousand people … .’ Do you think there is an over emphasis on getting people into a church, and success is measured in numbers attending a service; such that there is a greater focus on providing an entertaining experience? I would be interested in your views on this.
I thought that the today’s featured verse on www.biblegateway.com was appropriate: “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:11-12 NIVUK)”