Yesterday I looked at four word pictures that Jesus left for us in his last week before his death and resurrection. Download "Lasting Images" if you missed it. One of the images was of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. Jesus told Peter...if you don't let me wash your feet you have no part in me. In other words.. Peter, if you can't embrace my role as servant then you have no business being my disciple because that's who I am and I'm asking you to be a servant to others too. Peter needed to reshape his idea of Jesus/God.
If I would have had the time I would have developed that thought a bit. In the letter of First John in the Bible John talks about loving others. Notice especially verses 11 and 12...
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 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 4:7-12
I like to contrast the way I think a verse will end with the way it is written. I find it interesting that verse 11 doesn't say...Since God so loved us, we also ought to love God.
Why not? Typically we love people who love us. We treat people well who treat us well. To get us to love those who don't love us is nearly impossible. But that's our calling. So God says, look, I sent my Son so that you might live. Now, you don't have to do anything back for me but instead I want you to love others, even your enemies. By this people will know that you are my disciples and that I am real.
Do you see the wisdom in this? Maybe this will help you love that nasty person at work or your grumpy neighbor or even that person living in your house who seems to constantly get on your nerves! Don't love them because they are so lovable. Love them because God showed you so much love.
I hope to see you on Good Friday and Easter!