Do you ever get tired of “doing” church? Often, we can get so busy with “doing” that we lose sight of why we’re “doing.” During this time when we are temporarily unable to meet together as a church body, perhaps we will gain a better perspective on what has been keeping us so busy all this time. Trying to get an understanding of the real essence of what our interaction and responsibilities as believers should be is what prompted to me to do a study of the “one anothers” in the Bible earlier this year.
The phrase “one another” is derived from the Greek word “allelon” which occurs approximately 100 times in the New Testament, which gives us plenty of material to study! The first “one another” that I started with was “love one another.” This command occurs at least 16 times in the New Testament and should provide the foundation for why we do all of the other “one anothers” that are presented for us.
In John 13:34 we find one such occurrence. The context is the last supper that Jesus shares with His disciples. He has already washed their feet, broken the bread, and seen Judas depart to complete his dark mission. As soon as Judas leaves the room, Jesus begins to intreat the remaining disciples. His care for them is clear as He addresses them as “My children.” In verses 34 and 35 He says,
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
And so, the framework for the Christian life is laid out in its simplest form. So simple and yet so intricate, complicated, and sometimes downright difficult to do.
Jesus tells them how they are to love by pointing to His own example, “as I have loved you.”
How had Jesus loved them?
Could it be that in His daily, faithful, patient interactions with them over the last several years He was modeling what their love should look like? What an extraordinary opportunity these men had to be in such an intimate, familiar relationship with the Creator!
Of course, His most recent example of love which was surely fresh in their minds, was the washing of their feet. Could we show love to others by serving them?
He went on to demonstrate how He loved with His ultimate sacrifice, a cruel crucifixion to win forgiveness for them.
And still, He wasn’t done showing His love. He rose again and appeared to them to commission these men to reach the world. But His demonstration of love was still not done. He sent back His Holy Spirit to indwell the believers, so that they would never be alone.
And so, He gave us a template for loving others. How does His example of love translate into my life today as a believer? There are many applications that must be true from Christ’s example, but the main quality of His love that I would like to leave for you and me to ponder is the fact that His love was tenaciously enduring. Some questions to ask ourselves would be – how did Christ’s love endure and continues to endure in spite of obstacles? And, how do I have opportunity to mirror His love by tenaciously enduring in my love for others?