Monday 21 August 2017

Bible Book:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.” (vv. 15-16)

John 14:15-17 Monday 21 August 2017

Psalm: Psalm 65


So, how about this as a strange definition of love? 'If you loveme, you will obey me.' If anyone other than Jesus were speaking, Ithink we would respond that this does not sound like love as weusually experience it. Obedience is not a popular word these days -what then can we learn from what Jesus said here?

These words put us right in the centre of an issue that allChristians have needed to think carefully about for the last 2,000years. How do we find the right balance between a faith in, andlove for, God which is genuinely felt and transforms our innerlives (no-one wants a faith which is just about grim obedience) anda faith which is too focused on what we feel and what we believewhich never results in action? Do we need to ask ourselves if ourcontext encourages us to emphasise one side of that balance at theexpense of the other?

We also need to bear in mind that these couple of verses arepart of a longer speech in which Jesus is preparing his disciplesfor when he will die, be raised to life but then leave themphysically and need to be read as part of that greater whole. InJohn's Gospel Jesus had already discussed faith, the promise thathis disciples will dwell in his Father's house and the idea thatdiscipleship means continuing to do his works, before he said this.In fact, the context for these verses is not just that speech butalso the stories about Jesus on that crucial night. The work whichJesus has just done is to wash the feet of his disciples (John13:1-11), while the commandment he has just given is to loveone another (John 13:34-35).

In these verses Jesus described two further facets of amulti-faceted discipleship. Even this commandment is balanced by apromise that the Holy Spirit will dwell in us. Perhaps the questionfor us is how we hold on to all those facets.

To Ponder

  • How would you describe the relationship between your innerfaith and your outer discipleship as it stands today?
  • If discipleship is multifaceted, what shapes your Christianliving? 
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