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Pastor’s Column 7/7/2024

Updated: Jul 9

PASTOR’S COLUMN


“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.  Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

John 13:34-35, NLT                                                                                                                                                    

                                               

“What We And The World Need!”

 

I have read this Scripture passage for much of my life, and I’ve always wondered what kind of love the disciples had, that was so in need of an overhaul. It seemsto me; Jesus was introducing a kind of love to His disciples that was foreign to them. The question is, “What was the purpose or object of their love?” The disciples were much like us, for we say one thing about each other, but we feel completely different.  I do believe the disciples were sincere in their affections for people in general, and especially the bond they had for each other. But what they lacked was the kind of love Jesus possessed. The love Jesus had was “unconditional.” This meant the concern Jesus had for a person didn’t have to be sifted through certain external biases. We see Jesus healing Jews and Gentiles; men, women, and children; the poor and the wealthy. Jesus sought no material gain from helping people, He only required that they return home;become morally responsible; be reconciled to their families, and change. The love Jesus gave His disciples as a new commandment was to illustrate His life, and the sacrificial way He lived. No doubt, some of the disciples followedrabbinic commentary that suggested you can love a fellow Jew but hate your enemy. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who misuse you.”Back in 1983, I was taking an evening stroll with an Israeli friend in the seaport area of Netanya, Israel. We came upon a group of young people enjoying themselves at a dance hall. Suddenly my friend’s countenance changed, and used language I had not heard him use before. He was Jewish, and the youth were Palestinians. He had nothing good to say about them. I realized his idea of God’s love was limited. I knew the chasm between the groups was ancient and complicated, but I felt deeply there had to be another way. Jesus offers that new way. It is the Christ’s love that reconciles us to each other. This I know, because like my friend, we’ve been there. The barriers that separate us, are not greater than Christ’s love!

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