While I’m Away…

“My children, I will be with you only a little longer.  You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now:  Where I am going, you cannot come.

“A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:33-35.

It’s as if Jesus were saying,  “While I’m away, the best means for those around you to know that you are my disciples is if you love one another.”  Just like any boss, business owner or ruler Jesus had business to attend to we couldn’t understand, so we have to wait until He’s finished with whatever that business is for Him to come back and bring us home.  It’s not like it has to take Him 2000 years to build a city or homes for us; He’s God, so whatever He’s doing must be important or He wouldn’t have left us behind.

I confess I don’t understand God the well.  There’s so much nuance in Scriptures that anyone who claims to have a complete grasp of them is lying as far as I can tell.  I’ve met enough theology professors and men who study the Word of God constantly to know one person cannot take all that God is or come close to grasping His purpose for us.

And this is what makes me trust and serve Him.

Right now God wants us to learn to trust Him in the most uninviting circumstances imaginable and in this way become loving people despite what we encounter.  The test of our faith would not be a true test if we didn’t have opposition, which means if our lives are free of frustration, we’re being set up for a fall.  Over confidence in the continuity of the good life  will set us up to be disappointed when the crash happens.

Love is kind when all else is unkind.  Love speaks of the good when there’s no one else who’ll notice it.  Love rebukes the evil so as to promote the good.  Love stands for right no matter what the hateful do.  Love does good to all, deserving or not.  If we practiced love toward each other this way, what would those who watch know about our God?  What would the message be if the world saw us demonstrating love toward everyone in our path?  What would the witness be like if we constantly responded in loving ways to those who least deserve it?

The greatest test of a person’s connection to Christ is not their understanding of Scriptures or deep truths of God, but love being demonstrated in their lives.  Jesus’ instruction to the disciples addressed a group of men divided by lust for position, greed for power, prestige and the wealth being close the King of kings would bring.  They were so far removed from the true wealth at this point the Master had to tell them what He expected for they hadn’t learned it by this time.  I think it made Jesus sad and a little disappointed that even those closest to Him ignored or simply couldn’t grasp this basic foundation block of the kingdom of heaven.  I’m sure He expected them to fail, but it still probably hurt His heart to know they didn’t understand His teaching.

At the same time, that’s why He gave these instructions, because He knew they would get it eventually.  Once He was raised to life and their hope was restored, they would begin to grasp in leaps and bounds everything He had taught them in word and deed.

Gives hope for us, huh.

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