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Jesus' call: “Love each other”

February 23, 2022
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Daily Scripture

John 15:9-17

9 “As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete. 12 This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I don’t call you servants any longer, because servants don’t know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because everything I heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you could go and produce fruit and so that your fruit could last. As a result, whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. 17 I give you these commandments so that you can love each other.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Bishop Michael Curry (who preached at Resurrection in 2020) noted how the timing of Jesus’ words took “loving” far beyond fuzzy, fluffy sentimentality: “This was not long before Jesus’ death, when he would show what love looks like; giving of the self, even sacrificing the self for the good and well-being of others.” * “As I have loved you” was a whole new level of loving. Jesus’ followers saw that they couldn’t love that way on their own. Paul called love the first fruit of the Spirit (cf. Galatians 5:22).

  • Jesus began John 15:9 with ten key words: “As the Father loved me, I too have loved you.” As the moon reflects the sun’s light, our love for others reflects God’s love for us. In what practical ways do you live out your commitment to love God and others? To what extent are you able to view self-giving, not self-gratification, as key to the kind of love that makes life genuinely worth living? How can our church be, above all, a living model of God’s love for all people?
  • You invite a non-religious friend to join you at church. He or she asks, “Why should I go to your church?” Do you cite our big buildings, beautiful window, Christmas Eve offering, awards for community service, superb sermons, or wonderful music? How long would it take you to reach Jesus’ way of answering that question: “This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other”?
Prayer

O Lord, help me not to pretend to love as an outward disguise to hide my anger or pain. Let me love from my heart as your love overflows and bubbles out of me to bless others. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Shannon Starek

Shannon Starek

Shannon Starek serves as the Director of Discipleship at Resurrection Downtown. She loves to travel and has been to 49 states, 11 countries and lived in Vancouver, Canada for grad school! When not gallivanting all over the world, she lives in Liberty with her husband, Aaron, and two sons, Owen and Porter.

I love the moon. I know the stars often get noticed more, but the moon is pretty amazing. We see it in different phases, during the night, during the day, and sometimes not at all. And what mesmerizes me about the moon that it is just a rock. Nothing terribly special on it’s own. In fact, we wouldn’t even see it if it weren’t for the sun. The moon gives absolutely no light by itself. It is simply reflecting something it didn’t create or can even produce.

In our reading today, we hear Jesus say, “This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you.” Well, if that’s not a tall order, I don’t know what is. I can sometimes love others as I love myself. But love others as Jesus loves us? Ok, I’ll go ahead and fly to the moon while I’m at it.

When I try to love others by my own strength, I fail miserably. Sure, I can try to give a good gift, serve others, speak kind words. But if I’m being honest, just below the surface there can lie hidden motives…guilt, shame, fear of rejection, wanting the other to love me in return.

But here is where I find my hope…
Psalm 39:37 talks about God’s covenant with David and says, “It shall be established forever; like the moon, a faithful witness in the sky.” The moon…a faithful witness in the sky.

Maybe instead of loving others by my own strength I can look to the moon, take the words from Psalm 39 and simply be “a faithful witness.” For just as the moon reflects the sun’s light, I too can reflect God’s love to others.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

Curry, Bishop Michael. The Power of Love (p. 19). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.