Journal John 13 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: (Jesus speaking) “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
Truly, truly, I say to you: A servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” John 13:13-17
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (Result) By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
Observation: Jesus gives a baseline for action so that the world will know about being Jesus’ disciples—love one another. What does that mean? It is worthy of some study and meditation, right?
Analysis: I wrote the other day about using my imagination to fill in the narrative in the gospels to create context. That is not the same as being firm in accounting for what God says to be aware of and pursue.
Take these references for example. Think about the audience Jesus is addressing. Notice that Jesus is referencing specifically the disciples. Restated, Jesus’ instruction could be: “The world will know I am real and recognize Me if you do this thing: Peter, love John. John, love James. Somebody love the Zebedee brothers, please. Even somebody be explicit in loving Judas…”
Is this a (or THE) precursor to executing the Great Commission effectively?
How do I know if I am a disciple? Is it because I self-identify as a disciple of Jesus? In many cases today, I think that is the only answer to give—but is it an incomplete, inadequate answer?
There are oodles of scripture references that only pertain to disciples in the local church. Folks, including me, stretch these out to folks in the world, unbelievers, as a measure of witness, love, and care—being, by extension, the Hand of our Lord to the world. I really cannot argue about that.
But what about hurting people within the local church? What about their growth? Their mental health, feeling like they should be pursuing a Cause greater than themselves? Who is caring about establishing and enforcing a biblically based full Vision of the Gospel?
I am going to be candid: I am not the right example of any of the above, except for being one of those who wishes it were different. My wife and I stay home here in Parrish because of medical issues and get in public infrequently. I can’t say I long for fellowship (I have a few friends that stay in contact with me, but they are not from this fellowship). Bluntly, I know we do not belong to any of the internal cliques that have naturally and organically grown from constant personal exposure. I know how this works because it was the same in the former church I attended, only I was the one in a clique and people left because they couldn’t get into it. So, it is true: What goes around, comes around. I reap what I sow—in this case feeling as left out as others did with me.
So, what brings on this creeping mudslide of whining, grumbling, and complaining? I don’t know, except an attitude of unease. Maybe my age, my impending retirement, a feeling of lacking a purpose…except, I look into the mirror and see that my purpose, a vision, is still there even if I have to battle my feelings to square my shoulders for the battle to come.
Humbling myself, not to think of myself of more importance than I ought, purposing to walk worthy of the Gospel no matter what in my given walk of life.
Serve the local church. Look to the health of the church inward as well as preaching the Gospel outward. Wash a foot or two…
Prayer: Father, through all of this, help me to surrender and humble myself to have a mind of service, lessening my desire to be served.
Ricky Two Shoes