Each week our congregation has avaliable to them a devotional titled “Walk and Talk.” It’s purpose is to give people an opportunity to go a little bit deeper with the lesson from Sunday’s sermon. The readings are generally built off of the core idea from the sermon and the questions, hopefully, guide us into integrating the concept into a life practice.
During the seasons of Lent, we are traveling through the book of John and Jesus’ last week before the crucifixion. The first passage this week is from John 13:21-35 and it contains, what I believe is, one of the most significant statements ever made by Jesus. It is one of those passages from scripture that has been a constant voice in my journey. Have you ever had a verse or passage like this?… That just always seems to challenge you and stand out as extremely important… That is what verses 34 and 35 are to me. They read:
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)
I have heard people say that when someone knows they are about to die, that tends to be when they say what is really important. Maybe that is part of why this statement seems so critical to me. It is one of the last instructions that Jesus emphasizes to his disciples before he dies.
I know one of the reasons it stands out to me is because I often wrestle with the question, how is following Jesus any different than just being a good person? How is my life different when I choose to follow Jesus?
This passage gives me an answer to those questions… The way I love other people (especially those who are also following Jesus) should be the difference. This constantly challenges me. It challenges me in both my actions and my attitudes. It is a challenge I cannot get away from and at the beginning of this Lenten week, I am reminded of it again….