January 6, Monday

Today’s AMI QT blog, written by Pastor Barry Kang of Symphony Church in Boston, was originally posted on March 7, 2014.

 

Devotional Thoughts for This Morning

“The Supremacy of Love”

1 John 2:1-6 (ESV)

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 

In what manner is the commandment to love our brother (and sister) both old and new?  

It is old in the sense that the Law has always been about love.  Jesus taught that the Law and the Prophets were all summed up in the law to love God and one’s neighbor [the Great Commandment (cf. Matt. 22:37-40)].  Paul echoes this in Galatians 5:14: “The entire law is summed up in a single command, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” God’s commandments have always been about love.

At the same time, the commandment to love is new in the sense that Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Law to love, and now we too are able to love because of what Jesus has done [“the commandment . . . is true in him and in us” ( vs. 8)].  In Jesus, we are forgiven (v. 12); able to know God as our Father (v. 13); have overcome the evil one (v. 13), and have the word of God abiding in us (14).  Undoubtedly, our capacity to love our brothers and sisters is based on recognizing and appreciating the labor of love that Jesus has done on our behalf, beginning with his forgiveness.  Most likely, that’s what Jesus meant when he said of the woman who wiped his feet with tears, “I tell you her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little” (Lk. 7:47).  As long as we hold onto our righteousness, it is will lessen our indebtedness to him.     

Is there a brother or sister in your life that you are having trouble loving?  Let us remind ourselves of the love we have received from Jesus. This will be the basis and strength from which we can begin to love.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the ways that You have loved me.  You have always loved me, but now am I reminded that Your love has forgiven me and set me free.  I am more than a conqueror because of Your love. I want to love in a new way, not based on my capacity to love, but on Your capacity to love. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: John 7 (Luke 20)


Lunch Break Study  

Read John 13:1-15; 34-35: Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 34 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. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is the significance of the setting of this passage (v.1)?
  2. What does Jesus do and to whom does he do this?
  3. What do we learn about the new commandment that we see in verse 34?
  4. Whose feet can you wash today (metaphorically speaking)?

Notes

  1. John tells us in verse 1 that Jesus knew that his hour to depart from the world to go to the Father had come.  In other words, this is Jesus’ last teaching and commandment to his followers whom he loved. Last words are always significant.
  2. Foot washing was one of the lowest of tasks for a servant, often reserved for gentile slaves (as Jewish slaves thought that foot washing was beneath them).  The sight of Jesus stripping off his outer clothes to wash the disciples’ feet certainly startled Peter who would have never considered doing it himself. Even more amazing, Jesus also washed the feet of Judas whom he knew (we are told in v.11) would betray him later. 
  3. Jesus’ example in humbly serving his followers by washing their feet gives us a very practical and dramatic demonstration of what it is to love.  Loving one another does not mean that we feel warm and fuzzy things about each other, but that we humbly and sacrificially choose to serve.  
  4. Personal response

Evening Reflection

Are you showing love to others in the way that Jesus showed love to you?  Is there someone that God is asking you to love in a more sacrificial way?  Let us journal and pray about how we can do so.

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