Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How will we score? part II

The second mark of discipleship reminds me of ripples in a pond . . . for when we show this, we send out ripples that reach far further than we can imagine.

In verse 34, Jesus told them:

                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.

You know, it just doesn't make as much difference if we memorize and recite oodles of Scripture verses. Or if we give buckets of money in the offerings that are taken up. The most important thing, the thing that makes the memorization and the giving "work" is whether or not we show love. The Bible tells us that the world will know we are His followers by our love. Christ wants His followers to be known by how they love and minister to one another.

Maybe we can help a divorced person know that God doesn't love divorce, but He loves divorcees. Maybe we can comfort someone who is grieving. Maybe we can minister to someone who has lost their home and belongings by helping them find a job, as well as driving them to the food bank or the clothing distribution. Maybe we know someone who is struggling to put a blended family together, and we have some experience with that, so we pray for and counsel them.

There are so many ways that we can show love. Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone were to look at us or our church, and say, "Wow, those Christians really love one another, and folks on the outside, too!"
Now we have discovered two boxes on the scorecard -- a desire to glorify God, and an unfailing love for one another.
The third part of the score card is undying loyalty to Jesus. Let's look act verses 36-38:

                Simon Peter asked Him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus replied,
                "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later."
                Peter asked, "Why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life
                for you." Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for
                me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me
                three times!"

Oh, that had to hurt. You know it must have.
How loyal are we? Do we have an unflinching loyalty that will always be there?

Let's also look at Matthew 16:21-22:

                Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem
                and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and
                teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day
                be raised to life.
                Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, "Never, Lord!" he
                said. "This shall never happen to you!"
                Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a
                stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God,
                but the things of men."

Does it seem to you like Peter was always being tempted by Satan? And I don't know about you, but that is awfully familiar to me. Impulsive, motivated by love, jumping to conclusions, jumping in to help at a moment's notice . . . (it seems that Jesus was always  praying for Peter to be able to resist those temptations, too.)
It was Peter who wanted to walk on water. "You need someone to walk on water, Lord? I will!" Then Jesus said, "All right" and he did walk on water. For a moment.
It was Peter who wanted to build three tabernacles or shelters on the Mount of Transfiguration.
It was Peter who was always speaking up, always charging ahead. I find myself in his shoes often; do you?
Whether it was the correct thing to do at the moment or not, Peter was always demonstrating his loyalty to Jesus. At least with his words.
We'll talk more about this tomorrow.


Belinda said...

We often think badly of Peter for his denial and the cock crowing. But I have to be honest and say that I don't know that I would have done any differently. Fear is a great stumbling block to us. Even in our great love for Christ, we/I often remain silent when I should speak, and remain still when I should move.

In the world today, there are more and more instances where we need to stand our ground and speak our beliefs. Unfortunately, the opposition is strong and cruel and it's hard to stand up to it. Oh God, give us the strength to stand!

Cathy said...

I know without a shadow of a doubt, that I would have done the same thing as Peter that night. Confrontation of any kind terrifies me. And confrontation is what we often get when we speak up for Jesus.