Monday, September 8, 2014

John 13:31-38 How will we score?

When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

Last week was pretty tough, ay? I learned a lot from our study, and I hope you got something from it, too.  This week we are not letting up -- we are still examining ourselves. Hey! You may be protesting -- take it easy on everyone!  Well, we have to look closely at ourselves when the Spirit shows us things that are important, right? Let's dive in!

If there were a test that could reveal how faithful a Christian we were, or measured the level of our spiritual walk, would you like to take that? Or would you shy away from it?  On the surface, where most people see us, we like to think that we appear to be doing a good job of being a Christian. We even like to think to ourselves that we are doing a good job. If you were to ask me, "How are you doing in your faith walk? In your spiritual life?"  I sure would want to answer "just fine!"

But in reality, things may not be going very well. We may not be growing spiritually. We may not realize it. What if we had a test that could measure the level of our commitment to Christ? Remember when you were a kid, and you would back up to the wall or the doorway and mom or dad would make a mark to show how you had grown?
In John 13:31-38, Jesus provides us with the real marks of true discipleship -- kind of like a measuring stick to show us how we are doing. 
A score card, if you will.
Remember what happened in our study last week? Jesus and his disciples were eating the Passover meal in the upper room. Jesus knew full well that His arrest would come the next day. But He began the evening by washing their feet, as we studied last week.  Then they sit down to their meal, and while they are at the table, Jesus says that one of them will betray Him. In the midst of all the turmoil and questions, Judas quietly leaves the room. Once he is gone, Jesus and the other eleven men are there, and it is almost as if a cool breeze has wafted through the room. The air is fresh and clean, and the servant of evil is gone. Jesus begins to talk about what it means to be His disciple. Let's listen in, because this is important!

The first thing that Jesus tells them, is that one of the marks of discipleship is a desire to glorify God. Check verse 31 again:

               After Judas had left, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified and
               God is glorified in Him."

He is telling them, "I am going to be glorified" and we are blessed to be able to look backwards and understand -- He is talking about His own crucifixion.
How, people ask, can any glory come out of that? The Son of God, hanging on a rough-hewn, bloody cross . . . how can glory come out of suffering and pain, and death? There is only one way: on the cross, Jesus defeated Satan. On the cross He became the sacrifice to redeem us from our sins; to take away the sins that separate us from God. He built a bridge between man and God so that we could be together again.
But wait! There's more . . . God will also be glorified through Me, he says. Again, we find the answer to how this happens, on the cross of Christ. On the cross, Jesus reveals one more time to all of us who are so blind, a picture of what God is really like. We can see the love and mercy of God, and we see His justice as well. We can see with our own eyes, and with our hearts, the righteousness, holiness and power of God. It is displayed there for us to see and understand -- and Jesus willingly gave Himself on the cross so that we could see.

What does that mean in our lives?
I believe that Jesus is telling us that whenever we show the world God's love, mercy and grace in our own lives, then God is being glorified through us.

Can we influence others for Christ? Can we show them by how we handle the tough times and the good, that we know Him? Can we speak a word for Him in our conversations?  Even in casual contacts with folks, can we say something that shows we rely on Him, or that we are grateful for His providence and care? Such small things . . . but they're not really small, are they? Nope! All of these are ways that others can see us giving glory to the Father.

So, how are we doing? This is our first test on the scorecard.
Are we busy trying to glorify ourselves, or are we trying to glorify God?

1 comment:

Belinda said...

Here I go, shying away from that yardstick.....

However, I do often try to figure out a way to enter some phrase or word that will reveal my faith, when having a conversation with someone. Even the simple word "blessing" can make a difference. Or "the Lord knows". Maybe I'm spinning my wheels, but I do try.