If we are looking for a map for how to navigate life with love, the first place to look is the Gospels in the Bible. Studying how Jesus interacted with all the people who entered his life gives a clear picture of proper responses – often responses to tough or touchy interactions. If we want to live like Jesus we can then apply his ways to our lives. The problem is that living like Jesus isn’t easy.
To ease our collective conscience, we like to play the “God card” on behalf of Jesus. We point out that he certainly lived right since he was God and although that’s not incorrect, it misses the point that human Jesus did right because he made right decisions. He made right decisions because he was committed to living according to the will of his Father. Since we have the same Heavenly Father we can live more like Jesus then we want to admit.
In this study and the next we are reading through Jesus’ interaction with his disciples as he gets close to his death. In John 13 Jesus has washed the feet of the disciples and announced that one of them will betray him. In this context we get a look at his relationship with the disciples and his commitment to his Father. We’ll see that Jesus’ love was costly, caring, commanded, conspicuous and committed. Today we’ll concentrate mainly on the cost of his love and the resulting glory that it unleashed.
In John 13:31-32 we read, “When he had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is seen for who he is, and God seen for who he is in him. The moment God is seen in him, God’s glory will be on display. In glorifying him, he himself is glorified—glory all around!” (The Message)
After Judas leaves (to betray Jesus) God’s glory is on display through Jesus. God is glorified, Jesus is glorified, there is glory all around and it is obvious to all. Again we want to say, “Well of course he’s glorified, he’s Jesus.” But I want you to listen to these words the Apostle Paul wrote to the followers of Jesus in Rome. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)
We often quote the beginning of this thought during difficult times, but if we continue reading we discover that in life’s difficulties God’s purpose is for us to live like his Son. We can do this because we have been justified and ultimately glorified. We are glorified – you and me! Our actions can reveal the glory of God to those around us. There is way more to us than people struggling to do good, so we can stay off God’s “list.” We are loved by God, we are his children, we have his DNA, we are glorified, we are declared holy and we are citizens of heaven.
Living a life of godly love is costly. It will take us out of our comfort zone, it will require sacrifice, it will mean relinquishing control of our lives to our Heavenly Father – it will not always feel safe, but it will be ultimately the most rewarding decision of our life.