Topic: Seeing Well (November 11, 2016)
Read: John 15:12–17
Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 50; Hebrews 8
You are my friends if you do what I command. John 15:14
Raleigh looks like a powerful dog—he is large and muscular and has a thick coat of fur. And he weighs over 100 pounds! Despite his appearance, Raleigh connects well with people. His owner takes him to nursing homes and hospitals to bring people a smile.
Once, a four-year-old girl spotted Raleigh across a room. She wanted to pet him, but was afraid to get close. Eventually, her curiosity overcame her sense of caution and she spent several minutes talking to him and petting him. She discovered that he is a gentle creature, even though he is powerful.
The combination of these qualities reminds me of what we read about Jesus in the New Testament. Jesus was approachable—He welcomed little children (Matt. 19:13–15). He was kind to an adulterous woman in a desperate situation (John 8:1–11). Compassion motivated Him to teach crowds (Mark 6:34). At the same time, Jesus’s power was astounding. Heads turned and jaws dropped as He subdued demons, calmed violent storms, and resurrected dead people! (Mark 1:21–34; 4:35–41; John 11).
The way we see Jesus determines how we relate to Him. If we focus only on His power, we may treat Him with the detached worship we’d give a comic book superhero. Yet, if we overemphasize His kindness, we risk treating Him too casually. The truth is that Jesus is both at once—great enough to deserve our obedience yet humble enough to call us friends.
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for the privilege of knowing You. I acknowledge Your gentle power. I worship You as the Son of God—full of grace and glory.
What we think of Jesus shows in how we relate with Him.
Insight: Jesus spoke of “a new commandment” to love one another (John 13:34). The command to love is not entirely new (1 John 2:7), for God commanded every Jew to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 5:43; 22:39). What is new is that Jesus raised the bar to the highest standard of loving: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). He used the words servants and friends to contrast the new level of love and intimacy we now have with Him. The one who loved you as He loved Himself is a true friend, one who will humbly and lovingly serve you (13:1–17), and one who sacrificially loved you, even laying down His life for you (15:13).