Devotional thoughts on John 15:9-17

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Gospel John 15:9-17

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”

John Masefield, in his poem "Sea Fever," strives to capture the romanticism of being out on the open waters... "And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by." We know why that star is so important! In the midst of constant change in the world of navigation, and in the reality of a life that must be navigated... we need a fixed point or a stable frame of reference to accurately assess where we are and where we need to go.

When you're traveling through the flat lands of Central Illinois back in the 18th century, and everything looks alike after awhile, and you eventually see a pretty good sized hill in Logan County known as Elkhart Hill, you're going to be pretty thankful about that... you have confirmed where you are and have a better idea about where you're going!

I'm glad we have a good reliable and accurate measuring tape at home. Zane keeps thinking that he is as tall as I am, maybe even taller. He keeps standing next to me, and according to him, He has caught up to daddy! That measuring tape is a standard of measurement that is not changing any time soon and it clearly is telling Zane where he is and how far he still has to go to catch up to me! He's an inch or two off!

Our Lord Jesus, understanding that the cross was coming rapidly toward him... understanding that His time with the disciples was coming to a close in the conventional sense, gave them a new commandment, which in truth is the fullest expression of one of the greatest commandments... a true and glorious fixed point of light that will always show us the way... "Love as I have loved you."

Moses told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. This commandment of course is beautiful, but there is a subjective component here... Love your neighbor as yourself. That works great if you know how to properly love yourself! How do you follow this commandment if you have never had longsuffering, committed, nurturing, selfless love modeled for you or extended to you?

Of course, life is much more complicated than simple binary answers... things are not black and white... there are no perfect parents. I think mom and dad modeled genuine godly love pretty well... but I would be in a fairytale land to think that they were perfect examples for me and my younger brother in every word, action, or decision. The best nurturing adults are but a blurry or dark picture when compared to the bright and shining masterpiece of the love of Christ!

Look to the love of Jesus and let His love be your eternal star, guiding you, never misleading you, never moving or changing on you. You want to know what love is? You want to know how to express love or live a life of love? Don't go to the teenager who is infatuated with his new girlfriend and being controlled by his hormones! Don't go to the Arlee Theater and take in a romantic comedy! Don't go to the Facebook Posts of neighbors and acquaintances who only put out what they want you to see about their family... the highlights... not the reality of their day to day lives!

Let us look to the love of Jesus so that we know how to truly love our neighbor. Let us look to the one who sacrificed himself for men and women created in the image of God, some of whom celebrated as they sent him to his death. Let us look to the one who saw and valued and communed with and healed and taught those that others dismissed. The tax collector, the adulterer, the child, the Samaritan, the blind, the leper... Jesus truly saw the Imago Dei within each one... He saw the beauty within each one... he also saw the brokenness in each one too... but his arms were outstretched for all. Let us look to the one who trusted His Heavenly Father in Gethsemane, submitting to the pain of the cross willingly for humanity despite his doubts and fears. Look no further than the Son of God!

In doing so we will remain in Him

Ryan Edgecombe
Broadwell Christian Church
Central Presbyterian Church - Petersburg


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