We continued our New Testament journey last week by heading into 1 John. This book was written by John, one of Jesus’ disciples who also wrote the biography of Jesus that bears his name. John referred to himself as the disciple that Jesus loved. He was one of Jesus’ inner circle and also one of the “Sons of Thunder” – Jesus’ name for John and his brother James.
In 1 John chapter 4, John makes some pretty bold statements about love. He says that if we don’t love, we don’t really know God because God is love. He also says that the more that we live in God, the more our ability to love will grow. He wraps it all up by saying that if we say we love God but hate our brother that we are liars, because if we can’t love the people around us that we can see, how can we love God whom we can’t see? Those are some convicting words.
The disciple John has always been fascinating to me. What about him led Jesus to call him a son of thunder? How did he go from being a son of thunder to a man who spoke so eloquently about love? Jesus changed everything for John and he modeled his life after what he had witnessed in Jesus.
John fully believed that Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s love and that that love had the power to change us from the inside out. To turn us from haters into lovers because we have been loved. John believed that the way we love as Christ followers would be the thing that would distinguish us from the rest of the world. Sadly, that’s often not the case.
What if we each made the commitment to live out loving our brothers and sisters in our own sphere of influence? What if the way we loved, the way we served, the way we cared for others was so striking that those around us would want to know what makes us different? Just imagine the impact we could have! I think it’s actually the impact we were created to have, to introduce a dark world to the light and love of Jesus. Are you up for the challenge?
Executive Director of Education and Outreach