Read: Daniel 8:1-27, 1 John 2:1-17, Psalm 120:1-7, Proverbs 28:25-26
And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commands. (1 John 2:3)
Relate: The end has come. Jesus’ time on this earth is passing, and he knows it. Just a short while ago he came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey with thousands shouting his praises. But he knows the crowd is fickle. He knows how quickly and easily they will turn. A couple disciples secured the upper room and Jesus goes with the twelve up there for one last Passover meal. The first thing he does when he gets up there, is to wash his disciples feet. By this he is showing that the greatest leaders lead through serving. After this he exposes Judas as a betrayer and Judas leaves the room.
Now that the room is cleared, Jesus can get down to business. For the first time, without mincing words Jesus tells his disciples he will soon be leaving them. Then he leaves them with one last, most important command: “Love each other. Just as I loved you, so you must love each other.” Within hours of making this statement, he will show them how drastic, how radical, his love for them is.
React: After giving that command, Jesus qualifies it. He says, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John adds in our reading today that our love for one another is also how we can be sure we are saved. How important is love? It is the proof of our salvation, both to others and to ourselves. It is because of this that I can say with absolute confidence that Westboro Baptist Church is not a Christian church. Right now in Egypt Christians are flocking to Tahrir Square in protest of the new Egyptian government. Although their cause may be right, their methods certainly are not. The might gain power, but they are not giving love. If this holiday is anything like the past dozens of years, there are going to be all kinds of protests like the one regarding the “holiday” tree in Rhode Island because they don’t use the word “Christmas”.
This year, rather than arguing and yelling that people use “Xmas” instead of “Christmas” or companies ask their employees to say “happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”, why not actually show the kind of love Jesus showed? Over the next three and a half weeks, there are going to be an abundance of opportunities to show love both through actions and words. God’s kind of love demands surrender and sacrifice, not the purchasing of a few gifts and the clamoring for our rights.
Respond: God, help me to love. You gave up every comfort to come be with us, help me to do the same. You gave up the need for respect and titles, help me to do the same. You gave no thought for power or position, help me to do the same. You showed us a radical, crazy love. Help me to do the same. Help me to make this Christmas a season of love.
This is a devotional created by and for Two Rivers Assembly.