Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Sunday Word

“As the Father has loved me,” said Jesus, “so I have loved you; abide in my love."  Jesus’ own idea of friendship was defined and shaped by God’s love for Him. Jesus was “one who was loved” by God: chosen, equipped, guided, embraced and held all the way from the manger to the tomb. As that love shaped and defined Jesus’ life and ministry, so would Jesus’ love shape and define His team of disciples, both then and now. “You did not choose me but I chose you,” Jesus reminds us. The kind of love that causes someone to be willing to sacrifice his or her own life springs from the deep well of having been loved that way him or herself.

To be a “friend” of Jesus, then, means to be one who is loved in a sacrificial way. But it also means following Jesus’ example. “This is my commandment,” says Jesus to his disciples, “that you love one another as I have loved you." We must love others sacrificially, too, being willing to lay down our own lives as Jesus did for us. That’s a tough teaching, in many ways, but maybe we see it that way because we ourselves have not fully embraced the love that Jesus has given us. We cannot truly learn to love until we have been loved ourselves.