Thursday, April 21, 2016

love in the real world John 13:31-35

If you are a follower of Jesus and he told to do something it's likely a good idea that you do it.
Even when it's hard or complicated if you follow him, his Words of guidance will be worth more than a listen. So if you are trying to walk with him as your teacher and Lord you take him seriously whatever he says, one another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another.
If your intention is to follow him you'll take his direction to love as guidance for your whole life. But we say this call to love only goes so far; there's got to be a limit. This is often when we meet the real narrow road of following Jesus. This direction, to love one another as he has first loved us, has no qualifiers or limitations. Period. We shake our heads and say, there's got to be an end point. We look in disbelief at this world and the pain of sin and evil that people deal with and create for others. We look honestly at the people who it's painful to love and the situations where love doesn't seem to be the answer and we start to wonder, "when do we get to stop loving?" But as Easter people living in a Good Friday world we hear him say these Words knowing that he would die the very next day. Jesus love has no limit and for his followers the same call to love without limit is right here in front of us,
Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another.
The truth is loving like Jesus is not easy. Truth is the only one in the whole universe who can love like Jesus loves is Him. And still, as his followers we have this call to love others right now, to live in his kingdom right now. We might want to say sure, I will treat other people with love when they treat me with love. Sure we say we like to dwell in the kingdom of God but that'll have to wait until the world is ready and everybody else on this planet is ready to embrace Jesus and his commandment to love as he loves. But Jesus doesn't say that it's ok to wait. He doesn't say love those who love you. He doesn't say you get to have empathy and compassion later, or when the people who challenge you the most will agree to live in the kingdom too. Jesus doesn't give us an option of saying, "maybe later." He says,
Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another.
The temptation, for me at least, is to shrug this direction away. But Jesus said these words knowing his betrayer Judas was on his way. The plan was made to hand him over

Friday, April 1, 2016

Jesus comes, and we might very well be amazed John 20:19-31

In fear we can become paralyzed—unsure what will come next or where to turn. Fears act like locks and chains on us.  Fear has no mass or form, but somehow they can hold us in bondage to mortality, our sin, and our fear of the power of the evil one.  We hold still,  paralyzed by fear; unsure what's next.  And we sit.  Fear can restrict us and limit us and worse.

So the doors were locked.  The first reports of the resurrection had come.  But the 12 were still afraid.

And to our fears and locked hearts and doors Jesus says, Peace be with you.  He says it again, peace be with you.  And it is this peace that he sends us out on a mission from the Father.

We don't go alone.  He sends the Spirit with us as we go into the world announcing forgiveness for sins and a new chance for sinners.

No we say, there's got to be a limit to God's power.  There's got to be a limit.  But in Jesus resurrection we see the truth.

There is no limit to the love, grace, mercy, and power of God who made heaven and earth and who brought the Lord Jesus Christ back to life after 3 days in the grave.

The 12 who had been in the upper room were excited.  They'd seen the Lord.  They'd heard his blessing of peace and direction to go into the world with a Word of forgiveness.  And Thomas he shock his head.  It just couldn't be.  Unless I see him with the marks of the nails and touch him I will not believe.

They met again a week later in that locked upper room.  And Jesus stepped in again.  And his first Word was peace be with you.  He quickly showed Thomas his hands and side.  And now Thomas believed.

There's much evidence of Jesus' resurrection that we haven't heard about.  But the stories we have were write that we might believe and in our faith we might have life—even life after death—in Jesus name.  AMEN