For example, Songs of Solomon reads more like a KFC menu with breasts and thighs littering the dialogue between loversAs a Jewish man you had to be married and of a certain age before these scriptures were allowed to be read.
God’s not a prude.
The world would say that the traditional church point of view on human sexuality being between a man and a woman who are married would seem dated and antiquated. Why would we give away such freedoms some in the world would say have been hard earned.
But we would tend to agree more with the world around the negative sides of sexual behaviour. The #metoo movement has shown us the proliferation of abuse that women (and to a lesser extent men) have endured in the film industry, in state care facilities, schools and dare we say it churches. We’d all have to agree (Christian and non-Christian) that we believe that human sexuality matters.
Where the difference comes is that those that choose to follow Jesus and the churches historical teaching about not having sex before marriage is agreeing with God and adopting healthy boundaries in an area where we are at our most vulnerable.
God doesn’t say no to sex or that it’s wrong. He invented it, He called it good and told man to have lots of sex with your spouse (Gen 1:28). It was God’s great wedding gift to mankind. Since the fall (Gen 3) it didn’t take long before this amazing gift begun to be mistreated. Like all desires and appetites if not brought under the persons control, they can begin to control the person.
Ancient Jewish wisdom writings put it this way:
Like a conquered city with no walls, so is a man who has no self-control. Proverbs 25:28
Our nations judicial system agrees with both Christians and non-Christians. Sexual crimes deserve a fitting judgement. We all agree this because we’d all agree that a sexual crime isn’t just a physical act. It’s not just two bodies. There is real damage done emotionally and Christians would say, and others agree ‘spiritually’ to the victim as well.
In the earliest book of the Jewish scriptures that Jesus pointed to Genesis tells us that when God created man and woman, He said:
‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh (Gen 2:24).
The churches historical teaching on marriage says that when a husband and wife are joined in marriage there is something deeper going on here, something spiritual where a connection is made. A spiritual connection that binds the two together.
Ancient Jewish teaching taught this, and Jesus agreed with it (Matthew 19:5-6). It makes sense that such a spiritual connection should be honoured, protected, and not be debased.
At Oasis we embrace the teaching of Jesus, especially around human sexuality. We believe that the good news of our rescuing saviour is for the world, and no one is excluded from that rescuing love of the Father.
We believe in a God that isn’t prudish or old fashioned, but a God who cares about the most intimate parts of our lives and so gave us healthy guidelines to live by.
These early Christian fathers determined to separate themselves from the rest of the world but amusingly after a relatively short period grouped together to learn from the more senior ones and became cloistered groups of ‘monks, which in turn resulted in ‘monasteries’ the forerunners to today’s Theological colleges, missional centres, schools, and hospitals.
Even the best intentions of being separate culminated in a coming together. The fundamental reason behind this is that God made us for community.
No Christian has ever been called to go it alone in his or her walk of faith. This is a fundamental principle we see throughout scriptures.
Here at Oasis Family Church one of our mission statements is ‘Grow Together’ and that emphasises this exact point. Spiritual and relational growth of a person can only happen in community.
The old African saying that it takes a village to raise a child here rings true for faith as well. With such a rich array of Christian experience that turns up to churches every Sunday, failing to meet can hinder your ability to grow, be challenged and exposed to God’s voice in a communal setting.
When the Holy Spirit opens your eyes to the truth of Jesus and you accept Him as Saviour, The Holy Spirit indwells you. Along with this He bring you gifts.
Good gifts, some to encourage yourself and some to bless others with. If we fail to meet with each other, the church misses out on these gifts. Paul describes each of us being like body parts, all needing to work together in perfect synergy to make the body effective. Can you imagine a body without a leg, or without sight, sound? What about without something vital like without kidneys, or without a lung? Things become hindered, arrested and things are harder. Gods not honoured through the withholding of talents and gifts from his family.
What about those super annoying people? Those ones that just rub us up the wrong way. How do they help us to grow?
Let’s refer to them as God’s sandpaper. Growth usually doesn’t come about in the isolated environment of ease comfort and pleasure. Spiritual and character growth comes more often or not through adversity. We work hard at studies to achieve learning; we work our bodies physically to ensure we can achieve a goal like a marathon. It’s true that discipline and not desire determines our destiny. God’s sandpaper people are the ones that show us our intolerance or lack of empathy or patience. They are the stretching kind of people. These are the people that Jesus also came for. I think it could be assumed Matthew the tax collector could have been one of these. Despised for his role by his fellow countrymen for collecting more tax than due and profiting from this. Jesus called Matthew into the fold of the twelve, there would have been strong feelings toward Matthew from the others, but Jesus is ok with people that rub. It’s good for us to lose those sharp edges.
Growing together is a journey we all choose to enter when we walk into church. Following Jesus is a daily agreement to become more like Him. Growing together in community and in unity delights God in us.
This famous sentence Jesus uttered to John wasn’t written as an evangelistic reference to those who hadn’t made a commitment of faith before but to a church that was in real trouble.
Churches in trouble today seem to be becoming more common in the public media for all the wrong reasons.
Jesus here in Revelation 3:15 addressed the church at Laodicea with a harsh rebuke:
‘I know what you get up to and what you do, you’re neither hot nor cold! Because you are lukewarm, I will spit you from My mouth’.
Laodicea had become wealthy financially and therefore their need and love for God had diminished.
One of the realities we face in New Zealand today is that today most people wouldn’t say they had a need for God.
We live in a relatively peaceful country by world standards and have a higher standard of living despite rising financial costs.
We don’t share a border with another country, we don’t have to negotiate with a neighbour who shares a different value system and culture. We live in relative peace and security in an island that requires at least three hours of flight to the next neighbour.
As Christians Jesus called them to seek after Him and the riches only, He can provide. Whilst they coveted the wealth of the gold trading in the cities financial, He calls them to seek out the riches from God refined by fire so that they may truly become rich (vs 18).
Repeatedly in Revelation the letter from John calls believers to ‘overcome’. Overcome in the face of adversity, persecution, but here I believe the call also is to overcome the desire that we will all be faced with as followers of Jesus which is to camp out and get comfortable. A call away from the integrity of pursuing the life Jesus calls us to the life of a pioneer, seeking out the narrow path with Jesus. Seeking out the ancient pathway Christ laid down for us which include, self-denial, putting others needs before our own, doing our part to elevate the church as Christs bride.
I’ve often wondered what a letter from Jesus to the church of New Zealand would He include? Perhaps it would say something of being blessed on all four sides with peace and prosperity, maybe it would include the blessing of the gospel to our shores 200 years ago. What would Jesus say to New Zealand church today? It’s easy to say it maybe a letter of rebuke, but how would Jesus encourage us to keep up the good fight? I think like all the churches, the Apostle John’s word of perseverance would ring true. Revelation as a letter has always been a handbook of overcoming for those who are persecuted. A book to encourage those facing hard times and injustice.
It’s never been a book of escaping troubles, but one of calling people to know God is faithful and a God of Justice who will always look to put right His world again and that reward is in store for those who hold fast to the lamb (Jesus).
Jesus does stand and knock on our hearts daily and if you’re a follower of His, it’s times to open the door let Him in to sit on the throne of your heart and invite Him to be in charge. He has a fruitful life like you could never dream about. His Spirit looks for those who are willing to inhabit them and be a blessing to the world around them.
Jesus taught us some important things about the devil. Firstly, Jesus knew he was real.
Immaterial yes, but Jesus lets us know the accuser is very real in a spiritual sense. Secondly, the accuser’s main goal is to spread ruin in our souls and in our societies. The third things we learn from Jesus is that the Satan’s (Accusers) main method for doing this is through lies (John 8:44).
How much of our society is laid waste by lies?
For example, there’s a lie in our society that pornography is ok as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. What the lie doesn’t tell us is that when we expose ourselves to this, we are going to school.
What we are taught is that one person is not enough. They are only a body to be enjoyed. We can easily be fooled into the lie that this false intimacy can fill an actual good need that God has placed within us.
That’s the catch, temptation plays to usually a legitimate need for, rest, acceptance, intimacy, hunger or emotions like anger, sadness, grief or loneliness.
It’s not that these are wrong in themselves, but the accuser is the most cunning adversary and will use any to make us falter.
Temptation starts as a thought. Maybe it plays to one of these areas for you. Usually, temptation is a short cut to a legitimate need. It’s meeting a legitimate need but not God’s way.
Jesus gets this, he understands all to well. In Matthew Chapter 4 we read that Jesus was tempted in the desert after forty days of fasting.
Only then did the accuser approach Him. The accuser starts in the same way he did on Eve in the garden in Genesis 3. ‘If you really are the Son of God….’
Satan tries to undermine the fact the Father had only just said to all who witnessed Jesus’ baptism ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased Matthew 3:17.
The enemy after all is wanting to destroy your soul. The first attack is at your identity in God. A beloved child. Eve fell for this and so do we.
Jesus though, coming as the second Adam, does what Adam and Eve didn’t achieve. He lives the life free from sin even though he was tempted.
Jesus’ temptation wasn’t for bread or to be saved from throwing himself down into the temple for everyone to see God save him, or even to gain the cities and kingdoms of the world.
Jesus’ temptation centred on the desire he had to bring about God’s kingdom, but to gain it quickly through other means. If Jesus turned stones into bread, he could have won hungry crowds, if He threw himself into the temple and God stopped him from even a scratch all the religious leaders would herald him as the Messiah, if he had worshipped the accuser and gained all the kingdoms and been king, Jesus would have forfeited bringing about God’s kingdom here on earth through the redemption of mankind.
Jesus stood firm when the serious battle of temptation came in on Him. He did so by combatting the enemy with God’s word. Scripture to keep His focus on God’s ways.
How do we fare when temptation arises?
Are we filling our minds with the enemy’s pervasive tsunami of worldly thinking that is all around us as we entertain ourselves or wind down?
Or do we simply find God’s point of view to enable us to stand firm when temptation arises.
Evagrius was a monastic Monk in the second century who went into the desert to learn from the experience from Jesus. He wrote down a collection of his most personal battles with temptation. He later wrote ‘Talking back’ A Monastic Handbook for Combatting Demons’. That must be the best by line ever.
Evagrius’ approach echoed Pauls 2 Corinthians 10:5,
We take every thought prisoner and make it obey the Messiah.
Evagrius’ wrote down the temptation, be it a feeling, thought, sensation.
After that he would write ‘What’s the lie here that reveals my attachment?’ and he would examine himself to see what the temptation highlighted.
Then Evagrius would then ask the Holy Spirit for a scripture to combat this, to show Him God’s way. Then he would write this down.
This simple approach helps the rubber meet the road as Christians. A practical way in which we can deploy the use of scripture as Jesus did and have victory in our lives and enjoy the freedom from Sin that Jesus paid for us. Living free from guilt, shame and lies of the enemy is what Kingdom living is all about.
To my thirteen-year-old mind having a facsimile of the Magna Carta or the signed confession of Guy Fawkes was the coolest thing out. Somewhere in the world in a museum, was the original, but I had an exact photographic copy of it. I still have them; I still think they are cool.
We make copies of important things, things that matter. Either we are trying to emulate a great bit of craftsmanship, or we desire to replicate something great to share copying, emulating is a big part of each of our lives.
Who taught you to tie your shoes? Who taught you to bake, garden, drive, play cards, fish? Often, we each have traits made up of a whole load of influences.
If someone was to watch you for a while, your interactions with others, the way you handle situations and stresses, your routines, and the time you spend with the Lord, would they know from your life how to follow Jesus?
Now, as a parent, I’m inevitably going to find out the answer to that question one day as to whether I have passed on my love for Jesus to my kids, not by what I have said, but more than likely from what they see me do.
Our attitudes, our decisions and whether we prioritise meeting with other Christians is something only we can pass onto those coming behind. You might be out of the having kids season and be empty nesters, or enjoying grand kids, but there is still scope in your life to pass on to those coming behind you your faith and love for Jesus and what you have learned.
The apostle Paul’s letter to the friends and Jesus followers at the Corinthian church encouraging them by saying:
16 Therefore I urge you, be imitators of me. 1 Cor 4:16
Why? Imitators of Paul?
Yes, Paul would say, imitate me as I imitate Jesus our Lord. I’m living it out in front of you, just as one day, you will live it out in front of others.
As disciples of Jesus, we are living out what we learn, what we see of Jesus in those around us. This is how we pass on our heritage of faith.
There’s a good chance that you understand faith built largely on what you have learnt by either doing or seeing other Christians doing.
Passing onto the next generation our faith isn’t just teaching them the Bible. Knowledge is largely useless if it’s not complimented by action. There are many learned scholars of the Bible that have never had a personal encounter with the subject material that could have changed their lives. There are also those who know little of God’s word yet put even the smallest part into action.
Learning to serve, knowing that serving is beneficial is something we can tell someone, but will only be fully realised when that person engages in the act of service.
Our kids will learn to love church when we make it a priority and express our desire and love for His idea of gathering His people.
Paul was able to say ‘Do what you see me doing’ as he set an example. It’s something worth striving for, something that you can leave as a legacy to those coming on behind you. It’s not about being the ‘best Christian’, it’s about being authentically you and showing through your life that there is a God who loves you and you showing you love Him by what you do, that’s infectious, that’s worth copying.
Vs 6 ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel’? In essence this question needs to be understood from the perspective of the Jewish followers of Jesus. Since their exile to Babylon six hundred years before the Jewish people never felt like they had fully returned. Yes, they had a second temple that wasn’t as glorious as the first, but they always had an overlord. A foreign power had always sat over them. The prophecy was that a Jewish King ‘David’ would sit on the throne again (Jeremiah 33:14-26). Autonomy. In control of their destiny with the Lord backing them.
That was the hope. So here is the risen Jesus who has just pulled off the most incredible display of power, He must be God. Who else could raise themselves from the dead?
One of the bravest disciples asks Jesus ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel’?
Jesus reply here is the same to us today,
‘It is not for you to know the times or epochs (A particular period in time) which the Father has fixed by His own authority.’
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth’
Acts 1:6-8 NASB.
Just like in the disciple’s day the prophetic of the Bible can get some excited. Some predict we are living in the ‘end times.
In truth we have never been closer to the return of Jesus as of today.
While there is a lot of speculation around ‘signs’ and end times floating around on the internet I think Jesus words here once again speak to us as they did to the disciples two thousand years ago.
Only the Father knows the end date, to speculate would be to know more than Jesus, vs 7.
Jesus does however point to where our focus should be; undertaking the task He has set before us. Being witnesses to the good news to all the earth. That includes doing that where He has called you too today.
To punctuate this idea, as the disciples stood around looking up into the air watching Jesus go, there appeared to them two angels who spoke to them and brought their focus back to the mission Jesus had just spoken to them.
‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into the sky? vs 11
Jesus told many parables about inaction. The ten virgins probably sum it up best. In Matthew 25 Ten virgins are waiting for the bridegroom to arrive and collect them, they are all there for the same purpose. Five of them were wise and five were foolish. Five wise ones took their lamps and extra oil, five only took their lamps. The bridegroom took a long time. At midnight the cry went out ‘Here is the bridegroom’! The five wise virgins trimmed their wicks on their lamps and had oil to get going straight away. The five foolish asked for oil from the wise ones but there was not enough for all. Go and buy some oil the wise told the foolish. Time was wasted and the five foolish virgins miss out because of there unpreparedness.
Jesus, when finishing this story that Matthew recalls ends with this:
Therefore, keep watch because you don’t know the day or the hour. Matthew 25:13
Jesus has set us a task to undertake, in spreading the gospel. Jesus’ brother James later in Acts 15 suggests when it comes to sharing the gospel, that this is our major priority.
“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. - Acts 15:19 NIV
I believe it is therefore all too easy to get caught up in the ‘End is nigh’ mentality when our focus should be on who needs to know the good news that they can be saved.
When Christ returns (and He will) be found on task. Sharing His message and removing anything that hinders people coming to faith.
Jonathan, we read in 1 Samuel 14, was a warrior, a fighting man, a professional soldier. He was also the heir to the throne of Israel and a prince. His father, Saul, was the first king of Israel. As we find in chapter 14, Jonathan took God at his word. He inquired of God before taking risks and held fast to the principle that his God was faithful and could win any battle. He was much different to his father Saul.
When the shepherd David stood up in a national emergency and defeated the giant Goliath in the valley at Elah, the people of Israel saw the national leader they all wanted. Saul had been frozen with fear and lacked trust in God. Seeing this, Saul’s son Jonathan comes to David and this beautiful exchange of friendship happens.
18 When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armour, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.
1 Samuel 18:1-3 NLT
What Jonathan did that day was an incredible act of self-sacrifice. In committing himself to friendship with David and giving him his own robe, Jonathan did the unthinkable. Jonathan laid his royal princely robe and his armour which symbolised his privilege and position onto David.
Effectively Jonathan actions said to David ‘I recognise that you are God’s man to rule this country’, not me, even though I am rightfully in line to the throne, I have heard you have been anointed by God to be our king, I have seen you lead this nation through a crisis where my father failed, I am your servant’.
Putting others needs before yourself was something Jesus desired his followers to do (Matthew 6, 25, John 12:26, 14) this example set by Jonathan shows that loving others means there is more action than just words. It cost nothing to be a superficial friend, to be a great friend (and a disciple) it will cost us.
Jesus taught us in Luke 14:28 that we are to count the cost before we start something. Jonathan again shows us a calculated love to commit himself to David even though it would mean he wouldn’t inherit the throne.
Being a great friend at time will cost us. It means we will be required to be like Jesus and go that extra mile, wade into the messiness of someone else’s life, put our needs to one side so that we can meet another’s.
I think Jonathan would tell us the cost was worth it. He had to go the extra mile on numerous times, trying to reconcile his jealous father and David, rescuing David from plot to kill David. But Jonathan experienced a deep connection and relationship with another likeminded warrior, someone else who loved God deeply and showed extraordinary courage and faith in following that God.
The two friends were cut from the same cloth and enjoyed a deep God cantered friendship that resonated the teaching of Jesus many centuries later.
What can we learn from this incredible man from so long ago that may bless us today in our friendships and lead us into the richness of self-sacrifice and being known?
Take your pick from loyalty, intentionality, self-sacrifice and a desire to see others succeed. Jonathan was and is God’s man from beginning to end and even though he was a co-star in the bible, his example was so profound he’s worth emulating.
My relationship with Jesus is my responsibility:
Like any relationship, It’s always better when you’re in proximity. I don’t benefit from a quiet time unless I do it. Unless I read God’s word, the Holy Spirit has little to draw on.
It’s discipline and not just desire that determines where my heart and mind will go. That sounds awfully regimented, but what I discovered was that God loves it when we are intentional about spending time with Him, even when we don’t feel like it, we are tired.
At the end of the day, it’s you that puts your head on your pillow. God is with you every day and when we prioritise time with Him it provides God with opportunity.
The biggest part of your walk with Jesus happens outside of Sunday:
When you can’t go to church regularly either because of geography or lockdowns or the pause button’s been pushed, remember that you don’t stop being a follower of Jesus just because you can’t meet on a Sunday.
Think about this for a moment. (Luke 10)
Jesus ran the classic first century Jewish Rabbi model with the twelve that went something like this:
Rabbi: Hey guys, watch me do this a couple of times.
To Students: Now you all have a go while I (Rabbi) watch. 10:1
Rabbi to Students: Let’s talk about how that went. 10:17-24
When the Rabbi is satisfied that the students are living and doing as he has shown them then he would send them out to make their own students and they would become Rabbi’s.
This is the model Jesus set for us (Matt 28:11). Sometimes coming to church can just become an intellectual exercise with no real profit because there is no ‘doing’ during the week. This is like reading the best book you can buy on weightlifting, reading up on technique, safety, challenging yourself and then never touching the weights or engaging with them. You may know everything there is to know about weightlifting and even debate the best methods but never know the strength that comes with using them.
You may have heard the classic line of ‘I didn’t get much out of church today’. More than likely there wasn’t something there to be had for that person because God is still waiting for them to implement something He spoke to them about some time ago, though God is patient, He does allow us to wander around the same mountain a few times until we are ready for a change.
Being a disciple doesn’t mean that we are theologically or even ministerially trained. You only need a little information about Jesus to follow Him and well, maybe that’s why some look back so fondly at their first few years of being a Christian, it was simple and enjoyable before their spiritual formation got bogged down.
In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says to us Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yolk upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Italics mine).
The biggest part of our Christian lives happens outside of two hours on a Sunday, whilst we don’t want to neglect meeting together, we can still do that, it may just mean being that little more disciplined and intentional about meeting with others and stepping out into what God’s next step for you is this week.
Gabriel carried a message to Mary that would change her destiny forever. It wasn’t an easy message. One of carrying a son, which would be good news to anyone who was married, but she wasn’t yet married. This news would be scandalous, she would be ostracised, disgraced and shunned by friends’, family and neighbours. In Jewish law being pregnant outside of marriage was a stonable offense. Even her fiancé would need Gabriel’s intervention to prevent him from sending her away so she wouldn’t be disgraced or worse.
What did Mary feel as she digested the news? The angel Gabriel’s news wasn’t one where everything would be ok, if anything the news put Mary into an extremely awkward position that threatened her life and reputation. Mary’s answer though was to believe the angel and with a simple ‘I am God’s servant, let it be done to me as you have said’ (Luke 1:38).
Maybe Mary’s servant heart towards God is what He saw in this rural teenage girl, her humble attitude to say to God, 'even if it costs me and my reputation is ruined and my life is threatened, I will obey you because You say you love me’.
Gabriel’s opening statement to Mary was one of surprise; ‘Greetings favoured one!’ (Luke 1:28) this warm greeting would have taken anyone by surprised. It implies not only has God thought about Mary, but He favours her, He’s taken the time to see her and has a fondness for her.
As a woman who had not had relations with a man, let alone her fiancé, this must have been more than puzzling for Mary. Why would the coming King, the angel talked about, be required to be born of a virgin?
Unlike their male counterparts, women weren't required to learn the scriptures. Most were illiterate, but there was opportunity for women to hear God’s word at synagogue. Had Mary heard where in scriptures several hundred years prior Isaiah proclaimed:
"Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14).
Jesus’ birth to a virgin teenage girl in rural Israel surprised most and is still shocking today. God took the tradesman’s entrance into the world He created. By humble means, the Saviour not conceived by the corrupted sinful seed of man but pure and clean of the Holy Spirit, produced the coming Saviour and King bringing God’s coming kingdom into the world.
If we could ask Mary today what lessons she learned from her life as a servant of God, maybe just maybe she would say ‘Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him’.
An idea so radical most missed its significance. Who would be your best friend?
What makes that friendship special to you? Is it the way in which you connect over a hobby or a sport? Perhaps you both share an array of shared experiences or adventures together? Maybe it was forged over a lot of years or over a common interest or in a short amount of time on a shared experience. Whatever it was, there was sure to be a certain amount of chemistry involved with the two of you.
A good friendship endures. It walks in sunshine and rain. It will stick around when the going gets tough and celebrates in good times. A great friend will laugh and cry with you, it will seek out restitution and will tell you the things you probably don’t want to hear about yourself. Friends care for friends.
Jesus close friend John thought back to the night before the crucifixion. He thought about the words Jesus had used as he neared the end of the supper that night. Jesus leaned back and looked at the men gathered with Him in the upper room. Jesus knew what was about to come, they had no idea that in a few hours they would be scattered to the wind after Jesus’ arrest.
“You are my friends if you do what I have commanded you.
I no longer call you servants, for a servant doesn’t know what His master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15: 14-15
John is the only one who recorded this part of the conversation. He never calls himself in his gospel by name but calls himself the ‘disciple that Jesus loved’. John’s memory here swirls back to that night and he picks up a key part of the conversation that reveals the heart of God. Jesus shows us that God desires an intimate relationship with us, not a superficial one. Not a relationship of obligation or of service and duty, but one where our love compels us to love others because of what Christ has done for us.
Jesus’ invitation here is to more than a servant relationship. Jesus desires for us is to share that chemistry of friendship. That deep close connection that sustains and allows us to be who we really are, say what is on our hearts and minds and still be loved for it.
Jesus’ invitation to become more than just a follower is still extended today to each one of us. His heart has huge capacity for friendship as we follow our Lord and Saviour.