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Challenging Simplicity

Jesus - Love One AnotherA friend created as memory verse card for me – he’s kind of a geek that way. A memory verse card is a Bible verse printed out on a small card that you keep in your wallet…or wherever – car, bathroom – so you can easily commit it to memory by having it in front of you a lot. This type of repetition is a classic technique in teaching. I’ve read this particular verse several times now for a few weeks when I realized Jesus was teaching his disciples in a similar, repetitive, way.

Here’s the verse. It was written by John, Jesus’ best friend, who was also the guy that took care of his mom after he left this realm.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Do you notice the repetition? “Love one another” is repeated three times. It’s extremely easy to remember. I don’t need to memorize this exact verse so much as I need to practice loving people. This of course ties into the two greatest commands which Jesus ties together – love God, love people.

So, the teaching is extremely simple: love one another. The obvious questions is what does that look like? Jesus provides the answer: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” We are to love like Jesus loved us. Okay…what did he do? Well, among many things, he was extremely patient, gentle, challenging, self-sacrificial, outward focused, forgiving, compassionate and the list goes on, culminating in his sacrificial death by Roman crucifixion. He gave everything for us.

Simple? Yes. But when we realize how challenging this teaching is (and what it requires of us), we may want to shy away from it, minimize it, excuse ourselves from it because some people are just too hard to love. But within this same verse we are reminded that it’s not an option for a follower of his. It’s a command. It’s not a suggestion or a self-help strategy. It’s a command. It’s not something to take lightly or to sit on a mountain top reflecting on. It’s a command. See what I did there with repetition? 🙂

Moreover, the result of our obedience to this command is so powerful, so real, so intense, that people will actually recognize us as his followers.

Simple? Yes. Challenging? Yes, yes! Here’s a simple way to step into this command. What can you do today that will love someone like Jesus loved us? What can you do in your marriage? Your place of work? With your kids? Friends?

Thanks for reading,
~ Ted


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  1. Wow, this friend of yours must have been smart! lol Yes, the living amd following is the tricky part. Grateful to have you to flesh it out with!!!!! In it together!!!

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