This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not 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. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another. John 15:12-17

When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Mark 2:1-4

Today’s thoughts from today’s verses:

Jesus concludes the John passage above by saying that He has chosen us to be ones who would go and bear lasting fruit. He clearly connects our bearing lasting fruit with loving one another. Jesus begins the passage by declaring that we are to love each other in the way He has loved us. When we love each other the way Jesus loves us it will involve sacrifice and friendship. We might say that as fellow Christians we are a community of friends who serve each other sacrificially. This is wonderfully depicted for us in the story from Mark 2. When we see this kind of community in the context of the impact such community life has on those who observe it in action, we have something very special.  

The four men in our story bringing their paralyzed friend to Jesus for healing conjures up all kinds of good images in our minds of friendship, brotherhood, community, love, sacrifice, devotion, etc. These are the kinds of qualities that should flood the body of Christ in the world today. How often our participation is church life is rooted in obligation or a sense of duty. Those who live fully for God have a growing sense of genuine community in a fellowship of friends. As we walk with God and are filled to overflowing with His unconditional love it will spill over into each other’s lives. While our experience won’t be looking up at the ceiling like those who sat in the crowd and saw five friends living out community, we will be in the middle of our own setting experiencing genuine Christian community as we look together to Jesus with a set of loving friends He has called us to share life with.  

Today’s prayer response from today’s thoughts:

Lord, thank you for the loving Christian friends you have placed in my life. Help all of us to become more intimately connected with you and each other. Wherever I need to become more of a truly loving friend, help me to change. Wherever I need something more from others, please provide it, whether it means changing them, removing them, or providing new ones. I pray for maximum love among your people everywhere so the world will be touched by and reached through the reality of genuine Christian community. Amen!