Fifth Sunday of Easter 28.4.13 John 13.31-15

22 04 2013

Glory and Love

In this passage Jesus emphasises two realities that lie at the core of Christian living, spirituality and ethics: glory and love. And so while very short, it is also very rich.

John 13.31-35

When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’

Reflection

To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.

Head Questions

  1. How can you explain the word ‘glorified’ in plain English?
  2. Why does Jesus need to tell the little children that they cannot go without him?
  3. Love is a very complex and muddled word in English. What is its core meaning here?

Heart Questions

  1. What is the emotional tone of the word ‘glory’?
  2. How do the disciples feel about not being able to go with Jesus?
  3. What’s it like to be told that you should love someone?

Hand Questions

  1. What action or effort of yours might glorify God?
  2. What does the commandment to love suggest to you as a priority action today?
  3. What might make the love within your fellowship a clearer witness to the world?

Finally

These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you.  That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up, working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands.  Take your time.

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Fourth Sunday of Easter 21.4.13 John 10: 22-30

16 04 2013

A Request for Straight Talking

Jesus frustrates the Jews’ desire for plain speaking, and instead starts to speak about sheep and spirituality.  

John 10: 22-30

At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’ 25Jesus answered, ‘I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30The Father and I are one.’

Reflection

To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.

Head Questions

  1. Why does location matter here?
  2. Does time matter too?
  3. Why does Jesus not answer directly?

Heart Questions

  1. How do you think the Jews feel about Jesus’ answer?
  2. How do sheep feel about being sheep?
  3. How do you feel about the unity of the Father and  Jesus (included or excluded)?

Hand Questions

  1. Is it more important to know who Jesus is, or to hear his voice?
  2. What ethical obligations come with the gift of eternal life?
  3. What is the greatest gift you have ever given?

Finally

These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you.  That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up, working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands.  Take your time.