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.





Ninteenth Sunday after Trinity 14.10.12 Mark 10.17-31

7 10 2012
Tough Love
Like so much of Mark’s gospel this passage is packed with difficult things for us to hear. Jesus is in a very uncompromising mood.  He demands from people the very last thing they want to give. He teaches that to follow in his way demands the sacrifice we don’t want to make.  There is nothing cosy here. The way is hard.  In fact ‘tough’ is probably the right word.  And yet Jesus looks at people with compassion and love.
Mark 10.17-31
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 18Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.” ’ 20He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ 24And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ 26They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ 27Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’28 Peter began to say to him, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you.’ 29Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.’
Questions

1. What does this passage suggest about the way Jesus looked at people?

2. Why did Jesus give the answer that the young man did not want to hear?

3. What is the passage saying about money and wealth?

4. Peter’s question in  verse 28 gets a very positive answer. And yet there is a sting in the tail. How do you feel about that?