Don't Take This Personal

last supperThursday, May 18, 2017

John 14:15-21

There are some who say they have a “personal” relationship with Jesus.
There are some who call Jesus their “personal” Lord and Savior.
There are some who talk about their faith as a “personal” matter.

To them I say: Don’t take this personal.

Because it’s not.
That is—this love for Jesus—it’s not personal.
It never was.

It is communal.
Always.
And all ways.

At the table of his last supper in the 14th chapter of John, Jesus instructs the disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

And there are a few things taking place just moments before to help us know what this love is:
Jesus washes the disciples’ feet.
Judas leaves to betray Jesus, and Jesus knows exactly where he’s going.
Jesus gives a new commandment, “that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”
Jesus foretells Peter’s denial.

Jesus tells—no, commands—the ones who love him to love others. And more specifically, to love in the way in which he loves them.

Love taking hold of filthy feet.
Love right smack dab in the middle of betrayal and denial.
Love in the face of suffering and death.

This love is not a warm fuzzy, sentimental kind of love. It is an effort, a commitment. It is a love fit for the tough times.

There is nothing private, personal about this love. It is a love asked not just of you (singular), but of y’all (plural). This includes the ones we know are at the table, as well as those hanging out in the shadows, but also the ones now silently clearing away the dishes.

The disciples and their love don’t get to stay here, sheltered in this place. For that reason, Jesus tells the disciples that he’s also getting the Father involved. And soon, a helper, an advocate, the spirit of truth will be on the way. Because from the very beginning, loving Jesus, keeping his commandments of love out in the world, was meant to be a group effort.

So please, for the love of Jesus, don’t take this personal.

Pastor Sarah