Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:10-11)
Jesus loved us so much, and gave Himself to save us from all our sins and transgressions and have eternal life. What a blessing it is! This blessing is freely given to us not because we are worthy of receiving this eternal gift, but because of He simply loves us without any merit or worthiness in us. In fact, the wage of sins is death. We are all sinners, and we deserve death. However, Jesus Christ, the one who does not have sin at all, redeemed us by laying down Himself on the cross. This is the love. Indeed, His sacrificial death took away all our sins and transgressions from us, and we are free from the bondage of our sins. Thus, the power of sins no more rules over us. Jesus Christ, Our Lord, paid all (including past, present, and even our future sins….) on the cross. We – filthy, easily temped by desires of the eyes and the flesh, and so tightly intertwined with pride of life – are saved. How thankful to God!
How to express this thankfulness to God? Today’s scripture tells that we need to remain in Jesus’ love. If we keep His commands, we remain in His love. By remaining in His love, you are filled with His joy, and our joy will overflow and be complete. Why? By keeping His commands, His Holy Sprit dwells in our heart, and the holy communion between God and us is imitated. We start to experience who the God is, and deeper understanding about Him. He grow deeper into the relationship with God, and our life is continuously transformed like Jesus. Each one of us becomes a small Jesus where we live.
John, one of Jesus’ disciples, wrote “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25) Jesus taught countlessly many things to His disciples. “And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” (Matthew 7:28-29) Jesus’ teaching made. people astonished because He taught with real authority that only could come from God, not like other teachers at that time. His word was also a real delight to those who are poor in heart. His beatitudes on the mount were full of mercy, comfort, peace, and righteousness. He satisfied those who were thirsty, and gave comfort to those who mourned. Then He said “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12) Jesus pointed out that those who were faithful were not earth-bound, but heaven-bound. Yes, following the footsteps of Jesus Christ is not easy simply because we are different from those who don’t know about Jesus. On earth, we might be falsely accused only one reason that we have faith in Christ. Then we should be rejoice and glad for our reward is great in heaven. This is not nothing new, but all our forefathers in faith before us were treated in these ways. Then Jesus warned about our human nature of anger, lust, and our desire to take matters into our own hands.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthews 5:43-45)
Instead Jesus tells us, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you!” This clearly contradicts the law of this world – tooth to tooth, and eye to eye, but Jesus teaches us a new law of God founded on His love. To most of us, enemies mean those who make us our life difficult give mentally or financially, but in some of this world, there are real persecutions – put in jail, physically torture or even kill. Even so, Jesus commanded us to love our enemies and pray for them because by doing this, we may be children of Our Father in heaven. Our Merciful Father causes His sun to rise on both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous while patiently waiting for the evil and the unrighteous to return to Him by confessing their sins and transgressions. In fact, we were not much different. We were the evil and the unrighteous before God, but through the blood of Jesus, now we become His children.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors,… (2 Corinthian 5:19-20)
While we were yet sinners, Jesus laid down His life for us to take away our sins. Through His blood on the cross, He reconciled us to God by fixing our fallen relationship with God so that we started the walk again with God, which was long forgotten due to our sins. Through this walk, we are restored to be His children who can enjoy intimate relationship with God. Our life is now turned in to a light of God. This light shines on the lost, the evil and the unrighteous so that they may see the light and return to Him, which truly make Our Heavenly Father pleased. As a result, our joy is also complete in His joy. Praise God, whose mercy endures forever! Sing praise to God, who is patient and slow to anger. Our Lord is compassionate and gracious God. He is abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin of ours. Sing praise to the Lord!
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:11)