Pastor Miles delivered today’s message from John 13 with parallel scenes from the movie, The Notebook.
In John 13 after Jesus has shared the last Passover meal with his twelve disciples, He wraps Himself with a towel and washes the feet of his disciples. He washes all of their feet—even Peter who would deny Him, Thomas who would doubt Him, and Judas who would betray Him.
In John 13:12-15, He says to them,
“Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”
And He later instructs in John 13:34-35,
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The most important thing we have as Christians is our love for one another. The test for us is to understand what this means and to have the courage to express it. Do you know what it means to love people? How far are you willing to go to love them?
Love and Sacrifice
We often think of love as sweet, fun, and good, but sometimes loving people is difficult and can cause us pain or fear. At the last supper, Jesus speaks powerfully about the way we should love:
[Jesus] took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-25
We take communion to remember Jesus’ death and resurrection, but if we want to fulfill the new covenant of which He speaks, we too are called to suffer and die on behalf of one another. We will be most like Christ when we are willing to suffer on behalf of another person as a measure of love.
Jesus already knew that he would be betrayed, beaten, whipped, mocked, scorned, and hung to die, yet He loved anyway. The big test for us is how well we love in the face of adversity. It’s easy to love when things seem good, but what happens when we are hurt or betrayed? How well do you love when pain is imposed on you or bad circumstances are imposed on your life?
If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Proverbs 24:10
Pastor Miles shared about the passing of his grandmother, when his family deeply mourned the loss of a woman they cherished. On the day of the funeral, the casket had to be moved from the viewing at the mortuary to the church. Pastor Miles served as a pall bearer for the first time, alongside his brothers and other family members. He never knew that serving in this capacity would have such a powerful impact on his heart – it felt, for all of them, as if their hearts were burning with love inside them. Having reflected on this experience, he realizes that carrying his grandmother’s casket was the last gift of love and service he could give to her. He wanted his last memories with her to be of serving, loving, and literally carrying her.
What will people’s last memories be of you? We are called by Christ to be known as His followers by our love. Is there someone in your life with whom you have issues or conflict? Go in the name of Jesus and fulfill His commandment to love one another. You may have to swallow your pride or admit wrongdoing, but make sure that they know once and for all that you love them! That is a memory to last.