What did you think of that? Selfishness is good? As I watched the video there were times I felt confused, thinking that it is true that we are to care for ourselves, but also we are not to be selfish. I also thought, I wonder how Jesus would respond to the ideas in this video?
In the story we’re studying this week, Jesus gives us a glimpse into how he might respond to the video. We’re studying John 13, verses 1-17.
Last week, in this post, we learned about what is called Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, as the city is getting flooded with Jews from all over the world who’ve made their pilgrimage for the Feast of Passover. Chapter 13 starts on Thursday evening of that week. Here’s what verse 1 tells us:
“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”
Jesus knows the end is near. Everything he has done over the past three years was building toward this. He knows that he is about to throw his disciples into what will likely be the most confusing, troubling, and difficult situation they’ve encountered in their lives. He knows they will experience the tumult without him there. He is leaving them. How do you prepare people for a horrible situation?
In 2010 my denomination’s bishop died suddenly. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a denominational leader about how the bishop passed away. The official word was that he was killed in a car accident. That was true, and very sad, but there was more to the story. Before he told me the rest of the story, the denominational leader said to me, “Brace yourself.” He wanted me to take a moment and get ready for what he felt was going to be an emotional, difficult conversation.
He was right. I was shocked and affected when he told me that the bishop’s death was declared a suicide. It was a reminder of the reality and seriousness of how many people struggle with mental health. We should not assume we know what someone around us might be feeling. Now I knew why the denominational leader had tried to help me steel myself for very difficult news.
So here is Jesus, knowing his disciples are about to face their own very difficult news. How will he prepare them? We read that Jesus loved them. He wanted them to know how much he loved them. This is the first principle we learn in our story. In life we will from time to time have to give people bad news, whether it is punishing our children, or having a difficult conversation with a friend or letting an employee go. When you have to give people bad news make sure people know how much you love them. Lead with love. Make sure they know how much you care for them.
Jesus leads with love. How so? We’ll find out in the next post.
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