Southern Cross MAY-JUNE 2022

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Yet this footwashing episode powerfully illustrates what Jesus is about to do on the cross. Jesus’ sacrificial death cleans, and it washes away the sin of those who trust him. In 13:12-15 Jesus says, “Do you understand what I’ve done for you?... Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you”. A little further on in John 13:34-35 Jesus then says to his stunned disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”. How did Jesus love? Jesus walked in love. Jesus’ whole life, everything about him, was love. Jesus modelled sacrificial, lifegiving love. The call of the New Testament is that because we know Jesus, how he loved us, how he served us, our response can be nothing but sacrificial, life-giving love. Loving as Jesus loved. Serving as Jesus served. Walking as Jesus walked. And here’s the thing: as we think about the spiritually lost world around us, in John 13 Jesus declares that, as we love one another, it will show everyone that we are his disciples. And that is the point. As the world looks on and sees Christian brothers and sisters brought together from different backgrounds, different vocations and different interests, what they should see are people who, with God’s help, are seeking to love as Jesus loved. This means actively thinking how we can lovingly use our time, our treasure, our talents, to practically love and serve one another. It means not holding grudges, quickly getting over SouthernCross

May–June 2022

misunderstandings, not letting differences of opinion drive a wedge in our fellowship and avoiding resentment, quarrels and rivalry. It also means not letting anger give way to hate, quickly saying sorry, putting our desires on hold and reshaping our thinking, our values and our priorities. If we are doing these things it will mean we are reflecting the love, the sacrificial love, that Jesus has shown us. We will be a light shining for a world living in darkness. The more we know Jesus – the more we are gripped by his grace, his steadfast kindness, his goodness, his mercy and his faithfulness – the more we’ll want to live this out with our Christian brothers and sisters. We will also want to boldly declare this love to a world living in darkness, desperately needing to come into the light of Jesus. Imagine the impact we could make in our street, workplace and communities as we live in a way that is faithful to Jesus’ call: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”. We could be just like those early Christians, whose lifestyle was so different because they had given up the way they lived before knowing Jesus. We will reflect a character of life that our non-Christian neighbours simply do not have, which will lead our opponents to say, “See how they love one another”. SC

The Rev John Lavender is assistant director of Evangelism and New Churches. 23