Revealing UsDecember 13th, 2013 by Anthony Bosman
In the last two posts we’ve noticed two progressive revelations in John’s account of the gospel: the revealing of the love of God and the unmasking of the selfish deception of the Enemy. Both came to a climax at the cross.
But now it’s time to turn our eyes upon ourselves. Does John’s gospel account have anything to reveal about us?
I believe it does.
Perhaps already we find ourselves identifying with the tension of the great controversy we’ve discovered between the God of self-giving love and the Enemy of selfish destruction.
I call it a tension since we regularly make choices on both sides. Although we might find ourselves drawn to the concept of perfect alignment with God’s love, experience suggests we’re stuck with selfishness, pride, and all other sorts of anti-love characteristics which places us in opposition to God.
Are we fated to live a double-life? Is complete allegiance to God impossible?
Honestly, these are questions I deeply wrestle with, perhaps even more than the question of why is there suffering. But I believe there’s a noteworthy progression in John’s gospel account that begins to suggest an answer.
It’s a progression of how Jesus related with his disciples. Notice how he addressed them:
First, he calls them “servants” (Jn. 13:16).
Then, he calls them “disciples” (Jn. 13:35).
Later, he calls them “friends” (Jn. 15:15).
Finally, he calls them “brothers” (Jn. 20:17).
A servant’s loyalty extends only as far as it benefits himself, a friend’s loyalty is a bit better, but a brother’s loyalty has no limit. Moreover, while a servant may look nothing like his master, brothers resemble one another.
This tells me something: If I stick with Jesus, I’ll grow to resemble him more. In time, all my choices will come to reflect the love of God. I find this incredibly encouraging.
How is this possible?
Again, we look to the cross. Notice it was not until after the death and resurrection of Jesus that he called his disciples “brothers”:
“Jesus said… Go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God” (Jn. 20:16-17)
Something of incredible significance happened at the cross.
God’s love was revealed. The enemy’s selfishness was revealed. But also we were revealed.
Looking at the cross, we see what our selfish choices cost. We see what we deserve.
But also, we see what God in love gave. We see all our sin, guilt, and brokenness dealt with.
Then, free from the burden of guilt, now having a clear picture of God’s love, we’re able to live as Jesus’ brothers and sisters. As children of the God of love, we learn to live out His love.