Dear GCI Family and Friends,
Many years ago, I read a book that equated Jesus to a chief executive officer (CEO). The gist of the book was to overlay the “How tos” of Jesus onto the role of a modern-day business leader. The book fell woefully short because it failed to establish the “Who” question. If Jesus is just a good person, a good teacher, and a model to imitate, we miss who Jesus is. We relegate him to the list of Mohammed, Buddha, Socrates, and the like.
Jesus, as a member of the Triune God, emptied himself and became human. He lived a perfect life, tempted in every way that we are and yet without sin. He is creator of the universe, and it is in him that we live and move and have our being. Jesus is the King of Kings, and we shall ever be growing into the comprehension of who he is.
So, what was Christ really like? How did he place-share with his disciples? Consider this list—a 24-hour snapshot—of how Christ interacted with his followers that final day before Calvary.
- He gave them detailed preparatory instructions for the gathering in the upper room. Coming together and being together was always a priority of Jesus, and frequently surrounded a meal and festive environment.
- Jesus was about serving other people. On this night he girded himself with a towel and took the wash basin, then one by one he knelt and washed the feet of his disciples. He set the tone for how much he valued them.
- Continuing with other people in mind, the profound words of instruction he shared with them and the intimate intercessory prayer he prayed for them was for their comfort. Jesus, who is the “Suffering Servant” portrayed in the writings of Isaiah, deeply identified with the suffering and grief that his followers would face, and he attended to this.
- Jesus was honest. He warned them of the troubles they would experience in the world and that ministry would be hard. He then assured them that the Holy Spirit would be the guiding presence to see them through.
- Jesus gave them hope for a future. He proclaims that he will share in the sacrament of communion with them again in the kingdom to come.
- He shared that he would go away, and during this interim he would be preparing a place for them in glory.
- Ultimately Jesus willingly went to the cross and laid down his life. The broken bread and wine pointed to the actions that would come the next day.
(Read chapters 13-17 of John’s Gospel and see if you can identify other ways that Jesus demonstrated deep care and friendship for his followers)
In this “one-day” amazing display of love and friendship, descriptors that leap out of the fabric of this event include servanthood, sacrifice, truth, hope, security, purpose, and friendship; all being of the highest order. These authentic qualities of Jesus demonstrate his deep love and care for his followers. This loving, caring, belonging relationship is what Jesus extends to all humanity.
The apostle Paul says to follow him as he follows (emulates) Jesus. More Christlikeness and more of the tangible expressions of Christ’s love is absolutely what the church of today needs.
May the rejuvenation we have experienced on Easter Sunday firmly remind us of how our personal following of Jesus is also about a personal sharing with others. May the season of Eastertide be punctuated by how we place-share with our neighbors, family, and friends.
Compelled by his love!