One of the disciples struggled with prejudice by the name of John. John had a temper, he was a “hot-head”. In fact, when Jesus called John and his brother, James, to be his disciples, he gave them a nick-name: “Sons of Thunder”.
John’s prejudicial heart is exposed in Luke 9:49-50, John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.” Because this guy wasn’t one of the 12 disciples, John had issue with him. And then Jesus responded to John in v. 50: “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.”
Somewhere along the line, John’s heart changed, it was softened. He changed from being a “Son of Thunder”, to the “Disciple of Love”. John wrote 20% of the New Testament but 35% of the time the word “love” is used in the New Testament it is in his writings. Some prime examples from 1 John 3:16-18, 3:23, 4:7-12.
Could it be that a pivotal moment in John’s life occurred while he sat around the dinner table with Jesus and the other disciples at the Last Supper? That night, Jesus did the unthinkable and washed the feet of each of the disciples. And soon after that incredible act of service he gave the infamous statement that was intended to define the Christian faith, in terms of our treatment of others:
“A new command I give to 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.” John 13:34-35 (It is interesting that John was the only one to record it.)
Love is the Answer to Break Free from Prejudice. Do any of us need to bust out of this prison? Is there a person or group of people that triggers unkind, prejudicial or hateful thoughts or comments?
Jesus said: “A new command I give to 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.”
Check your heart for any thread of prejudice or even hatred for someone who is different than you are and if you find any, to work to break free from it by some active act of love. And, the great thing is, you don’t have to do this on your own. If you have accepted Christ, you have His Spirit living in you, to help you!
Love really is the most potent weapon we have to break down prejudice and hate…
…It is the highest mark of a Christian.
…It is the very nature of our God.
If you have comments to share about this weekend’s services at River Oaks, we’d love to hear them!
As you pray to God to help you begin to take steps to overcome the prejudices that may exist in your life, follow His example, and seek His power to help you.
Don’t forget the upcoming opportunities for connections at River Oaks (all of which you can register for online at www.riveroaks.org).
- Family Movie Night: March 8 at 6:30pm “Finding Nemo,” FREE. Volunteers still needed.
- “Just Walk Across the Room,” Wednesdays with dinner at 6:30 and class at 7:00pm (childcare available, if registered).
- “Life’s Toughest Questions” Sunday AM class for parents, beginning next Sunday at 10:30am (no registration necessary).
- Women’s Cravings, Fri., March 15 at 7:00pm- meet other women and learn about upcoming opportunities.
- Ironmen “Law & Order” breakfast for all men on Sat., March 16 at 7:00am.
Loving unconditionally through the power of the cross,
Scott Tilley / firstname.lastname@example.org / 574.875.1152 x103