Of the many instructions that Jesus gave to his disciples, the ones from which all the others flow are the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. The Great Commandment is found in Matthew 22:34-40 and is Jesus’ response when he was asked what is the most important command in the law. Jesus said that there are two – to Love God with all your heart, soul and mind and to Love Your Neighbour as Yourself. The Great Commission is the task Jesus gave to his followers following his resurrection and is found in Matthew 28:16-20. It is to Make Disciples of All Nations.
At Christ Church Manchester, we speak about these three ideas using the language of Devotion, Community and Mission. This preaching series will explore each in turn, and this message focusses on what Community is.
Loving One Another (John 13:35) – John 13 begins the account of Jesus’ last evening with his disciples by telling of him taking the place of a servant and washing their feet. As the chapter goes on, he then teaches that they should follow this example, and explains that the new commandment of the kingdom is simply to love. In verse 35, he says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” The humble, other-serving, foot-washing community that Jesus is calling us to is something that makes a huge impact on those who see it.
Prioritise Meeting Together (Hebrews 10:24-26) – Hebrews is a letter that was written to a group of believers who were in danger of backsliding from the faith and reverting to a Jewish nominalism. The author spends most of the letter putting on display the glory of Jesus, and in these verses he or she encourages the believers to continue to prioritise meeting together and approach those meetings considering how they can stir each other up to good works. Living out Christian community is something that only happens as we make it a priority and choose to commit to getting together with our brothers and sisters in Christ and running the race together.
Love Strangers (Luke 10:25-37) – The parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the most well-known and provocative stories that Jesus told. The context is a discussion about who is included in the command to love your neighbour, and the story lays bare any inclination to limit that to just those we are close to. Being a loving community doe not mean only focussing internally, but rather extending that same love and compassion that we would show each other to any who are in need.