For more help use this Bible Study method
Remain Faithful in Love
by Tom Richards
Today we read the words of Jesus on “Maundy Thursday” as he is instructing the disciples for perhaps the last time. Soon Jesus and the disciples will leave the upper room where they are gathered and walk to the Garden of Gethsemane.
The words recorded in John 15:18-25 had to be startling to the eleven (Judas was no longer with them). Here is their trusted master telling them that they will be hated and persecuted because of their allegiance to him. Based on scripture and early church writings we know that these words of Jesus came true. All of the disciples suffered for the sake of the gospel and all (with John as a possible exception) died as martyrs.
How could these common men share the message of the gospel that changed the world in such an environment? How could they have the faith to suffer and die for Jesus? We know from scripture that they were all too human, so where did they get the strength to be faithful despite being hated and persecuted?
Earlier in chapter fifteen, Jesus answers these questions. In John 15:4 Jesus says: “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” He goes on to use the word “remain” seven more times in twelve verses. So how did the disciples “remain” in Jesus? He answered that question in verse ten: “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” So, what are Jesus’ commands? Verse twelve shows us the answer: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (Also see Mark 12:29 -31.)
I sometimes ask myself, “how should I live – or how do I live – in times when Christian values and the faith itself seem to be under constant attack”? Where do I get the strength and the faith that I need to be a faithful witness for Jesus in the current environment?
It seems that the words of Jesus to his disciples apply to me (us) today. Remain in him – not a Sunday only experience, but a daily practice of keeping his commands, specifically, loving each other as he has loved us. What better witness to the world around us than for believers to love each other?
Father, thank-you for the gift of the Holy Spirit and your written word as a means of helping us remain in you. Help us to understand the words of Hebrews 12:1 where in part the writer says, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Help us remain in Jesus! Amen.