The epistle writer appears to assume that the Christians of his day are not following the way of love. He offers an epistle whose central theme is the call to love. To be Christian means to love. We cannot separate the two; the definition of one is intricately tied to the other. A doctor cannot intend to inflict harm; a carpenter must know how to handle a hammer. The number one job description of the follower of Jesus is to love— not seek revenge, not harbor resentment, not fail to forgive.
The kind of love the writer talks about is not a squishy senti-
mentalism. He knows little about candy hearts and chocolate valentines. When this letter was written, Christians were persecuted for their allegiance to Jesus; a profession of faith in Christ could sign their death sentence. Where the human instinct in these situations might be to flee in fear or sit in passive acquiescence, John calls them to a tough kind of love born of strength and stamina, based on principle and bent toward justice.
This kind of love does not amass riches and privilege for personal benefit but helps those who cannot help themselves. This kind of love is not self-seeking but self-sacrificial, laying down lives for others. This kind of love does not simply say the right things but embodies love with action. This kind of love, as exemplified in the story of Peter and John in Acts 4:5-12, stands up for justice against the oppressed despite persecution from the powerful and privileged. This love is truthful and tender.
And the author reminds us: It is precisely the kind of love that God has for us.

Dear God, help me to love others, even when it is costly to do so. May I remember that through Jesus, this is the way you love me. Amen.

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Leer John 10:11-18

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Leccionario Semanal
April 16–22, 2018
Resumen de la Escritura

This week’s readings open with a confrontation in Acts between Peter and John and some of the religious leaders. Peter speaks in harsh terms to the leaders, stating that they had killed Jesus; yet by the power of Jesus’ name, a man who could not walk has been healed. By that same name spiritual healing happens as well. The other three passages employ the metaphor of the Good Shepherd. “The Lord is my shepherd,” the psalmist declares, and the shepherd cares for all our needs. In John’s Gospel, Jesus declares that he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. First John repeats this imagery. Jesus proved his love when he lay down his life for us. If we truly love one another, we also ought to sacrifice in tangible ways.

Preguntas para la reflexión

• Read Psalm 23. How comfortable do you feel about God’s provision for your life? Do you believe you have enough?
• Read Acts 4:5-12. When have you gotten into difficulty for exercising your Christian faith and values? If never, why not?
• Read 1 John 3:16-24. The writer notes that we may find being called sheep unbecoming. He goes on to mention that the epistle of John addresses followers of Christ as “little children.” Would you prefer to be a sheep or a child? Why?
• Read John 10:11-18. Which of your assumptions about God have been turned upside down? How did this come about?

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