• Pastor Jon

Follow Me: An Introduction to Unconditional Love

Jesus never announced to his disciples: “Hey folks, we’re going to start a new, centralized, institutional religion and name it after me.” Instead, he played the role of a nonviolent leader and launched his movement with the classic words of movement, “Follow me” (see Matthew 4:19, for example).

He used his power to empower others. He did great things to inspire his followers to do even greater things [see John 14:12-14]. Rather than demand uniformity, he reminded his disciples that he had “sheep of other folds” (John 10:16).

He recruited diverse disciples who learned—by heart—his core vision and way of life. Then he sent these disciples out as apostles to teach and multiply his vision and way of life among “all the nations” (Matthew 28:19). [1]

The most important aspect of this radical movement that Jesus started: was unconditional love, as Jesus taught and embodied.

The New Testament makes it abundantly clear that Jesus was about love first and foremost, in word and deed. Jesus began with love for God but inseparably linked that love with love for neighbor [1], with the understanding that neighbor includes the other, the outsider, the outcast, the last, the least, the lost, the disgraced, the dispossessed, and the enemy. This love for neighbor was, in turn, inseparably related to an appropriate love for self. In fact, to love neighbor as oneself leads to the realization that oneself and one’s neighbor are actually distinct yet inseparable realities.

When I think of this new movement, Jesus was inaugurating, then, I think of a movement of revolutionary love. When we can truly see unconditional love as Jesus’ point and passion, then the depth of our devotion to Christ will always lead us to share God’s unconditional love as we continue the work of Jesus by serving all people.

Can you imagine the power of this revolutionary movement of love, if our church would make every competing interest secondary to unconditional love?

Will you join me as we strive to “Follow Jesus” by living out and sharing God’s unconditional love as we continue the work of Jesus by serving all people.


References:

Adapted from  Brian D. McLaren, “Three Christianities,” “The Future of Christianity,” Oneing, vol.7, no. 2 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2019), 73, 75-76.

[1] See Matthew 22:37-40, Mark 12:30-31, and Luke 10:25-28.


#unconditionallove #spreadlove #troycob #troychurchofthebrethren #brethren

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