I read the bible sometimes and usually when I do, I write thoughts that come to mind down on sticky notes and stick them in the pages somewhere. Now, the sticky notes tend to fall out and I lose for eternity those brilliant nuggets of wisdom, or at least until I find them on the bottom of my sock. So seeing that primarily I use this blog to store things for the future, and that virtually my only readers are Jen, Brian, Paul, and all those people looking for tsunami pictures - and possibly sometimes Steve - oh wait, and Erich, I think, and I know Rachael drops in - anyway, I want to start posting those nuggets here, mainly for me to read in the future, but you guys will see them too, so if you have any "sticky notes" to add, please do...
Ok, so first reading. John 14 and 15.
* The gist of these two chapters to me is Jesus explaining to the disciples just who exactly are really his followers, and it all clearly revolves around love.
* Those who love him are the ones who obey his commandments (v. 21), and his commandment is to love each other.
* In another place Jesus goes as far as to say that all the law and prophets are summed up in the commandments to love (Paul too)
* And in v.21, interesting order. sounds a lot like the open-endedness of 1 John 4:7 - those who obey my commandments are the ones who love me, and then I will reveal myself to each one of them
* Jesus adds that "you can not be fruitful apart from me" (15:4). Acting out in love can not be done apart from God, because God is the source of all love - indeed of every good thing, because God is love. So someone who acts out in love is demonstrating their connection to Christ.
* You see this in Judas question of clarification. He says, in effect (John's Modern English Paraphrase), "Jesus, it doesn't really seem fair that you would only reveal yourself to us in this small select group, and not to the rest of the world. What's up with that (haven't we all thought that!!!)?? Jesus replies, "the world over, wherever there is someone who loves me, you will know it because they will be the ones doing the things I have taught you about(v. 23). Don't doubt for a second that such people are connected to both my father and me. People who don't love me, don't do the stuff I told you was most important. That's what the Father is trying to communicate."
* Matthew 7:21 - "Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as `Lord,' but they still won't enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven..."
* Matthew 7:18 - "A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit".
*Again, his disciple John echoes this loudly in 1 John 4:7. And Paul in his words on Mars Hill about the unknown god, along with the example of Cornelius, who's prayers and kindness to the poor were heard by God before there was any encounter with Christ. And then Peter in Acts 10:34, "I see clearly now that God doesn't show partiality. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right."
* In one way these ideas are terribly inclusive - too much so for a lot of conservative theologians. In another way, it is even more exclusive, because love is damn hard to live. It's the narrow path. Selfishness is considerably easier than selflessness.
Whoah. That ended up being longer than I expected. Guess these things still get me fired up...