Authentic Relationships Print
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 12:55

Whenever I read through the gospels I am amazed at how little Jesus said about the church. Only Matthew records him even using the word and then only twice. Why didn't he tell his followers more about how to organize a church, run its ministries and plan its services?

I think I know why. He didn't talk about it is because he was too involved living it. He became a friend to Zaccheus, James, John, Peter, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Nicodemus, a rejected woman at a well who remained nameless and countless others that came into his proximity. Look at the ways he engaged them, built relationships with them centered in the Father's love and served them with no thought for himself. That was the power of his kingdom and the secret to living in the joy of his family. "I no longer call you servants... I have called you friends," (John 15:15) and in that simple declaration Jesus identified for all time the nature of the relationship God has always desired with those he created-intimate friendship.

So when Jesus walked among people, the only one who could truly treat others selflessly, the whole world was turned upside down. At the end of his ministry all he needed to do was tell his followers to go and treat others the same way he had treated them. They knew exactly what he was talking about for they had watched him. We see the marvelous fruit of that in the earliest stages of the life of the church. They were not focused on liturgy, tradition or growth strategies, but on the power of simple God-centered friendships, both with believers and those still trapped in the world.

The early believers didn't see themselves as an institution; they saw themselves as a family. Church wasn't something they went to, but a way of living in relationship with the Father and his other children. Indeed, having learned to love each other, they were unable to restrain themselves from treating others in the world with that same love. It marked them exactly as Jesus said it would-as children of God in a hostile world.

The world marveled at their ability to live selflessly. They had become others-focused like Jesus and the world was transformed by it. When the apostles summed up the early believers' lifestyle, they didn't mention much about their organization or meetings. Instead they wrote about their relationships and the joy of treating each other the same way God had treated them.

Sown throughout the New Testament are the one anothering Scriptures that defined their life together. Many of these are repeated multiple times, but there are 23 unique references to their shared life using the words 'one another' or 'each other.'

By Wayne Jacobsen and Clay Jacobsen

Whenever I read through the gospels I am amazed at how little Jesus said about the church. Only Matthew records him even using the word and then only twice. Why didn't he tell his followers more about how to organize a church, run its ministries and plan its services?

I think I know why. He didn't talk about it is because he was too involved living it. He became a friend to Zaccheus, James, John, Peter, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Nicodemus, a rejected woman at a well who remained nameless and countless others that came into his proximity. Look at the ways he engaged them, built relationships with them centered in the Father's love and served them with no thought for himself. That was the power of his kingdom and the secret to living in the joy of his family. "I no longer call you servants... I have called you friends," (John 15:15) and in that simple declaration Jesus identified for all time the nature of the relationship God has always desired with those he created-intimate friendship.

So when Jesus walked among people, the only one who could truly treat others selflessly, the whole world was turned upside down. At the end of his ministry all he needed to do was tell his followers to go and treat others the same way he had treated them. They knew exactly what he was talking about for they had watched him. We see the marvelous fruit of that in the earliest stages of the life of the church. They were not focused on liturgy, tradition or growth strategies, but on the power of simple God-centered friendships, both with believers and those still trapped in the world.

The early believers didn't see themselves as an institution; they saw themselves as a family. Church wasn't something they went to, but a way of living in relationship with the Father and his other children. Indeed, having learned to love each other, they were unable to restrain themselves from treating others in the world with that same love. It marked them exactly as Jesus said it would-as children of God in a hostile world.

The world marveled at their ability to live selflessly. They had become others-focused like Jesus and the world was transformed by it. When the apostles summed up the early believers' lifestyle, they didn't mention much about their organization or meetings. Instead they wrote about their relationships and the joy of treating each other the same way God had treated them.

Sown throughout the New Testament are the one anothering Scriptures that defined their life together. Many of these are repeated multiple times, but there are 23 unique references to their shared life using the words 'one another' or 'each other.'

By Wayne Jacobsen and Clay Jacobsen