The Price for Spiritual Relationships – Part 2

26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
Jn. 19:26-27

Notice, “And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”

Jesus’ mother physically moved from wherever she was staying and went to live in that disciple’s home!

Do you seriously think that Jesus’ mother did not have a home of her own? She certainly did. But the Bible says that from that day she moved to that disciple’s home.

In some societies (and probably even in Jesus’ Jewish community) that is unacceptable. You cannot take a grown woman who has grown children of her own and move her into someone else’s home – especially on grounds of ‘religion’. There are a whole lot of problems associated with such a ‘move’, chief of which is a show of disrespect for the family from which you are taking that person.

But apparently Jesus was not thinking about such things. Or probably He was, but He knew his mother and the disciple would be ready to pay the price for such a ‘move’.

When we build spiritual relationships, we will be willing to pay the price to attach our lives to the men and women that God has brought us together with in the Spirit. We may not physically move to someone’s home as Jesus’ mother did; but in the Spirit, we will move. That is the important thing.

In the Spirit we will move.

When we first heard the gospel of the cross in Musoma, my wife and I would take our two small children and our food, and we would move to a brother or sister’s house and stay there for two or three days. We valued the brother or sister for who they were in the Spirit and we were willing to pay a price to identify with them.

In the same manner, brothers and sisters would come and stay in our home. We were building spiritual relationships.

Now, we were not taught this ‘doctrine’. No one told us or taught us to do that. We had not even read John 19:26-27. What we did was simply a result of the working of the gospel in our lives.

Today, the churches that we work with under the banner of the gospel of the cross are one strong church. Storms have come and gone, but this church has only grown stronger. There are men and women in these churches for whom I would not hesitate to lay down my life, and likewise there are brethren who would be more than willing to lay down their lives for me. And I can walk into any one of these churches and feel as much at home just as if I were in my own house.

But all this has come at a price. I believe that in the context of the gospel of Jesus Christ, a disciple whom Jesus loves is one who is walking the narrow road. Not that Jesus does not love everyone else. We know God so loves the whole world (Jn. 3:16); but we are talking in the Spirit here. Jesus has a special love for those who are walking the narrow road (Philippians 3).

Just as Jesus’ mother moved into that disciple’s home we, too, ought to pay the price to actively identify our lives with those whom “Jesus loves” – those who are walking the narrow road. When we are built on the right foundation, which can only be the foundation of the cross (1 Cor. 3:10,11), we will desire and we will pay the price to build only spiritual relationships. We will identify and build relationships with those who are walking the narrow road, the road of the cross.

This is particularly important with regard to leadership. We should not submit our lives to just any ‘pastor’. Today, God’s people all over are submitting their lives to “wolves in sheep’s skins”, and their lives are being laid to waste. But we should pray for a spirit of revelation, that we may know a true shepherd, a man who is walking in the revelation of the cross of Christ.

On the other hand, there are many Christians who are in churches for any number of reasons except the single, important reason – that they be taught to deny their lives, to take up their cross and follow Christ.

Notice I am not saying that we should not build relationships with a weak brother or sister. A brother or sister could be weak, but they have the desire to identify their lives with Christ. You can feel the desire in their hearts; you can see the great struggle they are in to lay down their lives at the altar.

You can identify your life with such a brother or sister.

The disciple whom Jesus loved I presume was John (Jn. 21:20-25), and in the Bible we know that John and his brother James were the most devious and cunning fellows amongst Jesus’ disciples. Added to this was the fact that they had quite a temper (Mk. 3:17, Lk. 9:54)!

John was clearly a weak man. But Jesus loved him. No doubt, it was for a spiritual reason.

[Below: Downtown Mwanza City]


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