Jesus Loved First

The example of how followers of Jesus should relate to one another is found in the Trinity. Jesus instructed his disciples that they were to love one another after the pattern of his relationship with the Heavenly Father (John 15:9-12). For eternity the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have loved one another with a familial love and have brought delight to one another as witnessed at the baptism of Jesus:

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22)

The beauty of love among the Trinity overflows to a love for mankind. We are responders to this love that empowers us to love others. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (1 John 3:16) “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)­ God’s love for and delight in your disciple is his basis for relating to others.

Making disciples of Jesus requires simultaneous efforts on your part to help your disciple learn how relate to God and how relate to people. As he deepens his understanding of God’s love for him he will deepen his relationship with people and as he deepens his relationship with people he will discover new measures of his relationship with God.

Observing Beauty

Disciple making requires living in close proximity to your disciple in order for him to have the opportunities to observe the beauty of how you and your family live out kingdom values. Although instruction is important, life change comes by witnessing another actually living out these beliefs. It matters little what you say to your disciple in comparison to what he observes from your life. As Marion Wade has said, “If you don’t live it, you don’t believe it.” One example of this from the life of Jesus is when the twelve shooed away the children thinking them a nuisance until Jesus demonstrated the beauty of children by placing them into his lap.

My parents have consistently lived out the values of the kingdom for over 60 years. In the 1960’s it was customary for a new car owner to leave the dealer’s sticker on the car window to let every one know that he had bought a new car.  Only after he had paraded around town in his new automobile for a few days would he then remove the sticker. Not Lew Clark. My dad had the dealer remove the sticker from the window before he would drive the car off the lot. I do not ever remember my parents instructing me about humility but that one small act of beauty by my dad did not go unnoticed by me as a young boy and it has made a lifetime impact on my character.

The Pursuit of Beauty

Beauty transforms lives. To follow Jesus is to pursue beauty because he is the embodiment of all that is beautiful. The story of Jesus in his life, death, and resurrection is the most beautiful ever told.

Jesus demonstrates for us how to replace the odious with the beautiful through his interaction with his disciples. Beauty is cultivated in the life of a disciple by him experiencing the beautiful. Jesus taught his men the beauty of serving by washing their feet. Later they experienced the beauty of placing others ahead of themselves when Jesus laid down his life for them.

The cost of making a disciple is your willingness to sacrifice your life for your disciple in order for him to experience beauty. Just being taught about serving or being instructed about sacrifice does not change a life; rather it is by the laying down of your life for your disciple that he will come to understand spiritual truth. It is only in the experience of being served or in the experience of having another lay down his life for you does the life changing power of beauty take affect.