55 - The Philippian Church
Becoming a Christian will change your life, not only your inner spiritual life, but your external, relational life as well. Not only are you joined to Jesus when you believe, but you become joined to His people. This doesn’t mean you stop loving your own natural family, but it does mean you start feeling that same kind of love for those who are your spiritual family. You become committed to them as if they were your own flesh and blood. Jesus actually said that the spiritual bond formed between Him and us, and between those who believe with each other, would be closer than the deep ties we have with natural family members. Listen: Matthew 12:46-50. He isn’t trying to tear us away from our natural families. He wants us to love them, but sometimes knowing Jesus divides people, and He warned us that might even happen in our families: Matthew 10:32-39.
Jesus unites those of us who love Him, and tends to separate from us those who don’t, which can leave us feeling very alone, which is why He’s given us to each other and commanded us to love each other. He’s placing us into His family. He said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this, all men will know you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Jn 13:34, 35)
New Eyes (2Co 5:16)
When Jesus rose from the dead a new, eternal, spiritual family was begun. He is now the “firstborn,” the eldest Son of a new race of humans, whom the Father has adopted as His children (Ps 2:7). Right now that reality is hidden from sight, but the day will come when we will be revealed in our resurrected bodies and share His glory. Yet, here and now, while still living in this present age, He asks us to look at each other with new eyes, to look past the natural, the superficial, and recognize a beloved child of God (2 Co 5:16).
If we will put aside old prejudices and fears and begin to see one another differently, and choose to love one another genuinely, He says we will become a powerful prophetic voice to our community. They will observe in us a level of love and grace they do not see anywhere else, and they will know that Jesus must be real.