It’s perfectly natural for us all to want to build strong, lasting, meaningful relationships. To love, and to feel loved, lies at the very heart of what it means to be human. As human beings the moment we’re born we grow and develop by being cared for and nurtured by other human beings. Have you ever noticed that other animals arrive newly-born at a higher level of development than humans do? Most animals arrive almost fully formed but, then develop little beyond the stage the reach they reach at around 3 months old.
Humans on the other hand arrive in this world totally dependent on the nurturing of another human being which should ideally continue for nearly two decades to enable the person to thrive and reach their full potential. So, it's natural and its normal to want to feel connected to people and it's also natural and its normal to want to feel nurtured by strong relationships. I also believe it Gods plan for his children to be spiritually nurtured by each other.
For us, our spiritual nurturing should happen within the family of God, his church. In my opinion the Bible is packed full of advice on these matters. The Bible has multiple insights that you will not find in any other place. The unique words and ideas contained in it offer the keys to how we can build healthy, happy, and thriving human relationships. Unique because it is the Word of God.
What I want to share with you today is a passage that I believe helps us live this way. (John 19: 25-27a) Let’s take a moment to look again at the characters gathered around the cross. Verse 25 tells us that there were five people in total. Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene and Jesus' mother also called Mary, plus her sister, plus one un-named disciple. Interestingly the men have appeared to have run, worried that they might be next, and it is the woman who have stayed. Rather mysteriously he is described as; “the disciple whom he loved”. So, who might that be? Fortunately, we don't just have this one verse to try and figure it out. The disciple whom Jesus loved is mentioned, five times in the gospel accounts.
And on all these occasions it is referring to John, the writer of this gospel account. Thousands of people had experienced the life changing teaching and ministry of Jesus, but there are now just five left. Five faithful followers of Christ, four women and one man and Jesus from the cross speaks to them and makes a statement.
Firstly, He says to his Mother, Woman - Behold your son. You see the cross of Christ creates new relationships. New affiliations, new family connections are birthed there. Close relationships, a close as those between a mother and her son. Remember that this statement is made to Mary in the face of the fact that in human terms she is losing her son in the most brutal of circumstances. There can be no greater sorrow for a mother than to lose a child, and to lose one in such painful and dramatic circumstances is beyond measure. In the midst, of this intense moment Jesus says to Mary, today you not just losing a son, you are gaining one.
The cross is not the end, it's the beginning. The cross also represents the beginning of new relationships. Relationships so close they can be described in the terms of a family. Which is why the church is sometimes called, the family of God. Jesus also turns to the John and says, “behold your Mother”. So, the new relationship is reciprocal. Furthermore, He asks John to take care of Her. Because of the cross and Calvary, we are not only related to God and Christ, but we are also now related to one another. Paul reminds us of this when he says. (I Corinthians 12: 13)
The moment anyone trusts in Christ as their saviour, that very moment, you are placed into this amazing community, this thing called the body of Christ. We are connected to God the Father through Christ, but we are also immediately connected to one another. The point is the cross establishes new relationships, close relationships family relationships. However, these new relationships bring new responsibilities. Look again at the text when in John 19: verse 27, Jesus says to His “From that time on, this disciple took her into his home”. From that point on he immediately took on that responsibility. Church History recorded elsewhere says that he did it willingly and did it until the day Mary the mother of Jesus died.
This was, a wonderful decision, but it was a costly decision, because with that new relationship came responsibility. This relationship cost John time, probably cost him money, certainly cost him energy. It was a commitment for the rest of her life, and potentially the rest of his life. True loving relationships are costly, they are based on love and commitment and therefore are costly. They can in human term be inconvenient because they make demands of you, and they give you a burden to carry, but it's a burden we should carry willingly. Relationships which are real and meaningful will always have an emotional and practical cost for us.
However, I don't just want to highlight just the cost, because we also received the many blessings when we have these types of relationships.
Amazing positive benefits because real supportive loving relationships are always a two-way street. Relationships produced by Jesus Christ are relationships formed with the purpose of producing and replicating the love of God. Grasp hold of this friends, Christ not only wants to build and develop His relationship with you. He also wants to build and develop the relationships you have with other believers.
The most valuable thing you possess is your relationship with God. However, that relationship must be reproduced by building loving/nurturing relationships with other believers. Jesus said, “Love God, and love you neighbour as yourself” Jesus Christ restores broken relationships. He also restores our relationship with the God who created us Jesus can also restore our relationships with other people. He can make insignificant relationships significant and He can make good relationships better. Jesus Christ can make all things new, and that particularly applies to understanding ourselves and who we truly are. If you are a follower of Christ, then that relationship means that you are growing by learning to love but also growing most by learning to forgive.
There is no such thing as a significant human relationship that does not only include the ability to love that other person, but also to forgive that other person also. That's why the Bible is the only book in the world where it comes to really understanding and building real nurturing loving relationships. It not only teaches you how you can be forgiven, but It also teaches you how to forgive. It all starts with coming to the cross and establishing a relationship with Christ. A relationship which will naturally draw you ever closer and closer to him, but also should draw you closer and closer to each other and every other Christian believer world-wide. Learn to do that together to treat each other that way in any community God has placed you in by drawing ever closer to the love of God in Christ.
Building Gods Family