John 13:34-35 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 that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
I’d like you to picture a little boy, who has obviously found a mud puddle, and has found it a very entertaining thing to play in – covered in mud from head to toe, it’s a picture of someone only a mother could love. She doesn’t love the mud, but she can see through the mud to the boy underneath. She might take a garden hose to wash him down before he come in, but she welcomes back her prodigal son, praying that it doesn’t happen again. We all think mothers are pretty special, they accept us just as we are, and help us to change for the better, they love us always.
So how is it that mothers got to be that way? Did they go to a special school? Or did God simply make them that way? What is the source of this love? I don’t know. But I do know that the scripture tells us that the way we know someone is a Christian is by they way they love one another. Not just us, but all people will be able to recognize real love, and of all the things we are told to do, love one another – is both the hardest and the easiest thing to do.
It is hard, because often we only see what is on the outside – its as though we can see the "covered with mud" but not the boy underneath. That is our eyes stop, and everything else stops as well, we see the sin, and as it were, we turn away. "Covered in mud" is not something we want. While we might go out in search of a little lost lamb, if its "covered in mud" will we pick it up and carry it home? That’s what the good shepherd does, and that is how it is that mothers come to love us as they do – they love us because they have experienced the love of God which is ours in Jesus Christ.
We might not be literally covered in mud, but we do sin much daily, and some times that is all that we can see. But God sees through the sin, God sees someone his only Son suffered and died to save – and because Jesus loved us that much, that he died to save us, God also loves us, and in Jesus blood, he forgives and washes away our sin, and makes us a new creation, a child of God. That is the love of God, that not only does he see through our sin, but that he washes our sin away. When we are lost, God finds us, and brings us home, he forgives us, he restores us, and he gives us his name to carry – we are his own. When we look at the love of God which is ours in Jesus Christ, we see a love that is enduring, forgiving, cleansing, restoring, growing, redeeming, and so much more.
How will all men know we are disciples of our risen savior? How can they see through the mud, that is the sin in our lives? And what is it that makes mothers so special? We look through the person, to see the love that they bring – the love which is ours in Christ Jesus. Sometimes we might not be very good at expressing that love, often obstacles get in our way –
As wonderful as love is, the point is not to glorify love, but to glorify God who has loved us so deeply.