By Ministry Intern Dr Dominic Kuek
“Why can’t I just worship God at home?” It was a question my friend asked more than 5 years ago. Who would have known that a hypothetical question then would be such a pertinent question today? It is a question I ask myself every week, since the thought of joining Sunday service from the comfort of my home is always so alluring! Yet, as I reflect on John 15, I find myself gently rebuked for my individualistic view of discipleship, particularly when God has intended something far bigger for us.
Here in John 15, Jesus continues to comfort his disciples, and explains what their lives ought to look like in his absence. True disciples, Jesus says, are those who abide in him, and are those who bear fruit (John 15:7-8). We abide in Jesus, even in his physical absence, when his words abide in us (v.7) and when we abide in his love (v.9). And we do so when we keep his commandment to love one another as Jesus loved us (vv.10-12). In other words, we abide in Jesus when we show a cross-shaped love for one another, even to the point of death!
It is a challenging thought during this season of isolated worship, when there is minimal community interaction and few opportunities to serve each other. The temptation to be individualistic in our discipleship is too real. All the more reason, then, for us to be intentional in our love for each other. Perhaps we can host another family on Sunday morning to reflect on the sermon together? Perhaps we can meet up for lunch after service to pray together? The possibilities are endless. It might be costly—it is, after all, self-sacrificial love that we are called to—but it is essential if we want to be those who abide in Jesus.
And if we abide in Jesus, we have something glorious to look forward to. Jesus says those who abide in him will bear much fruit—fruit that will, surprisingly, also abide (v.16). True disciples, through their love, will bear fruits of new believers, who themselves will abide in Jesus! Jesus expects the world to be drawn to the gospel through our love for each other. That makes our call to Christian love doubly important—love is how we abide in Jesus, but love is also how we partake in God’s strategy to win over the nations. What a glorious task we have been called to! Let us then strive to love one another as a family, even in this season of digital worship, so that we, as disciples who abide in Jesus, will bear much fruit when the world sees our love.