A Passover Message 4 U


By Pastor Mohanan |  March 24, 2008

Dear Precious Ones of TSH:


In my Easter Mar-23-2008 message I had said that LOVING the Lord is the ONLY qualification for ministry. However, at our Easter Luncheon I was asked about this statement on love by one of our congregants, especially with regard to the qualifications for ministry which the Apostle Paul clearly outlines for us in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus (the Pastoral Epistles). Basically, the question was with regard to love and it corresponding action in ministry. This was a VERY good question, and it has led me to pray, to reflect on our way of being with each other at TSH, and articulate what I as a Pastor expect from our ministry servant-leaders.

Here are my thoughts on how LOVE links up with 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus:

In the Gospel accounts we find that Peter had denied Jesus three times. In John 21:15-25, the Lord Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. Three times Peter affirms his love for the Lord. And three times Peter is reassured. In the Lord’s eyes, Peter’s denial of Jesus in a moment of weakness has not disqualified him from service. Peter will shepherd and care for many of Jesus’ lambs. His denial of Jesus in a moment of weakness has not disqualified him from service! This is amazing! It gives us tremendous amount of hope and stability. The importance of love is seen in this text. Jesus loves because He is LOVE, and not because I have attained His love by my worthiness.

Jesus did not ask Peter about his courage or his resourcefulness or his readiness and ability to provide good leadership. Jesus asked Peter about his LOVE for Him, and ONLY ABOUT HIS LOVE. There is nothing more important in my ministry or your ministry than to love the Lord Jesus Christ. When we love Him, we will never ever fail!

Remember 1 Cor.13:4-8: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. LOVE NEVER FAILS!”

HOWEVER (this is the big however in my letter), in our Western Churches, this Biblical truth of love is mostly centered on INDIVIDUALISM. This word ‘love’ is often coupled with personal pronouns such as I, Me, My, & Mine…North American believers tend to understand Scriptures unilaterally (to oneself), and this individualism filters one’s understanding of leadership, forgiveness, serving, loving, etc. This has caused a lot of relational problems in families and churches because this type of thinking leaves little room for true community – one another-ness!

The idea of an autonomous individual is NOT biblical.

God created us as individuals, but we are created in and for relationship with God and one another. It is in relationship that we reflect the image of God – the Triune God who exists in community as the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. God created us as individuals, uniquely different in race, color, gifts and callings. Yet, we find our true identity and freedom as individuals-in-community, a covenant-community-of-Christ.

Scripture warns against self-centered and self-sufficient individualism but not against individuality.

The church is a diverse community in which each member is unique. Jesus Christ is concerned with the individual, and He related to people according to their individual needs. The individual is not to be lost or engulfed by the community, rather the individual is to be highly valued in the midst of the community. Biblically, the uniqueness and the individuality of the person are to be recognized within the community. The Apostle Paul uses the metaphor of the body and its individual parts as necessary to make up the whole body (1Cor.12:12-26). Each part is distinctive, yet when it works together, it functions as ONE!

As believers, we are called into a relationship with God and with one another in our church communities. We are bound together NOT because we like one another, though it is a good idea, BUT because we are bound by love to SOMEONE greater than ourselves – the Holy Trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – our loving relational God. Therefore, we must live as two-dimensional believers, who find their uniqueness and individuality not is isolation, but in Covenant, committed-to-one-another-and-to Christ.

It is about the New Testament Commandment that our Lord left for us BEFORE his crucifixion:

John 13:34: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

After all when our Jesus washed the disciples’ feet at the Passover meal in John 13, He was embodying for us what a true covenant-community servant-leadership anchored in love looks like…ALL the qualifications of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus.

Let us reflect the image of God in our relationships with one-another…as shown to us in John 13.

Your Servant,

Pastor Mohanan