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Bible Study Guide for Sunday, May 9, 2021

May 6, 2021
  • Acts 10:44-48
  • 1 John 5:1-6
  • John 15:9-17
  • Psalm 98

John 15:12: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Ah, to be able to do that hour after hour and year after year! In order to appreciate what is being commanded, I first need to really absorb God’s love – truly understand and abide in (to use John’s term) that love. Some inkling of that love is apparent (at least some of the time) when I am relating to my family and close friends. But what about my interactions with the difficult board member I serve with? Or how about my love of the newspaper columnist ranting against ideals I hold dear? How do I really understand the implications of “one another”?

This is why today’s Collect is helpful when I pray “pour into our hearts such love towards you.” Praying for the help I need is certainly a good first step toward responding fully to the commandment. The writer of this Collect clearly had in mind the important story from Acts which concludes with this week’s short excerpt. Recall that Peter had been blown away by God’s message poured into him via a dream (remember the tablecloth lowered from heaven full of edible but previously forbidden creatures?). Peter now understands that the Good News is to be delivered to all people, in particular the Gentiles represented by Cornelius the centurion and his household who are being addressed by Peter in today’s verses. So, inspired by Peter’s message their hearts become open and the Spirit is poured out on them. While we can’t expect a visit from Peter this week, we can at least read scripture and pray that we might grow to believe as did Cornelius.

The verse from John’s Gospel quoted above is in the midst of the long Farewell Discourses found in this Gospel.  The Sunday’s passage follows the wonderful parable describing Jesus as the True Vine in God’s vineyard in which God’s love is manifested by the way He cares for its vines. We are to abide in that love. It is that love which Jesus has in mind when he commands his Disciples (and us) to love one another. He tells us to be like well-tended vines, to go forth and bear fruit. The excerpt from 1 John is clearly of the same mind: we express our love of God by obeying His commandments. Notice that this excerpt claims that God’s commandments are not burdensome. I find that idea surprising at first, but on reflection it seems consistent with the idea of abiding in God’s love that is poured out for us as suggested by the Gospel.

  • “Abide in me” is a key phrase in our reading. How do you understand abiding in God’s love? Or abiding in Jesus?
  • The Collect’s prayer is that God’s love would be poured into our hearts. How else might we pray for help in following Jesus or God’s commandments?

Author: Chuck Medler


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