Children’s Sermon

John 13: 33-35

The Most Important Thing

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John 13: 33-35

The Most Important Thing

By Dr. Carol J Miller

Have for each child an envelope with a card (or slip of paper) in it that says: Attention! You have a command from Jesus: LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

This is the Easter season. Who can tell me what we celebrate on Easter? What was the most important thing that happened to Jesus? [Respect all answers]. Yes, on Easter we celebrate that God raised Jesus from the dead. Well, today we are going backwards. We are going to think about something Jesus said the night before he died. Jesus died on a Friday, so what day of the week would be the day before that? [Respect the children’s answers]. Right, it was Thursday. Now sometimes it is called “Holy Thursday”. But it has another name too. It is called “Maundy Thursday.” Now I didn’t say “Monday Thursday.” The word is “Maundy”. It is a word from another language and it means “command.” So, then, “Maundy Thursday means “Command Thursday.”

It is this command that I want to talk with you about today. A command is an order. If you are going to be a follower of Jesus, you have to do this. It’s an order from Jesus. Here is the order. Listen carefully. Jesus said to the disciples: “I’m giving you a new command: you must love one another, just as I have loved you. You also must love one another.“That’s it: “Love one another.” Now, I’ll tell you a secret that I’ll bet most of the grownups don’t know. In the New Testament, the words “one another” always means fellow disciples—Jesus’ followers.

So Jesus is commanding his disciples to love each other. Why? Because if Jesus’ followers can’t love each other, then they can’t love other people—people they don’t even know. How can the disciples go out into the world to tell everyone that God’s love is the most important thing, if the disciples are fighting with each other, and gossiping about each other, and not helping each other? If other people see that, will people who are not part of Jesus’ people believe that the disciples know anything about God’s love?

The Church—Jesus’ disciples—are supposed to show everyone what life is like when Jesus is in charge of it. We are supposed to show everyone how we act when God’s love is in our hearts. If we don’t care about each other or help each other, then we don’t have God’s love in our hearts.

Let me read what Jesus said after he gave us this command: Jesus said,“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Ah ha! That’s how we show what the Church is—by loving each other so everyone can see what love looks like! They will see the love that God’s people have. So they will know that this is the kind of love God is! You’ve heard a command I’ve heard a command. For the rest of today think about how you are going to obey that command! That’s the most important thing!

(Give each child an envelope with the command in it).

Scripture quotations are the author’s paraphrase.

Copyright 2013, Richard Niell Donovan