Lesson for Sunday November 14 –
This is a follow up to a previous lesson where Jesus details the greatest commandment. He says in Mark 12:28-31:
“…“Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Loving one another can involve many things, including helping each other. And more specifically, encouraging one another in our Christian walk and service. Even the strongest of Christians need encouragement. Consider what Paul says in Romans 1:8-15:
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers,[c] that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians,[d] both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. (Emphasis added).
Paul’s statement raises a number of questions about our obligation to one another:
1. Why was Paul so interested in seeing the Romans? Was it only so he could teach them? (i.e. impart some spiritual gift)
2. What is the mutual encouragement faithful people can give to each other? Who do you look to for encouragement? See Acts 18:27, Acts 20:2, I Corinthians 14:31, Ephesians 6:22, I Thessalonians 4:18, 5:11.
3. Do we feel an obligation to others, including those with whom we may have disagreements or don’t share a common faith?
4. How (or) does encouraging one another meet Jesus’ command to love your neighbor as yourself.