Love Like Jesus–Isolation vs. Engagement: John 1:37-39

Isolation Engagement Love Like Jesus

When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

John 1:37-39

How Jesus Loved People:

In this passage we see Jesus loving people by engaging with them. The two following don’t say a word, so Jesus turns around and initiates conversation, “What do you want?” He asks.

“Where are you staying?” They ask back.

Then, rather than answering directly, Jesus answers in a way that will draw them in, “Come, and you will see.”

These two, the first two disciples of Jesus, follow Him and spend the day with Him. Later we’ll see all twelve of Christ’s disciples traveling with Him and living with Him on the road.


Love Like Jesus

Love requires engagement. I suppose, at the opposite end of the spectrum from engagement we find isolation. Isolation is unhealthy on several different levels that we won’t go into here but one thing I know with absolute certainty: isolation kills relationships. I know this with complete certainty because I have a tendency to isolate myself. One of the great pleasures I enjoy in life is that of immersing myself in the creative process. I believe it’s a good thing to do because I believe God designed me this way. However, when I’m immersed too deep for too long, it’s very hard on relationships. It’s just impossible to communicate love to people when you’re isolated. It’s that simple. (for more on isolation see previous post: It is not good for the man to be alone)

I know of a county sheriff in the Southeastern part of the U.S. who provides an interesting illustration of the importance of engagement and the problem of isolation. He’s a first class person, this sheriff. He’s conscientious, hard working, of great integrity, smart, and he treats people very well. A few years ago, as the end of his term approached and election time neared, not surprisingly, everyone who worked in headquarters supported him. They were raving fans. They told everyone they knew to vote for the guy. But unfortunately, as good as he was, he had the habit of working at headquarters, focused on problem solving. This was done at the expense of spending time with his deputies out in the field. The result was his deputies didn’t just not support him, but many hated him. As enthusiastic as the headquarters people who saw him every day were for his reelection, his deputies who he rarely spent time with were equally enthusiastic for him to lose. They wanted him out.

Love requires engagement.

Of course Jesus was a master at this. He engaged to the point that He lived with His disciples for three years. His engagement with His followers was (and is) amazing. He delivered Holy Spirit inspired teachings, He touched people, He healed people, He loved people.

In my own life there were times when I did well in this area of engagement and times when I did not. The difference in my relationships was dramatic. The trap, for some of us, is to feel as though engaging with others is not a productive use of time. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Love requires engagement.

And without love we’re nothing.

Engage people.

“…if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

1 Corinthians 13:2

[Image via jared moran – Creative Commons]

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