Thursday, February 23, 2012

Love Them Like Jesus

Love Like Jesus.

Sounds simple and it sounds easy, but the truth is its not. When we talk about “love like Jesus” we typically envision a patient, longsuffering, almost permissive (submissive?) kind of love. A love that bears all things,as Paul so eloquently puts it. Love is certainly all of that … and it is more.

Jesus is undoubtedly the model for us as we think about what it means to love. We look to him for teaching and examples of what it looks like to truly love. Everyone Jesus encountered (male/female, Jew/Gentile, wealthy/poor, clean/unclean, Pharisee/Scribe/Leper) was a person whom he loved. So … If we are to love like Jesus loved we have to ask, “How did Jesus love?” Here are just some observations from the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life.

He gave of himself sacrificially (John 10:11)
He was patient (Matthew 23:37).
He forgave those who wronged him (Luke 23:34).

That’s a Jesus we’re pretty familiar with. But there’s more.

He rebuked people in the strongest of ways (Matthew 12:34 & 23:27).
He told people what they didn’t want to hear (Matthew 9:12; Mark 2:27).
He let people walk away (Mark 10:22; John 6:66-67).

That may be a Jesus that shocks us. A Jesus who calls the Scribes and Pharisees names. Who speaks truth even to unwilling ears. Who lets people walk away and doesn’t follow after them or beg them to stay.

And he does it because he loves them.