Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.
John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.
It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.
Love like Jesus.
Love is the goal of all of Christian life. Love that is displayed in the life of Jesus. The life and death of Jesus. This love is described in 1 Corinthians 13. Let’s consider.
Love is patient
It has been years since a brother once instructed me to replace the term “love” with “Jesus” to get a better understanding of who He is.
Jesus is patient
Patience is a major theme in the word of God. Almost exclusively of the patience of God.
Believers are to be patient. That is, if we are to express the love of God through Jesus Christ. The love of God through Jesus Christ does not look like the love that is popularized in the media, the emotional gushy teary eyed feeling that makes you go awwwww.
To love as Jesus loved is impossible for us humans. That is why we need to depend on Him for the strength to do that which is not natural.
This is where patience comes in. To be patient means to wait. To possibly loose opportunity. To sacrifice instead of to consume. I don’t know about you, but this is not natural for me.
And yet, this Greek word Paul uses is trying to teach us much more. You see, the Bible uses two Greek words for patience. The first one we come across in this passage is makrothumos, This is a compound Greek word from makro, which we use in English with words like macroeconomics, or largeness of economics. It defines largeness or farness, distant. Thumos, surprisingly speaks of passion, anger, wrath.
Putting these two together we get the concept of anger being far away, long enduring temper. It is the practice of putting off anger, even rightly deserved anger. This is a blessing in the nature of God. This is sorely absent in the nature of man.
We come across the idea of patience once more in the passage we are considering. 1 Corinthians 13:7 speaks of
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
The concept of patience is in the word “endure” and yet it is not the term we are looking at. This Greek word in this second passage is hupomeno. There are two terms for the concept of patience in this text. Interesting!
Jesus replacing Love
So is my brother’s suggestion of replacing the term love with Jesus accurate and helpful?
Based on common knowledge of the Word of God, patience is surely a typical characteristic of God, and by extension Jesus the Messiah. Many examples in the gospels show His seemingly unending patience with His disciples, and towards those who were planning His death.
Yet, in my research, I found only one passage in the gospels that uses this term in relation to God’s patience. This is surprising since the Word speaks of the patience of God in numerous passages, from the Psalms to the book of Revelation.
And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.
And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?
I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Our Lord speaks of God’s reaction to His saints as they seek relief from Him. As we wait on the Lord, and sometimes feel like He is delaying long, Jesus gives us a different perspective. The Father will give justice speedily. Delays from our perspective are what works in us a greater glory, an exercise of patience required to build character. When the exercise of our patience has come to full fruition, the Father will quickly, at that time, supply justice.
The exercise of our patience is typically related to our suffering, and the relief is the justice we seek. His patience over our situation is for our good.
In closing, I would ask for help with understanding Jesus’ last phrase. You know, “when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” How does that relate to the patience of God in providing justice speedily? This parable has always given me more questions than answers, and your input would be appreciated
Our next study will take a bit of a rabbit trail, since the idea of two greek words speaking of patience for the believer kinda intrigues me
Hope you will join me as I look into the difference, and understand the love of Jesus more.
I look forward to comments and discussion. May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.
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One thought on “Love Like Jesus – Patience”
“when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” Thank you for an opportunity to add to your dialog.
The following may be speculative theology or a minority opinion. It is a bit of a twist of sorts and expounds upon the intent of the Priestly sources for the Abrahamic stories.
Specifically, Jesus is referring to the Faith of Lot (x-ref Luke 17). When Jesus returns will he find a faith community as faithful as Lot’s who continued to minister in what can be described as the most difficult anywhere ever in the world, ever.
Two distinct threads in the story.
Moral/Historical and Priestly.
The role of the Priest (Lot/Church/Us) is the faithfulness of Lot even in the most depraved (charity less) Sodom.
Jesus isn’t worried about an ineffective Church as much as he is worried about an insular Church.
The speedy justice of God is his continued presence even to the bowels of godlessness.