When we come to the topic of love, the deepest love I can imagine is the self sacrificial love of the Messiah. It is beyond comprehension, even beyond mental belief, if we are honest with ourselves.
He has shown a way that is to be followed by those who have seen His goodness, His self sacrificial giving of Himself, or denying His own glory in order to provide for others, even His enemies, those that call for His crucifixion and death.
It is a story, real as it is, that sometimes seems unreal. I am not denying the gospel – No no no. – yet to consider the message, and the man behind the message, the Lord Jesus as a breathing walking person who suffered, hungered, felt shame and fear, sometimes escapes me.
He travelled amongst those who hated Him, (and a few that loved Him, but didn’t “get” Him), and sought to serve them, either through mercy or hardness, through tough words that didn’t reach soft hearts, but refused to respond to His call.
He never gave up on His mission, even though everyone else did. Everyone abandoned Him, even His Father as He hung on the tree, bleeding and dying for sins He never committed.
How can that be understood?
I tell you, that the depth of it cannot be understood, other than in a faint way, a glimmer of that love that shines on us through our relations with others.
Without others, the story of the Savior, through true as truth, can become almost academic. Facts and figures of the story can sometimes dull the sense of the story, the “feel” of the gospel.
Love is an action word and because of that, we understand love through the actions of the Lord, through His creation, and especially through His people.
But as I have walked this pilgrim way for the past four decades, I have found that some of the cruelest people confess Christ, and it confuses me. Sure they may be false converts, and that is something I consider, yet I fear that some have lost focus on the goal of the Christian life. I know I do.
For you see, I am a studier, I love research. I have studied numerous topics in the Bible, and when I have just enough information to be dangerous, I go on the attack. Arguing a point to no end, shaming others that do not hold my very specific point of view, elevating myself (in my own view) over my brother and sister, even spreading gossip and lies in order to protect myself from the truth.
Christ died for our sins.
We need to remember that He died for His brothers and sisters, and not just ourselves. This is a challenge for myself since I have this tendency to consider myself better than others, better that those that I love deepest. And yet, when I do give up something I love in order to help someone else, when I leave behind a dream or aspiration, a possession or activity that I seemingly can’t live without, a tremendous freedom is experienced, and lightening of my soul.
This only do I need to say. Love the brethren, and remember, even just for today…
1 John 3:16
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
1 John 4:7
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.