In all my years of following Jesus, falling and getting up again by His hand of mercy, failing to love like He loves when someone betrays me, I have finally learned a very important lesson: Love God. Love Others. Always go back to the basics.
Love God no matter what is going on in our lives because He NEVER stops loving us! Love Others like Jesus loves us. His love looks like this: Love all who are in your life and all around your life, all who work with you in your vocation, all who are in your immediate family and those in extended family, all who are imperfectly finding Jesus and being perfectly forgiven, those who are striving to follow Jesus in every part of their lives, those who fail and fall but get back up again, all who come to His church building to get a glimpse of Him and worship Him, and finally all who hurt, despise and malign you. Love God first with all that is in you. Then, with His love in you, Love Others.
There is an even more important lesson I have learned about the extreme, relentless love of Jesus. The more I realize the depth of His love for me, the greater and deeper my love for others grows. It all begins with the One who is Love.
The Greatest Commandment
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
THINK ABOUT IT…
If all the world who God loved so much that He sent His Son to lay down His live to save us, so that we could have a complete relationship with God, Abba Father, and become one of his children, heirs with Jesus, could realize the extent, depth and height of His love for us and love Him and each other like He loves us…it would be revolutionary! This revelation of Jesus’ love in the hearts of mankind would result in a revolution of real love, perfect love, forgiving love, patient love. We would stop holding grudges, betraying each other, trying to get the upper hand, win arguments, fight to the death on worldly views, make lists of grievances, harbor hate which drives fear and mistrust. We would no longer be divided but united…in Jesus’ love.
What kind of love is this?
Self-less love. Self comes last. God comes first, others second in the two commandments Jesus is telling the religious elite (and us) that are the most important to live for God. And they didn’t “get it”. They refused to get it because God was not in their lives. They divorced God from all of life. They did not like this revolutionary thinking and behaving that Jesus was telling and showing in the lives of all people.
We will see later in our study of Matthew that in just a few hours, the religious leaders will continue making their lists of false grievances so they can nail Perfect Love to a cross. We will also see Jesus wash the feet of a the one who will betray him, a friend and follower.
People still moan…“But Jesus, you don’t know what I’ve been through and still enduring in my life!” To say that Jesus doesn’t know what criticism, betrayal, ridicule, bullying, mocking along with the final torture of being nailed to a thick beam, then hoisted up on a crude cross publicly for all to jeer as His blood flowed, is a lie. Jesus went to and through hell and came back again to defeat death, paying for all our sins…all because of His love for us. It was Jesus mission on earth to reconcile us to God.
Some of His final words on the cross were, “Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” Can we loving forgive like that?
What kind of love is this? Perfect, sacrificial, self-less, Jesus more, love. Love God. Love Your Neighbor. Love the world. Love like Jesus.
Paul explained the love of Jesus to the church like this:
“ In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2, NIV
Read the whole chapter for the story of complete love lived for God.
Do you really believe what you believe is really real? If yes, then continue to love God and love others like Jesus loves us. If no, then ask God to help you in your unbelief. He will. God wants to have a relationship with you now and for eternity. God wants His best for you.
You are God and we are not. You loved us first. You taught us how to love in Jesus. Your love was demonstrated by Your Son. Thank you, dear Jesus, for all you did so that I can be free to love unconditionally like you. Help me daily to go deeper in realizing your love for me so I can love others like you love me. Thank you for being Love.
In Jesus Name, Amen