There was a night around 2,000 years ago that Jesus of Nazareth said to His followers, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). The following day, He did just that, and not only for His friends but for His enemies too. The whole world (John 3:16).
Paul said that “the love of Christ…surpasses knowledge…” (Eph. 3:19). Jesus through the Spirit directed Paul to command us to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15; cf. 1 Cor. 14:37; 2 Pet. 1:19-21). He also directed Paul to command us to always use words which are “gracious, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6). Thus, I have no doubt whatsoever that He Himself always did the same. He was…and is…thoroughly loving and compassionate. His preaching was the same.
The gospel accounts show us how gentle and tender He was when He interacted with people. For example:
Matthew 19:13-15 (ESV)
13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people,
14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.
He was very kind and considerate to these children. He wanted them to come to Him and spend time with Him. He could sympathize with them.
He sympathizes with us, too. Consider this…
Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV)
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Philippians 2:5-8 (ESV)
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
I cannot fathom the amount of love the Son of God must have for you and me to the point that He would leave Heaven — equality with God — to live a life as a frail man surrounded by frail and sinful man and subject Himself to a lifetime of temptations to sin. But He did…and He did it so that you and I could “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
He gave His life for us because He loves us and everyone else so much…so why was His life in danger? Why did He have so many enemies? Yes, He was direct with people as we studied on Monday…but He was and is the epitome of love for everyone at the same time. So why did so many turn away from Him and turn on Him?
Lord willing, I’m going to write a few words about that before the week is out. Stay tuned. In the meantime, what do you think about the love of Christ? Share your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!