What is the love of Jesus like?
Colossians 3 tells us Jesus is "the image of the invisible". Therefore as we explore the love of Jesus, we're also understanding the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
John 13 tells the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. It begins with these words "Having loved those who were his in the world, he loved them to the end".
1. The love of Jesus is Unchanging.
John referred to himself as the "disciple Jesus loved"- he and the other disciples came to know that Jesus' love for them was a non-negotiable. He loved them through all their failures, faltering faith, doubts, denials, desertion. "God watched the soap opera of our lives"- Eugene Peterson. His love extends to an interest in the mundanity and challenges of our lives.
2. The love of Jesus is Unconditional.
The Greek word used throughout the New Testament for Love is "Agape"- referring to God-like, unconditional love. Disciples of Jesus live in the wonder of this unconditional love, not thwarted by circumstance (Romans 8: "Nothing can separate us from the love of God").
3. The love of Jesus is Unassuming.
Jesus, Lord of Heaven and Earth, quietly gets up from the table and starts doing the servants job of washing dirty feet. Philippians 2 says "He took the nature of a servant, humbling himself to death, even death on a cross". Humble love serves other people, regardless of whether they get the credit. Jesus quietly took the sins of the world on the cross, serving the whole human race.
4. The love of Jesus is Uncontainable.
Jesus asks the disciples if they've understood what he has done, then tells them to do the same for one another. He's not suggesting, I don't think, that a foot-washing ritual should become part of our lives. But he's saying; find the jobs that need doing in other people's lives and serve them, quietly, without fanfare, with humility. That's what love looks like.
Two reactions we should have:
Help! I could never love to the extent that Jesus loves- it's beyond us! That's a good reaction as it throws us into dependency on God; for when we fail to love like that- we receive his grace and forgiveness freely.
Wonder! Jesus commissions us to love like him. He makes that the defining purpose of our lives. What's the purpose of your life? "Others". As a Christian you may not feel the most gifted, eloquent, experienced or mature. But you can love people.
- Security in the love of Jesus. Why is it important to constantly live in the knowledge and experience of God's love for us? What problems may we have if we don't? What blessing will we have if we do? How can we better live in that permanent knowledge in a world that has a "love deficit"?
- Serving others with the love of Jesus. Read Philippians 2 "the Servant song". How does the love of Jesus practically apply itself? What would it look like in our lives to show those same characteristics?
- In a world that constantly tells you to think of "me first", how can disciples of Jesus look radically different to our culture?
- Read 2 Cor 5:14-16. What do you think it means to "regard no one from an earthly point of view?"