We see God’s love demonstrated in the way Jesus treated others, especially those who mistreated and hurt him. If Jesus exemplified this sacrificial love, why then, is it so hard for us to love those who have wronged us?
The Girl With a Broken Life
My favorite philosopher is Soren Kierkegaard and, years ago, he told this parable…
Imagine a king who fell in love with a humble peasant. She came from a simple family. In fact, she didn’t have the royal pedigree befitting a woman who drew the king’s interest. She dressed in rags and lived in the slums. Hers was a broken life.
For reasons no one could understand, the king fell head over heels for this girl. He tried to subdue his feelings but conquer them he could not.
More than anything, the king wanted a relationship with this girl, but it seemed impossible. How could he reveal his devotion to her, and how could he win her love? And, perhaps the more significant challenge, how could he bridge the vast chasm that separated them?
The Need For Intimate Love
The king’s advisors would tell him to order her to become his queen. He could command her, and she would tremble. He could force her to move into his palace, but he could not make her find love for him within her heart. And, he would have her presence with him, but what he wanted was for her to have affection for him. The bottom line is, he longed to have an intimate relationship with her.
We see God’s love in the way Jesus treated others, especially those who mistreated and hurt him.
The king’s advisors might recommend he bridge the chasm between them by elevating her to his standing. He could overwhelm her with gifts – beautiful jewels and silk gowns. He could shower her with the outpouring of his wealth and greatness.
Admittedly, she would be moved, forever grateful. But how would he ever know if she loved him for him or for all the gifts he gave her? How could she know that he would have liked her if she had stayed a poor peasant?
The King Who Became a Peasant
The king’s advisors would propose that he find a more suitable woman, someone more worthy of his love and of the position of queen. But this the king could never do. Every other alternative came to nothing. The king realized there was only one way.
So, one morning the king left his throne, took off his crown, and laid aside his wand and royal robes. The king left the palace and took on the life of a peasant. Like the one he loved, he dressed in rags, worked hard, and lived in a slum. He didn’t just take on the appearance of a peasant, it became his life.
He became as ragged as the one he loved, in hopes that they might be united forever.
The God Who Became a Human
God had forever existed in heaven. God was God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. The Bible describes how Jesus (who is referred to as “the Word” and “the light”) was with God, and was God, from the beginning.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all humankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5).
God lived in a perfect community of love, and did not need anyone, but chose to create humans with whom he could share his passion.
God created these humans, and he loved them. More than anything, he wanted a relationship with them. How could he reveal his love to them? How could he win their respect? Perhaps, the more significant challenge, how could he bridge the vast chasm that separated them? God realized there was only one way.
John 1:9, “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” Jesus left Heaven to come to the world. He became one of us, and he became “Emmanuel,” God with us.
God’s Love In the World
God loved the world, so he sent his son. His son came to love the world. When you look at the life of Jesus, you see God’s passion coming through him all the time.
You see God’s love in the way Jesus chose his disciples, the guys he would train up to be the leaders of his movement. Jesus chose guys no one else would have had any use for. These were not people who had been selected first on the playground. They may have been chosen last. But they were the guys Jesus chose.
You see God’s love in the way Jesus dealt with people who were ostracized by others. There was the woman who had a disease that caused everyone to shun her. Jesus healed her condition and then, in front of everyone, he called her, “Daughter.” Or the man with leprosy who asked Jesus for healing. Jesus didn’t have to touch people to heal them. But this man with leprosy hadn’t been touched in years. No one would touch him, because of fear of catching his dreaded disease. Jesus reached out, touched the man, and said, “You are now clean” (see Matthew 8:3).
God’s Love For Sinners
You see God’s love in the way Jesus dealt with people caught in sin. He invited himself over to a greedy, immoral, embezzling tax collector’s home for lunch. By the time Jesus left, the guy is smiling and laughing and giving away money to the poor. Jesus forgave and set free a woman who was caught doing a crime that, at that time, brought on the death penalty. Jesus was called a “friend of sinners.” It was meant as a putdown, but he didn’t take it that way. He liked sinners. He came to bring God’s love to them in a way they could understand.
You see God’s love in the way Jesus dealt with those who mistreated him. On the cross, Jesus prays that his Father in Heaven will forgive the people who have stripped him of his clothes, savagely beat him, and are now executing him. “Father, forgive them,” Jesus says, “They do not know what they’re doing” (Luke 23:24).
Love Is The Works Of Love
Soren Kierkegaard had a saying, “Love is the works of love.” When you love, it shows itself through action. Love always leads you to do something.
Reflect on the affection that led God to come to earth for us. The Love showed itself in the way Jesus loved others. Loving others is the works of love.
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