Lesson 8 -- second quarter 2003
April 20, 2003
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications
The greatest love
Jesus loves you. He loves you to such a degree that He could not love you more. Not long before His death He said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Before that He had declared, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep" (John 10:11). And some years later Paul would write, "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). The evidence is convincingly clear: Jesus loved you enough to die for you. That means He could not love you more. John 13:1 says He loved His own "unto the end." I don't take that to mean that He ran out of love nor that loved till He ran out of life. I understand that to mean that He loved with His full love. He loved you and me completely and without reserve. He had no greater love to give!
Now a question: What difference does it make? Yes, that's right. What difference does it make that He loved us to that extent? What I'm getting at is this: Jesus' love for us should make a huge difference in how we relate to others. Listen . . . .
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another" (1 John 4:11). Since So-and-So wasn't beneath or beyond God's love, should I not love that person as well? More importantly, since God loved me, how shall I dare withhold my love from another?
"And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us" (Ephesians 5:2). God calls His people to relate to others with the same selfless love with which Christ loved us. We have the commission to live Christ's love and sacrifice in our own relationships. That person across the table from us, the foul-mouthed individual at the check stand, the boisterous young folks gathered around the car in the convenience store parking lot, the minister even now finishing his mental sermon preparations -- God loves each one. Shall I refuse?
He doesn't belong here
Those who saw Jesus die as well as those who heard of His death knew where He belonged. Whether sad, glad, or indifferent because of His death, everyone knew where He belonged. And they were all wrong! So the angels at the tomb had to ask, "Why seek ye the living among the dead?" (Luke 24:5). Jesus didn't belong in such a place of death and defeat. The glorious Lord was risen so of course He wasn't there (Mark 16:6)!
We should have a similar testimony. We have been raised into new life so we should no longer be as those who are spiritually dead. We don't belong there! Paul told Christians that since they are "alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord," they should "let not sin therefore reign" in them (Romans 6:11,12). Rather, "yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God" (Romans 6:13).
When people look at you and consider your life, how and where do they find you?
That's the way it is
Sometimes what God says seems so unreal, so impossible. I don't know why the Lord's disciples forgot His repeated statements concerning His resurrection. Maybe they forgot because their minds just couldn't come to grips with something so "unreal and impossible." So when the "unreal and impossible" actually happened, the angels had a message for the disciples: "there shall ye see him, as he said unto you" (Mark 16:7). No matter how unreal and impossible something may seem to us, when God says it, that's the way it is. We can count on it and we can live by it.
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