Loving the Way Jesus Loves
As human beings, we all crave love and will do almost anything to give and receive unconditional love. But no one loved better than Jesus. Let's look at the four foundational truths of His love.
1. Simply put, Jesus loves people. In His encounter with the rich young man in Mark 10, we read that "Jesus, looking at him, loved him" (v. 21) -- even though this man was materialistic, self-righteous, and ended up walking away from Jesus. The Greek word for love in that verse is agapé, the unconditional love of the will. Jesus never met anybody He didn't love. In fact, 1 John 4:8 says that "God is love." Now, God is also holy and just, but part of His very essence is love.
2. Jesus loves people individually. He was unique in His approach from one person to the next. He held children in His arms and blessed them, then overturned the tables in the temple. He dealt so tenderly with the woman caught in adultery, but had very harsh words for the scribes and the Pharisees. He never had a canned approach to people; His love was tailor-made for every individual He met.
3. Jesus loves people through us, His people. Jesus came, taught, lived, loved, died, rose, and ascended, meaning now He reaches people through us. Have you ever thought about the implications of the fact that we're called the body of Christ? We are His hands, reaching out to people; we are His feet, going to where people are; we are His ears, listening to people's hurts; we are His voice, giving counsel, encouragement, and even confrontation in His name. Jesus loves people through us.
And Jesus gave us a divine mandate to love even those we consider to be the worst (see Matthew 5:43-44). Because His love has been poured into our hearts (see Romans 5:5), it should also be poured out from our hearts. We're to be a conduit of His love, not just a receptacle.
4. Jesus loves people through us responsibly. Notice in Mark 10 that even though Jesus loved that young man, it wasn't a sappy, sentimental love; it was a responsible love. Jesus confronted the man with the idol in his life -- money -- and told him what he needed to do: "Come, take up the cross, and follow Me" (v. 21). True love doesn't turn a blind eye to every kind of behavior in the name of tolerance. Sometimes love will embrace and encourage; other times it will confront and rebuke.
I pray that you would learn not only what real love is, but how to use it. It's good to know that Jesus loves you, but more than that, know that Jesus wants to responsibly, maturely, and definitely love other people through you.