A concept that has alluded me and that was so distant and alien to me, seems so plain and elementary to me now:
We believe that Jesus came down from heaven not only to save us but humbled Himself to serve those who should be serving Him to the extent that He gave His very life on the cross all because of His great love for us (Philippians 2:5-11).
But, that is not true.
Jesus did not do it because of His great love for us.
Jesus did it because of His great love for the Father (John 6:38, 14:31, Philippians 2:8).
Jesus was so faithful to His love for the Father that He was willing to give everything for it (John 8:29, 12:27-28, Philippians 2:8).
He loved God with all His heart, all His soul, with all His mind and with all His strength (John 4:34, Luke 22:41-44, Philippians 2:8).
True love has to start there.
That’s why it’s the first and greatest commandment (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Mark 12:28-30).
“Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, ‘Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This is the first commandment. ‘ – Mark 12:28-30
The love of the world is like living our whole life under moonlight. It can be beautiful but that light is merely a reflection of the true source of light and it cannot give life.
While love that begins with God is like walking in the light of the sun which gives life. Moonlight is nothing in comparison.
What I thought love was and what Jesus is showing me Love is, is like night and day.
True love has to start with loving God.
Because Jesus’s love for us started there, He could not be moved.
He was not moved by temptation.
“‘Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” – Matthew 4:8-10
He was not moved by promises of power.
‘Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.’ – John 6:14-15
He was not moved by friends and people He loved.
‘From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”’ – Matthew 16:21-23
He was not moved by pain.
‘There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots. ‘ – Luke 23:32-34
Even as He hung, bled and was dying on a heavy, crude, splinter-ridden cross, stripped naked, exposed, mocked –humiliated, He did not revile in return, He did not speak curses but blessings (1 Peter 2:21-23), crying out “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Jesus was on that cross because “for God so loved the world that GOD gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). And Jesus wanted for them what the Father wanted for them (John 10:15-18,15:9).
“Ok,” I ask, “I get that You didn’t want those who believed in Your Son not to perish, but what’s that got to do with the people hurting and crucifying Him?!” Jesus answers, “I’m using everything, My suffering and even My death to draw all men to Myself for the glory of the Father. Remember the centurion.”
‘So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!”’ – Mark 15:39
It occurs to me, that if Jesus allowed the destruction of those who were hurting Him, we’d all be destroyed because we’re all hurting Him (Romans 3:10). But even though we’re enemies, rather than destroying us, He continually offers us the opportunity to be friends, offering us everything we need, beginning with a new heart (being born again), and patiently teaching us how to be His friend. His goal is to draw us near to Himself where He is with God, in order to reconcile us to the Father (1 Colossians 1:19-23).
Jesus love for the Father kept Him on that cross, more securely than the nails driven through His body ever could (Mark 15:29-32).
Jesus was never moved from the Father’s love for us.
And that’s the way we are called to love one another (John 13:34, John 15:12, 1 John 3:16).
True love begins with loving God with all my heart, all my soul, with all my mind and with all my strength.
There is a reason this is the first and greatest commandment.
The second greatest is love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31).
“And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:31
I can’t do the second without the first.
If God is love, how can I love without love? (1 John 4:7-8)
I rejoice and thank God for this revelation of the Holy Spirit, but upon seeing it, I realize “Woe is me!” It is too wonderful for me.
Frankly, I cannot do any of it unless God does it in me (Philippian 2:13).
I want to love God with everything I have. I want to have His heart so that I can love those around me with His amazing love. I want to love like Jesus, with a love that desires for people what the Father desires for them, a love that no matter what people do or no matter what comes, I am immovable (1 Corinthians 15:58).
I confess I don’t love like this and I don’t know how (1 John 1:9).
Dear Father, help me! In Jesus name I ask this. Amen (1 John 5:14-15, John 16:24).