You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." John 3:16-17
Today, my oldest son Lyzander (age 9) is helping me write again. I think it's important that we bring others alongside us in our ministry to Jesus (whether we're preachers or not), and what task in bringing others to Christ is more important than our own children? So I asked Zander to help me in the Lord's work, as he does every Lord's Day. So I asked him "What should we talk about? What is it that God wants us to know about?" to which he responded "Loving as Jesus Loved." Yes, this is exactly what we should be focused on all the time. So I asked Lyzander "How did Jesus love?" Here is his response (I cleaned up a bit of the conversation): -He loved by healing people,
-He went near and touched lepers, and other unloved people (he gave them their dignity...my add-in) -He loved tax-collectors, prostitutes, and all sorts of sinners without compromising God's goodness
-He taught His disciples, and then empowered them to go and do what He did
-He called His disciples his friends.
-He tried to teach people how to be close to God, and the Gospel of the Kingdom
-He told people how to access God's kingdom (even though they only listened some of the time)
-Sacrificed Himself on the cross for us.
I am sure we could come up with so many other things for this list, but the fact is this: Jesus loved people. His whole life was about sacrifice, from his conception to His death, and in His glory, He advocates for us at the Right hand of the Father. Jesus left Heaven and worship of angels to live as one of us. He used His life to heal, help, and love, and gave His life so that we could be made new, pleasing and clean before the Father in Heaven. Jesus' life was sacrifice before He was placed on the cross. Lyzander says "loving like Jesus loved means sacrificing ourselves, not necessarily in dying, but in living to love and serve others." I think he nailed it. And this is what we should seek to do, always. To love one another, sacrificially. To seek God's will in loving one another, and to be like Jesus: perfect in our love. "A new commandment I give to you,that you love one another:just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-45 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God,to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world,[c]but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2