Celebration of Love: Remember Jesus Christ - 13 May 2019

Louise Gevers

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13

We might think that love is a feeling, but Jesus’ command to His disciples to love each other as He had loved them meant sacrificially, through action, without counting the cost. He loved them in the same way that He loved Himself, and has the same high expectations of His followers as of Himself. Jesus devoted His life to the integrity of love which led to His sacrifice on the cross.

From the time He yielded His rightful place in heaven to fulfil His Father’s will on earth, Jesus’ life was a celebration of love for us. His work and influence on the world have been unmatched by anyone before Him, or since, because no one else has ever loved mankind enough to die for our sin, nor has been good enough to pay what we owe a Holy God - except Him – “Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 John 2:1) “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8)

No other faith makes claim to such extravagant love as our Creator shows us. We celebrate this amazing love at Easter, and rejoice in the hope that Jesus Christ has brought us by laying down His life for us, rising again, and making eternal life with God possible for everyone who believes in Him. “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:4)

Expressed in the line of a modern hymn is the celebration of Christ’s love: “Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered!” Jesus’ supreme work of love broke down the sin barrier between God and man forever. “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” (Romans 4:7-8)

Jesus’ love is compelling because what He did for His friends He is prepared to do for everyone, unlike we who so often discriminate. He cut right through prejudice by treating everyone the same and showed willingness to help anyone who came to Him in need.

He didn’t withhold compassion but welcomed those that society rejects: lepers, women, the blind, beggars, the paralysed, the politically incorrect, and many more; He delivered people from demons, raised a widow’s son from the dead, as well as His own friend, Lazarus. He didn’t ask where they came from or whether they had money to pay – He was love in action. Jesus showed that love wasn’t merely a feeling, but was important enough to suffer to express it.

And we celebrate.

Prayer: Father, we recognise that the greatest love is seen in selfless sacrifice, yet this doesn’t come easily to us. Help us more and more to live as Jesus did, that His love may be seen in us. Amen.

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