Love Like Jesus - Part 7 - Practical

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

John 13:34-35 - A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

If we are to love like Jesus, then we need to understand and accept how Christ has loved us first. And once we understand and accept that love, we can reflect that love in our relationships and world. I believe Jesus loved practically.

Jesus was not a philosopher that just spoke about concepts and ideas, he was a practioner. He acted on behalf of the Kingdom of God. The first recorded message Jesus spoke in the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth is found in Luke 4:16-21
1He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

In Jesus' public ministry, he didn't just proclaim, be brought it into reality.

 

Healings

Jesus' public ministry included many healings. Lame were given the ability to walk. The blind were given their sight. Lepers were healed of their disease. Fevers were cured. Bleeding that had gone on for many years, no longer bled. The dead were raised back to life.

His love was not just with words, but with a demonstration of God's power at work in the physical bodies of people.

 

Demon's cast out

Those who were oppressed were released. There were many times where the Bible records that Jesus cast out demons. I think about the man in the tombs who was so afflicted by demons that he ran around naked, cut himself and could break chains. There were so many demons that they self-identified as Legion. That man found freedom and sanity through Jesus.

I know in our "modern world", that we sometimes think may not be as necessary. What we used to identify as demon possession is now identified as mental illness and we have psychologists, psychiatrist etc who can diagnose and "treat" many of these conditions. I also know that we have a history of well-intentioned Christians who have approached situations with a formula and rather than hearing from God in regards to an individual and responding accordingly. Those actions have sometimes caused complications and issues. Humans are complex beings, with genetics, chemical imbalances, trauma and spiritual forces all having a potential impact on our mental, spiritual and physical condition. And trained professionals absolutely have their place. But we also have the God of the universe who knows the working of the human body, mind and spirit intimately, and who also knows and sees the interactions between the physical world and spiritual world.

So I think there is a place for us to develop ourselves in this area, so we can truely love our world as Jesus did, setting prisoners free.

 

Miracles

Jesus multiplied a small amount of food in order to feed a massive crowd. The Bible records that Jesus fed a crowd of 5,000 men plus women and children in one instance, and a crowd of 4,000 men plus women and children in another. Jesus met the practical need of hunger as an expression of love for the people.

In another instance he calmed a storm in order alleviate the fears and concerns that the disciples had about their safety.

 

The Cross

The cross was a practical expression of his love. His actions there brought about the possibility of permanent peace with God, which has implications for today and eternity. No longer did followers of God need to travel to the temple and sacrifice on the altar in order to have peace with God. The assurance of forgiveness that the Holy Spirit brings, has practical implications for our own emotional and mental health. It was a physical action that had implications for our whole being.

I believe, this whole series points us to the cross as the ultimate expression of love. Jesus showed his humility as he allowed his body to be subjected to beating and torture, and his spirit to be separated from God because our sin. He served us by doing what we could never do for ourself. He fulfilled prophecy but also made it possible for us to receive a future that we did not deserve. The cross showed his vulnerabilty as his naked body hung exposed and most of his friends scattered. He expressed forgiveness to those who accused him, to those who abandoned him and to those who had physically injured him. The relevance of his action, as a people in need of a saviour received what they didn't really deserve, may not have been appreciated in the moment but has resounding impact through the pages of history. And it was practical, with application all humanity.

Why not take a quick moment to thank God, for all that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross achieved, for all that it means and for all that it continues to do in our lives and in our communities through us. Take a moment to accept the love that Jesus has for you, and then make a commitment to be an agent of his love in your world.

 

God bless you as you seek after Him, and as you seek to bring God's kingdom into the lives of young people and their families.

 

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