The most startling display of love for others is in the cross of Jesus Christ. Whilst some might be willing to die for people who have lived an amazing life or are ‘really really nice’ people, it is unlikely we would give our lives for the worst sinners and scum bags we can think of. This is where the sacrifice Jesus made is all the more amazing, before anyone chose him, Jesus gave his life for everyone regardless of the scale of the mess we’ve made in life. That’s hard to comprehend and seems just too merciful and loving, but that is the point. Jesus did something that no one else was able to do.
The reason I am saying this now is that I want to explore with you over 7 weeks ways in which Jesus showed this love in some amazing ways. When questioned once about the greatest commandment, Jesus said this:
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind‘; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.‘
So, let’s explore 7 ways Jesus showed this love that we can seek to replicate to those around us
1. Eating with people
While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
I remember being in Brazil and having lunch with a few guys who were in the project. The project was called Teen Challenge and the lads I was having lunch with were all recovering from drug and alcohol addictions.
We ate together, chatted, and listened to each other’s stories. The food was simple, dry and heavily seasoned to mask the chewiness of the chicken neck and claws we had been served, but in that moment, after a few hours grafting in the fields under the hot sun, it didn’t matter at all. We were all eating and recharging.
After eating the meal, a few of the guys kept looking over and talking to themselves so I asked what they were talking about. They shared how much it had meant to them that I had stopped and eaten with them. ‘Many pastors come through here, but they never eat with us, you can see they don’t like the food or our company at the table.’
Jesus showed love for people, particularly in a culture that put a lot of value on eating together, by sitting at their tables and sharing meals. He ate with the drop outs, the outcasts in society and the dirty sinners.
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
The locals and the religious people hated it and criticised him for it, but it made such a difference showing practical love in accepting people around a table.
Are there ways and places for you to demonstrate this sort of love?
Image Credit: Jon Tyson